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Opinion: Jibran – The Message of the Saudi People to the World - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It was not a Hollywood scene and maybe if it was part of a film it would have been considered to exaggerate a lot. The video showing the Saudi Arabian security services confronting terrorists in the Al-Yasmine neighbourhood in Riyadh has summed up hundreds of stories and confrontations that have taken place for more than two decades.

History does not narrate this with sound and image because such events are impossible to follow and document except in rare cases. In the latest incident, it was a coincidence that the whole world came to know of the reality of Saudi confrontation of terrorism and terrorists. The perpetrators of these attacks were, unfortunately, also Saudis, and they are portrayed as if they represent a large percentage of Saudis even though they are targeting their own country and their fellow citizens in the first instance.

The confrontation between Sergeant Jibran Awaji who dazzled the world with his courage, prowess and bravery, and the terrorists, clearly summed up the battle against terrorism in the kingdom. Terrorists want to kill society, running away from death but to their deaths. A Saudi police man does not fear death in order to save lives. For a long time the battle was portrayed incorrectly. The Saudis are not divided with regards to combating terrorism – they support right as opposed to wrong as is the nature of human beings. Jibran Awaji represents them in their fight against the terrorist group that announces and executes operations against its enemy, Saudi Arabia. Despite this, it is expected that the country, the biggest victim of this terrorism, takes responsibility for it. How wonderful!

As Saudis are not used to sticking the pictures of their martyrs on the walls of history or recording the heroism of its forces in their huge war against terrorism, the media in general mostly circulates pictures of Saudis who choose bombing and destruction in the name of Islam – Saudis who seek to destroy their country and kill their own people, and then act as if they represent 20 million Saudis.

Terrorists choose to have a black image of themselves in their lives and after their deaths. Jibran’s case is a solid and real picture of Saudi Arabia’s battle against terrorism that will not be forgotten, not because the world saw what it usually doesn’t see, but because those terrorists that Jibran killed are the distorted part of a truthful image of the Saudi people.

There is no doubt that in Saudi Arabia, as in Egypt, France and Britain, there are extremists, and that the natural role of the state is to besiege them and eradicate them. Most of the time, an extremist does not announce that he is one unless the law allows him to. Countries are blamed or and even held accountable if they allow terrorists to penetrate into them, support them or turn a blind eye to them.

For example, there are those who manipulate laws and finance terrorists. This happens in Gulf countries, Europe and elsewhere in the world. In this case, it is the task of governments to tighten the noose and develop systems so that there does not remain an opportunity to fund terrorism, however small the amount. However, is it possible to make unsubstantiated accusations against governments and say that they allowed the financing of terrorism while their laws criminalise it and their actions confirm their disapproval?

Militants are waiting for the opportunity to spread their venom and extremism, not through money alone, but also through ideology. The role of states here is to trap extremists whenever they find a weak point to exploit.

Jibran’s heroism is not isolated from hundreds of untold stories of the fight against terrorism or the fighting on the southern front against the Yemeni rebels. The difference this time is that it reminded observers in Saudi Arabia and abroad of the truthful image of the Saudi citizen whose image has been distorted in an unjust and systematic way. Who knows, perhaps the shots that Jibran Awaji fired at the ISIS terrorists will rectify something, even if that is a little.

Salman Al-dossary

Salman Al-dossary

Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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