“Panem et Circenses” was the social policy for the late Roman Empire- keep the people fed and their minds distracted and they would not focus on the real problems in society, such as the overspending, the crumbling infrastructure, and the invading Germanic tribes. Such is common to all falling societies, as they try to keep the masses from realizing how truly awful their situation is until it is absolutely too late.
Saudi Arabia, who is in decline right now is desperately trying to “reform” herself on a world scale to save her rear from the Turkish khazouk, which Erdogan joyfully sharpens with his Ottoman dream. However, little is working to solve the fundamental problems. Saudi knows that she is in trouble, so while she desperately tries to prepare for the inevitable war, she has resorted to an equivalent “dates and dabke” diplomacy, where she is trying to keep her people fed and distracted from the reality of her situation as represented by the government opening of movie theaters across the country as well as promoting “food expos” in country while exporting food to her neighbors:
After a three-decade-long ban, Saudi Arabia will finally see its first cinema open on April 18 in the capital Riyadh, state media said on Wednesday.
The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information signed an agreement earlier in the day with American AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. to open 30 to 40 cinemas in about 15 Saudi cities over the next five years, and up to 100 cinemas in 25 cities by 2030.
The movie industry is expected to contribute about $24 billion to the economy and provide more than 30,000 permanent jobs. The Ministry of Culture has notably pointed out that the films shown in cinemas will be in line with “Sharia’s law and the moral values.”
Saudi Arabia had some public cinemas in the 1970s, but the nation’s clerics banned them all in the early 1980s in a move that pointed to the spiking Islamist influence throughout the Arab region at the time.
Wednesday’s announcement comes at the time of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official visit to the US. MBS, as he’s known, met with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and media industry leaders, including Rupert Murdoch and Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara.
The crown prince has famously introduced the so-called Vision 2030 program envisioning the country’s development in a range of spheres, including culture. Most notably, it has set a target of raising Saudi Arabia’s yearly spending on cultural and recreational activities from 2.9 percent of total Saudi household spending to 6 percent by 2030.
Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, said Wednesday that the company is following with great admiration how the most creative development projects in the kingdom are opening new economic sectors:
“We are looking forward to providing entertainment services that will enable everyone to spend an enjoyable time playing world-class film shows across the Kingdom.”
AMC Theaters is an American movie theater chain owned and operated by Wanda Group. Founded in 1920, AMC has the largest share of the American theater market ahead of Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Theaters. (source)
Or the recent “jazz and food” festival in Saudi Arabia:
King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) will host the on March 22 and 23. The festival, organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), will showcase 10 musicians, including modern masters of jazz and Grammy-award-winning artists. It will take place on a stage built by the Red Sea.
Guests will be able to sample food while enjoying the music.
A robust entertainment industry comes within the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to raise the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP from three percent to six percent.
The objectives also aim to localize 50 percent of the entertainment sector, as Saudis spend around SR80 billion annually on entertainment outside the Kingdom.
KAEC is hosting a number of festivals due to its eagerness to achieve cultural diversity. (source)
Or the upcoming “world food expo” in Jeddah:
LULU Hypermarket inaugurated its World Food Expo 2018 at Riyadh Avenue Mall, Murabba outlet, by Hesham Baeshan, a well-known chef in Saudi Arabia followed by live cooking. The annual Food Expo 2018, will give shoppers a chance to savor a variety of culinary treats from all over the world under one roof.
Baeshan will be in Jeddah on Thursday evening for the inauguration ceremony at 8:00 p.m. at LuLu Hypermarket Marwah outlet. The festival will offer shoppers not just a relishing experience but also give them a chance to take part in the cooking contests and win amazing gift items. The festival includes several special offers and activities including live cooking demos, free sampling, cookery contests, quiz competitions, and exhibitions and gigantic display of worldwide food varieties.
“LuLu once again will be transformed to a truly international culinary destination. This year we are ensure your satisfaction with our endless tempting dishes from worldwide. The festival also celebrates the innovative spirit of our culinary talents, with our top chefs. We will provide the foodies who are looking for something extra special, all are invited to the festival. (source)
Or the recent gift of food to Yemen as aid:
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Action has sent trucks filled with food baskets to Yemen, Saudi news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.
The trucks, carrying 19 thousand food baskets, reached Yemen’s capital Sanaa and the provinces of Jouf, Marib as well as other Yemeni governorates.
About 75 percent of Yemen’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance, the UN said, including 11.3 million children who cannot survive without it.
At least 60 percent of Yemenis do not have enough to eat, and 16 million people do not have safe water and proper sanitation. (source)
All of these stories represent a the pattern that we at Shoebat.com have pointed out of Saudi Arabia’s desperate attempts to “reform” herself in the eyes of the world.
But do not be deceived, Saudi Arabia has not reformed in the least. All that has changed is that she has realized that she cannot continue on as she did in the past if she wants to survive.
Expect to see more pronouncement of “reform,” more festivals, more food, and more general circuses that make Saudi Arabia on the surface appear to have actually changed. They will dance the dabke and offer fresh dates to all who ask just as the Roman did to their citizens. However, it is just a cover to hide the ugly reality of the tremendous social changes which are taking place in the Middle East as the balance of world power is about to be reversed again with the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the same way that Rome tried but failed to hold back the encroaching Germanic tribes that eventually swarmed and destroyed Rome.