Irina Bernebring Journiette

Live. Do. Laugh. Explore. Dance. Love. Fall. Write. Scream. Enjoy. Dare. Go.

Tag: ksa

120505–Beyrout, Lebanon

Spent a couple of days outside the sandbox. Been to busy with life and work to blog. To much to capture in words. Helena came to visit and spent two weeks frolicking in Saudi culture. We reminisced about lost times and planned future adventures. Her itinerary included an awesome desert party and campout and exploring Riyadh life. Anyway, Helena left a gaping hole that I’ve filled with traveling. Hence the last couple of days were spent in Beirut with the other lovely scandinavians. It was all very “ashwai”(=no system, random). We sang karaoke, dined fabulously with Saudis friends we unexpectedly ran into, were harassed by taxi-drivers, explored nature–Balbeek, Byblos, Harissa, were driven along the coast in a convertible car–wind tussling unruly hair, drank and eat and drank and eat some more. Decadent and fun. 


Red Sands. Sunset.


At Jenadriyah Festival.




High Tea at Faisaliah Tower. “Don’t look down”

120324–The Edge of the World

The sandy dust caught my abaya as we climbed the rocky slope. Bruised knees and bloody knuckles meant nothing. The abaya was of course only worn for fashionable causes. It catches the wind dramatically and “it makes me feel less like a tourist” K. added. It was aesthetic purposes. The black in contrast with the yellow rocks and blue-grey sky. I stood on the ledge and screamed. The echo carried by the wind. “I like to scream into the vast nothingness” I thought and the thought hit me that it was a long way down. I dangled a leg out of curiosity with an overwhelming fear of height creeping up my spine. We skipped back down, the feeling that we had conquered this magnificent place–what truly felt like the edge of the world.


120323–Abaya Fashion!

At Jenadria Festival.


120320--Snapshots of Riyadh.

Traditional dancing from the southern parts of Saudi Arabia. Moment captured during poetry event at the embassy of Sweden.

120319–“It happens only in Saudi Arabia”

I question the statement and some of the things shown are less funny. But I think it captures some funny and fascinating moments you’ll only find here in Saudi. The drifting in the end is what I’ve come across. Young men do it everywhere, in all types of vehicles.

120318–Islam and Democracy and a revocation of the compatibility paradigm.

Islam and Democracy. The notion is grand. Certainly to grand to even start to theorize about in something as futile as a blog post. However, the concept was the focus for todays “informal chat-session” at our embassy. After a brief presentation of a selective number of texts the floor opened for discussion. About 23 participants were included and came in forms of representatives foremost from the diplomatic society and the intelligentsia. Questions raised and attempts to conclude anything in this vast subject will not be presented here, however, it did raise some important questions in my mind. Why do we for example, always theorize about the subject from a dichotomous standpoint. Arguing in terms of compatibility or incompatibility.Why is the focus always on democracy as a Western notion in relation to “otherness”–the undemocracy of this region? Why have we still not learned that democracy or liberalism can not be imposed as a set structure on societies? Should not all societies be seen as organic structures in which progress needs to grow roots and establish before flourishing? After the debate I of course also needed to reflect on my own part when theorizing about the subject. I wonder about my own ability to theorize about questions of this sorts in relation to my own “western-centered” academic background. Even the core discourse that I use to frame my theories and analysis is inevitably colored by my subjective and western-centered prism.