Inside the Closed Kingdom: Saudi Arabia 2003
Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; 202-808-4980
Produced by Australian Broadcasting Corporation
VHS, color, 88 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Middle Eastern Studies
Date Entered: 07/14/2006Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA
This short production from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is an investigation into if, and how, money from Saudi Arabia flows into the coffers of Islamicist activities, especially terrorist groups. The report includes the usual man on the street interviews as well as interviews with a number of Saudi notables. We are given various reasons for widespread support for the Islamicists’ activities. Among these reasons are United States support for Israel and a lack of opportunity for the youth of Saudi Arabia. The narrator also gives some of the history between the Saudi royal family and the Wahabbi clerics. The program tracks evidence of Saudi money being behind the bombings in Bali several years ago (of especial importance to Australian viewers.) The program concludes with the realization that Saudi money will continue to support the Islamicists’ cause.
This report gives just the tip of the iceberg on this subject, and as far as it goes, is good. However, any instructor would do well to have supplemental materials to expand on the areas of discussion presented by this report. Perhaps the crux of the “problem” comes when the reporter interviews a number of young college women. The narrator notes that Islam defines who they are and how they think. Perhaps Huntington in his “Clash of Civilizations” is right and we are witnessing in our time a conflict between mutually irreconcilable worldviews.
Technically, this is a good production with sound and video of very good quality.