Saudis Show Sarkozy His Place!

Save the honourable exception of their US policy, whatever the Saudis do, do in style – their own style and on their own terms. In the traditional sense of the term, they are “less-than-diplomatic,” and, perhaps deliberately, unassuming,

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Save the honourable exception of their US policy, whatever the Saudis do, do in style – their own style and on their own terms. In the traditional sense of the term, they are “less-than-diplomatic,” and, perhaps deliberately, unassuming, always to-the-point and straightforward. You may have thousand-and-one complaints against them, but you will have to agree on one point, the point that the Saudis do not bend their laws or tailor them to suit some situations. Hypocrisy is not in their grain.
France is an important world player. But through a senior, anonymous Saudi official, they, on January 8, made it unambiguously clear that its President’s girlfriend is not welcomed during his visit to the kingdom on January 13 – so because the Saudi law does not permit unmarried or un-related couples to be alone together. The issue, it was politely pointed out, is not negotiable.
The French President, who is 52, has already visited Jordan and Egypt with Ms Bruni, 40. The press, in both the Muslim countries, noted with arched eyebrow the presence of the President’s girlfriend. The general comment was the French President “is being too loose with the Presidential Image,” while we Indian Muslims feel he was being too loose with morality, elegance and dignity. By all accounts he may now secretly or silently marry his latest heart-throb.
Though not an Islamic country, India also is re-consulting the rule book as the French President has been invited to be the Chief Guest on January 26, the Republic Day of India. The External Affairs Ministry is in a tizzy over the protocol. The question being avidly discussed is: Can a girlfriend be officially treated as a spouse or wife.
The late monarch of   Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, was the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations in January 2006. Our protocol division was told in advance the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques will not visit Rajghat to offer floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi.
Before his posting in the 1960s in New Delhi, the late Shaikh Al-Hamad Al-Shubaily was Saudi envoy in Pakistan. Once, in his usual official dress, he was on an evening walk when a burqa-clad Muslim lady started following him. After a while he stopped and politely asked her: could I help you? The elegant lady replied: No. Not at all. I was following you just thinking the Last Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be with him) who was born in your country, must have been somewhat like you. That is it!
Mr. Shubaily started crying like a child at this reply. When he was in New Delhi, he never slept in bed. He used to sleep on a mattress. In the night, he would, incognito, in western dress, and using dark glasses, roam in the poor areas of Old Delhi and try to find the indigent to fulfil their needs.
The late Shaikh Saleh Sugair, another reputed Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, was a silent admirer of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. He invited her on dinner when nobody wanted to be seen in her company after the 19-month long nightmare, called Emergency. Once a Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha asked me to request him to grant her an audience. He said: My wife knows the English language. Let her come and meet her. Thus he refused to talk to a dubious character.
The late Shaikh Anas Yousuff Yassin was a Prince when he was sent as the Saudi Ambassador to India. He was youthful, western educated and Muslim to backbone. Mr. Ayub Syed, a sworn socialist, associated with the Link and Patriot once, out of all ill-intention, asked for an “Umrah” visa to visit Saudi Arabia. The ambassador kept quiet on the application of the Socialist journalist, who at last asked for an audience to forcefully put up his case. Mr. Yassin coolly replied: Mr. Ayub! The Umrah visa is granted to Muslims. And you are a Socialist. I regret I cannot oblige you!
Once the Muslims of Amroha invited him to deliver a speech on Seerah. The Foreign Office did not relish the idea. They used the services of Mr. Rahman (who later became India’s Ambassador to Germany) to prevent him from going there. He began his argument with “This is my personal opinion,” to which Mr. Yousuff quipped: Foreign Office people have no personal opinion. And as far as my not going to Amroha to deliver a speech on Seerah is concerned, I have standing instructions of His Majesty to wind up the entire embassy from your country if any official effort is made to keep me off the Muslims.
Now to Mr. Rahman, discretion was the only part of valour!