Abdulateef Al-Mulhim
Abdulateef Al-Mulhim
Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)

Even though today's Saudi Arabia is the cradle of civilization and has a rich history that dates back to thousands of years, it is considered one of the youngest established countries in the world.

Modern-day Saudi Arabia was established on Sept. 23, 1932, by the late King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud. He was known all over the world as Ibn Saud. And since the early history, the geographical location of the present day Saudi Arabia has been a famous trade route and convergence point for many civilizations. Saudi Arabia will be celebrating its National Day on Friday (Sept. 23) with many milestones that have been achieved in such a short time since its inception.

Now, the Kingdom will be celebrating its National Day amid challenges not only facing Saudi Arabia but the entire world. As we know, the world is not only confronted with political challenges but also those pertaining to economy, environment and security. There is chaos in many countries with the presence of millions of refugees and displaced people. The Middle East has been the hardest hit region facing many challenges especially since the beginning of the Arab Spring and the spread of terrorism. But, despite the current events and instability in the region and the world at large, Saudi Arabia has continued its progress march and remained stable, thanks to the pragmatic and wise policies of the Saudi leadership. It remained unaffected by the fallout of the so-called Arab Spring that caused problems in many countries in the region.

It is true that Saudi Arabia is not immune to the economic recession that has hit many countries in the world especially with the decline in oil prices. But Saudi Arabia has set plans to overcome the current situation. It had successfully coped with a similar or even worse period when the price of oil per barrel had hit the $8 mark at a time when there were uncertainties regarding the future of the area. When the region saw eight years of war between Iraq and Iran followed by the devastating Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Now, time has changed and Saudi Arabia and Saudis have to face these challenges more transparently and swiftly.

Saudi Arabia, since its establishment in 1932, has been known as one of the most stable countries in the world. The country enjoys unity and draws its strength from the solid relationship, trust, respect and love between the rulers and the ruled. This is a very crucial time and all of us should join hands to protect and develop the country. Like the previous National Day celebrations, we will see many old, young, men, women and even expatriates raising Saudi flags and portraits of our leaders in a demonstration of love for the country and its leaders — a show of genuine patriotism indeed.

However, it is important for all Saudis to change their love and patriotism into real deeds. There are many ways to show patriotism. Respecting others, respecting rules and showing better driving habits, working hard at school, putting more efforts at work, being more aware of the use of our assets such as electricity and water, etc.

These days Saudis and especially the young generation should realize that they are accountable for their deeds and they need to be more responsible. The government has provided them with all the necessary means to make their life easy. We have free education, free healthcare and no income tax. So, it is the duty of the young people to work hard and be more responsible and productive for their families and their country. We will celebrate this National Day with joy and zeal. We take pride in being Saudis under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. With their leadership and loyalty of the Saudi people to their leaders and the country, Saudi Arabia will be able to overcome all challenges.

Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Saudi National Day: Things to Remember reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.