Khaled Almaeena
Khaled Almaeena

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman last Wednesday in a clearly defined message said that “the right of the citizen is more important than any right”. He stressed the importance of transparency, accountability and stability. Earlier on May 20, the King said that all citizens are equal. Citizens in every region have their rights and there is no difference between them. The King said that any citizen has the right to file a lawsuit against him or any member of the royal family. He also asserted that he is open to criticism. In essence, he meant that even the King is not above the law. King Salman is known to be progressive and decisive. He has long experience as Governor of Riyadh where he oversaw its rise from a small sleepy town to a bustling metropolis. The Kingdom today is not the same as it was 30 or even 20 years ago. Its people, half of whom are under 35, have different aspirations and goals. They want to participate in nation-building. They are stakeholders and as such they aspire for the best. By asking the people to speak out and voice their opinions openly, the King has alleviated any possible grievance felt by the public. Society is changing and the patriarchal system is also giving way to one where voices come from many people from different regions. The King has affirmed his commitment to include all opinions so that every citizen will be heard. His statements are clear warnings against injustice or disservice from any quarter. In a modern society, communication between its members keeps it flourishing. For too long in Arab societies, the growing intolerance of authorities and the shrinking space of the freedom of expression have prevailed resulting in resentment and upheaval. The Kingdom has long enjoyed stability and security. King Salman wants to preserve the nation’s stability and maintain harmony among all citizens. He wants justice to prevail. To achieve that we need space, freedom of expression, commitment and cooperation and goodwill between citizens in all regions. We must find a commonality to flourish as a modern society. We have no other option. King Salman's statements command respect and his policies signify his determination to remove any obstacles blocking the path of progress. ~Reprinted with permission of the Saudi Gazette and Khaled Almaeena. The writer is Editor-at-Large. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena