Opinion

We have celebrated Founding Day for three years - but it has been with us for 300

February 22, 2024
We have celebrated Founding Day for three years - but it has been with us for 300

Dr. Ghadeer Talal Melibari

Perhaps the most endearing thing about Founding Day is the fact that it feels like something which has always been with us. But of course it will only be the third year that Saudis have celebrated this holiday.

I think the reason for such familiarity is the fact it has helped to anchor us securely in our past by going down memory lane and remembering who we are.

It binds us to the foundations our great nation is built on, making us feel blessed, firstly for the safety and security we are able to enjoy because of this.

I believe Saudi Arabia’s greatest strength is its ability to embrace both the past and the future, to stay true to our traditions while welcoming those of others from around the world.

We do this better than any other nation on earth - it’s something we have seen in the incredibly colorful spectacles of the Seasons, the ambition of Vision 2030 and the array of world class sports people we have attracted here.

We have welcomed the world, while also making incredibly important changes to our own society while staying true to our cultural roots.

Founding Day has become an incredibly important time to keep us grounded in an age where it’s all too easy to wish our time away looking ahead.

As we teach our young scientists, politicians, educators, business people and doctors to help people of the future with new innovations to communicate, to travel and to live in comfort, maybe we don’t spend enough time teaching them why we are trying to achieve all these things.

It’s because we are a fair and just country that has a very important part to play in an increasingly unstable world, both politically, and in leading the way in science, innovation and technology.

Of course, we didn’t arrive at this point suddenly or by chance. The process began almost 300 years ago.

Speed of change has undoubtedly increased in recent times - we are racing ahead at an almost frightening pace, with exploring space the next big goal.

It can sometimes be hard to keep up with the dizzying pace at which things are moving forward in the Kingdom.

While this is hugely exciting and motivating for all our ambitious people, Founding Day takes us back to a simpler time and helps us remember who we really are.

Of course, everyone will wonder at the military performances, air shows and fireworks. And all students and workers will enjoy the well-earned break and three day weekend.

There was no Founding Day when I was young, or when most people alive today were, but it’s nice to think the celebration will now be with us for every future generation and forever more.

And the story behind it will keep evolving with every second and minute that passes, as it tells the story of our country from 1727 right up until the present moment.

In that sense, it means the future chapters are ours to write, and we can all make our contribution just as Muhammad bin Saud did all that time ago.

That is the gift given to everyone on Founding Day - it is both our past and our future put in all of our hands.

It can serve as a point of reference in everything we do. Without a past which gives broad shoulders for its people to stand on, no nation can carve out a future.

Founding Day ensures the direction we are travelling in as a country, which is always embedded in our history, and who we truly are as Saudis.


February 22, 2024
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