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Safety in the ME
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travelbug



Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:02 am    Post subject: Safety in the ME Reply with quote

I was wondering what everyone thinks about the issue of safety in the ME. With everything going on in the news - car bombs in SA for example - how much does it affect your life there now? Have you had any potentially disastrous run-ins, or the opposite? I'd love to hear about it, because that is one main factor that dissuades me from life in the ME. Thanks.
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Gnocchiman



Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 68
Location: Limbo

PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Living in the middle of the desert in the United Arab Emirates, I really don't think about safety a lot (well, when I drive I do Shocked ). To be honest with you, when I travel to Europe or the States I'm always a little more concerned about my safety than when I'm here. It might be a different story for those living in places like Saudi or Kuwait. The sad truth is, most of us ME teachers actually live fairly calm, uneventful lives here-kind of like living in the suburbs with lots of sand. Cool The closest I've gotten to terrorism is having some big fat woman covered in black cutting in front of me at the checkout at Carrefour's (a French Walmart). Jihad, indeed!
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15329

PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel safer in urban Saudi Arabia than in New York, London or Madrid.

Driving is dangerous here and I minimise my exposure to traffic accidents.

For those who worship the Internal Combustion Engine, that might be difficult. I know that for some of my colleagues owning a car is like owning a pair of shoes. I manage without.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15329

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 11:04 am    Post subject: Bang Bang ! Reply with quote

After recent events in Yanbu and Riyadh I no longer feel so safe. Downright jumpy in fact.

What would it take for me and a host of others to flee the KofSA ?
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Boy Wonder



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 453
Location: Clacton on sea

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KSA...no way...too many bombs and gun incidents for me to feel safe whilst out walking 'Wolfie'...
Qatar....safe enough from bomb and gun incidents but didn't much appreciate the total 'merchant banker' who deliberately mounted the sidewalk and tried to run my friend and I over the other night...!!

May he rot in the place where all true non believers end up!!!
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest you do a search on Saudi in the news section and see why so many over here are a little jumpy to say the least.

Not a great place to be at the moment.

A lot of westerners in essence are bunkered up and not going out at all aside from commuting to work.

This gets old very quickly.
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shebab



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 168

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The number of terrorist incidents in Saudi Arabia pales in comparison to what goes on in Colombia on a daily basis. Despite the fact that I was living in Medellin at a time in the 90s when there were statistically more violent deaths in the city per 100,000 people than in Europe during WWII, my day to day routine was surprisingly uneventful. Things like being stopped on the street and frisked against the wall by an uzi-toting military policeman, hearing the occasional gunshot in the middle of the night, or being told not to visit a certain region because of guerilla incursions, just became part of that routine.

35 million Colombians have learned to live with a level of violence so acute that it boggles the mind. Yet they go about their daily routines at work and play and just live each day as it comes-generally making the country a fantastic place to be. If they are able to adapt to such a difficult situation, there is no reason why people living in Saudi can't learn to do the same.

I seriously doubt that the terrorist threat in Saudi can ever reach Colombian levels, even if its intensity and frequency escalates. It's just a question of people getting used to the situation and living with it, or simply leaving the country for more peaceful pastures...
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shebab

Everything is relative i suppose and there are far more dangerous places than Saudi i imagine and dare i say probably even more dangerous than Colombia but that does not change the fact that Saudi is on the nose and that if you look western you are in fact a target.
Some people will no doubt be able to live with that and others will make their own arrangments.
Personally i come from a traditionally very safe country where i have always felt very secure, so the situation in Saudi is not pleasant for me and i am not used to it.
Now if you had come from Colombia to Saudi you may have an entirely different perspective on safety than what i do.
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shebab



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 168

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark 100 wrote:

Quote:
that if you look western you are in fact a target


Actually my students tell me I look Egyptian so I guess my chances of being a target will be even slimmer, as long as I don't open my mouth and try to speak Arabic! Laughing
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Eijse



Joined: 17 Dec 2003
Posts: 119
Location: Yemen (Aden)

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

Last edited by Eijse on Sun Aug 29, 2004 8:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15329

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 12:00 pm    Post subject: Getting Shot Reply with quote

In Colombia I do not think that westerners were targetted. What scares me now in KSA is that the looneys with guns may now be targetting honkies.

The German they shot in Riyadh was a chef with the airline. The six westerners working in Yanbu worked for ABB which is a Swiss-Swedish company.

Seems the whole thing is escalating and will not get better.
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shebab



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 168

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In Colombia I do not think that westerners were targetted


Actually, I was always told by the locals that being an American actually put me in more danger than the average person. They advised me to stay "deaf and dumb" if the guerillas ever stopped my bus and asked people for ID, lest I reveal my gringo identity through my bad accent. The implication was that if I could fool the insurgents into believing I was local, I could get away unscathed.

The reality is that in Colombia anyone can be a target. Dressing like a "local" will not prevent you from being kidnapped, shot at or blown up.

At least in Saudi you can look and dress to blend in, if you really wanted to...

I still say that Saudi on a bad week would be ten times better than Colombia on a good week, from a terrorism viewpoint.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15329

PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to feel KSA was relatively safe. After the events of 29 May in Khobar I am not so sure.

The REALLY disturbing thing to me is that the security forces let three out of the four perpetrators escape !

Collusion or incompetence ?

So are you still planning a return to KSA. shebab ?
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 4:57 pm    Post subject: THEY LET THEM GET AWAY??? Reply with quote

I thought I had seen everything.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/05/31/saudi.attack/index.html

This effing astounds me.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 5:06 pm    Post subject: Tough call Reply with quote

Dear Bindair Dundat,
The letting 3 of the 4 escape, you mean? I'm very familiar with all the arguments against such a policy and I can even see the "logic" of "no negotiations, no concessions".
At the same time, I KNOW if someone I loved were being held hostage, I'd want to kill anyone who refused to make a deal.
Maybe there's no good answer to this one - frankly, I don't know. But you can always hope to chase them down later - you can't bring anyone back from the dead.
Regards,
John
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