“If Olaya Street Could Talk” gives Americans a clear and fascinating perspective on Saudi Arabia

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(Listen to podcast interview with author, below). Saudi Arabia is the whipping boy of the American public. Any time something goes wrong, blame it on the Arabs and the symbol of the Arabs remains an old, outdated video clip of King Faisal in old black sunglasses with a keffiyeh on his head and wearing long white gowns surrounded by similarly dressed sheikhs. King Faisal was a very dedicated Arab leader who did his best to bring the Arab World into the modern century without losing the cultural uniqueness of being an Arab. It continues today, but Americans only selfishly think of oil and blame their own troubles on everyone else, and Saudi Arabia often takes the beating.

But a new book is out that is perfect for American readers called “If Olaya Street Could Talk.” It’s written by an American, John Paul Jones, who launched one of the only real Arab American printing houses to focus on badly needed objective books about the Middle East, Taza Press at http://www.tazapress.com/.

Jones offers firsthand insights into the reality of Saudi Arabia and focuses on the Islamic-Western divide which is often exaggerated to achieve political agendas.

Olaya Street is the principle thoroughfare in Riyadh, which Jones notes is the equivalent to New York ity, a street he first saw in 1978 when he first arrived in the country. Back then, he remembers, it had goats grazing along its easements. But today, 60 story office buildings garnish the main arterial road. The cover photos alone show how the street changed from a desert highway with oil rigs and cranes to a bustling cosmopolitan city that Jones guides the reader through, offering a real, firsthand look at the Saudi people, their customs and their religion, Islam, a religion of peace.

Jones does what most other Islamic scholars and activists fail to do, separate the political agendas and their selfish needs from the reality of life, when the Vietnam Veteran returned home to find a possible opportunity working for a company in the desert kingdom.

What he brings back thirty years later is an objectivity and a truth that no one who has covered Saudi Arabia and the Arab and Muslim Worlds has ever managed to give the American public. An unvarnished, accurate look at the reality of life there without worrying about the political agendas that transform lies into truth and truth into propaganda.

“If Olaya Street Could Talk” is a book Americans definitely should invest what little money they have left from their salaries that isn’t spent on gasoline and other products exploited by multi-national corporations and balmed on the Arabs.

http://www.tazapress.com/
Author John Paul Jones
Albuqurque, New Mexico
2007, 236 Pages
$25.95

PODCAST INTERVIEW: POINT TO POINT. August 1, 2008: Ray Hanania interviews Author John Paul Jones on his new book “If Olaya Street Could Talk: Saudi Arabia the Heartland of Oil and Islam” published by Taza Press. A detailed look at the Saudi world through the eyes of a typical American. Listen to podcast?

This post has already been read 1161 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at TheArabDailyNews.com, TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania