National Geographic : 2004 Feb
Forum .Ii I, officials who are regarded as divinely guided is a force that should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, the Wahhabi fear and hatred of secularism and non-Islamic religions is not confined to the Saudi kingdom. The Saudis are eager and able, with their petrodollars, to export their Wahhabi theocracy throughout the world. JOHN NEHRING Helena, Montana Why would a venerable institu tion like NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC run apublic relations story for Saudi Arabia? Do you think your subscribers don't know that Saudi Arabia is the primary sponsor of Muslim terrorism in the world today? We're not as gullible as the Saudis hope we are. ED HARDIMAN Arlington, Virginia Your report on Saudi Arabia was informative, fair, and impartial. I agree with Editor Bill Allen when he writes in From the Editor that the story is "essential reading for those who won't settle for stereotypes." Since the events of 9/11, the kingdom has been the subject of numerous negative reports from the American press. It should be remembered that in Saudi Arabia Bravo to writer Frank Viviano and photographer Reza for their compelling portrait of a com plex and turbulent land. In almost every image and para graph, one sensed the wrenching social upheaval oil has spawned there since being tapped on March 3, 1938. Now one won ders whom to feel worse for -imported low-wage workers or the nation's youthful slackers. JAY ALLAIN Stonington, Connecticut "Kingdom on Edge" was a real mind-opener. The author's accounts of liberalizing forces within the kingdom are truly encouraging. I remain uncon vinced, though, that these inter nal forces alone will prevail against Saudi Arabia's intolerant Wahhabi theocracy. The influ ence on government by religious FOR MORE INFORMATION Toget NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC please call 1-800-NGS-LINE (1-800 -647-5463). Hearing-impaired TDD users may call 1-800 -548-9797. The magazine's website: nationalgeo graphic.com/magazine For an online index of all National Geographic publications, goto: nationalgeographic.com/publications NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * FEBRUARY 2004 October 2003 The cover story on Saudi Arabia, "Kingdom on Edge," elicited the strongest reaction-both positive and negative-from our readers. The Saudi government also had a strong reaction: Its Ministry of Information banned sale of the issue on newsstands throughout the country. News of that action prompted one Canadian reader to write, "What got them so upset? Could it be that the truth hurts?" NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "For the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,500 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., Presidentand CEO Executive Vice Presidents TERRENCE B. ADAMSON LINDA BERKELEY, President, Enterprises TERRY D. GARCIA, Mission Programs JOHN Q. GRIFFIN, President,Magazine Group NINA D. HOFFMAN, President, Books and School Publishing Group CHRISTOPHER A. LIEDEL, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES GILBERT M. GROSVENOR, Chairman REG MURPHY, Vice Chairman JOAN ABRAHAMSON, WILLIAM L. ALLEN, MARTHA E. CHURCH, MICHAEL COLLINS, ROGER A. ENRICO, JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., DANIEL S. GOLDIN, JOHN JAY ISELIN, JAMES C. KAUTZ, I. WILLARD MARRIOTT, JR., FLORETTA DUKES McKENZIE, PATRICK E NOONAN, NATHANIEL P.REED, WILLIAM K. REILLY, ROZANNE L. RIDGWAY, JAMES R. SASSER, B. FRANCIS SAUL II, GERD SCHULTE-HILLEN TRUSTEES EMERITUS Joe L. Allbritton,Thomas E. Bolger, FrankBorman, Lewis M. Branscomb,Robert L. Breeden, LloydH. Elliott, George M. Elsey,William Graves, Mrs. LyndonB. Johnson, Laurance S. Rockefeller,Robert C. Seamans, Jr., FrederickG. Vosburgh COUNCIL OF ADVISORS Roger A. Enrico, Chairman; Michael R. Bonsignore, Howard G. Buffett, Craig D. Campbell, Juliet C. Folger, Robert B. Haas, Robert A. Hefner III,Samuel C. Johnson, Bruce L Ludwig, Sally Engelhard Pingree, W. Russell Ramsey, Catherine B. Reynolds, Edward P. Roski. Jr., Alice Rogoff Rubenstein, B. Francis Saul II,Garry A. Weber RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman; John M. Francis, Vice Chairman; William L. Allen, Martha E. Church, Steven M. Colman, Scott V. Edwards, William L. Graf, Nancy Knowlton, Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller, Jan Nijman, Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, Bruce D. Smith, Hans-Dieter Sues, Patricia C. Wright,Melinda A. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN -RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Sylvia Earle, Zahi Hawass, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno Conservation Fellow: J. Michael Fay CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS-IN RESIDENCE Sam Abell, Annie Griffiths Belt, David Doubilet, Karen Kasmauski, Emory Kristof, Frans Lanting MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Presidents: Babara A. Chow, Education Foundation; John M. Francis, Research and Exploration; Jacqueline M. Hollister, Development; Sarah Laskin, Public Programs. Exhibits: Susan S. Norton. Expeditions Council: Rebecca Martin. Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden. Lectures: P. Andrew van Duym, Gregory A. McGruder SchoolPublishing: Ericka Markman, Sr. Vice President. International: Robert W. Hernandez, Sr. Vice President. Human Resources: Thomas A. Sabl6, Sr. Vice President. Communications: Betty Hudson, Sr. Vice President. Treasurer: H. Gregory Platts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES DENNIS R. PATRICK, Presidentand CEO Television: Timothy T. Kelly, President. National Geographic Channel: David Haslingden, President, International; Laureen Ong, President, U.S . natlonalgeographic.com: Chris McAndrews, Senior Vice President and General Manager Contributions to the National Geographic Society are tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code. Copyright © 2004 National Geographic Society. 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