Now that the polls for the US presidential elections are over and the votes counted, congratulations from across the globe are flowing into the President-elect Joe Biden who will assume charge in the White House next January. That is if anarchy does not sweep through the nation, spurred on by hard-core and heavily armed MAGA supporters who see President Donald Trump as the saviour if you will of the superiority of the white race.
From Canada’s Trudeau to Germany’s Merkel, from the Saudi King Salman to India’s Narendra Modi, felicitations and messages have made their way to the newly appointed leader of the United States of America. Most European leaders are privately glad to see the change in leadership, since many of them had a tumultuous relationship with the outgoing president.
Since the middle of the last century, more than a hundred thousand Saudis had made their way to the United States in pursuit of higher education.
A majority of Americans had made their choice and although there are a sizeable number of Americans who oppose the election results and particularly from the Southern states which for the record fought in a civil war more than two centuries ago to maintain slavery, there is little they can do about it in the current situation.
In Saudi Arabia, events leading to the elections were held by thousands of Saudis, many who had bonds and ties to the US spanning decades. Since the middle of the last century, more than a hundred thousand Saudis had made their way to the United States in pursuit of higher education. During their time there, they became accustomed to a way of life entirely alien from their own and many adopted the American ‘can do’ spirit so prevalent back then. They were also highly impressed with their host’s honesty, generosity, and sense of justice. America too, welcomed them back them and embraced them with open arms, leading many Saudis to this day calling America ‘my second home.’ They were invited into American homes to share in a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner feasts, invited over to an American’s home to watch the July 4 fireworks from, or even to do a Halloween run collecting candy with their kids. Many Saudis also fell in love with local girls, married them, and had children of dual citizenship, citizens who to this day maintain a tight bond with the country of their birth.
Memories of the days in the US
Doctors and engineers, pilots and businessmen and a host of other professions, they eventually made their way back to their country eager to exercise their newly learnt knowledge in building the Saudi desert from the ground up. With their return, they carried with them fond memories of the times spent there and kept up with events particularly those of the universities they had attended or the states they had lived in.
And so when this election rolled in, Saudis too, along with overseas Americans in different parts of the world, were eagerly following the results with bated breath. This was not a race between two ideologically similar opponents. And when the results were announced, a surprising number of Saudis were not necessarily pleased with the outcome.
Badr is one such Saudi who had spent a considerable number of years in the state of Georgia in the US. He claims that with a Biden victory the path opens up for Iran to become more aggressive and that is surely bound to be a thorny issue that could potentially lead to wars. He maintained that Trump had muzzled Iran and stopped them from pursuing aggression by ‘threatening to blow them out of existence, and that is what Iran understands. They would not dare go against him as they fear him as an action man.’
Shareef, another Saudi and a PhD graduate from Stanford University in California, is glad to see the end of the Trump era. ‘He became a cult figure to the masses and had he become re-elected, things might have changed with no end to his reign. Democracy would have perhaps vanished and so would my ties to my second home.’
While the US election drama is still in full swing with unproven accusations of fraud, Shareef can breathe a sigh of relief that January 20, 2021, will herald a new dawn in US politics.
— Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi sociopolitical commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena