Western Imperialisim and Orientalsim in Saudi Arabia

Is Western Imperialism more prevailing than Orientalism in Saudi Arabia?

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From ancient times in Saudi Arabia and other regions of the globe, civilization has seen the rise and fall of Empires. This spectrum of Empires in relation to Saudi Arabia concentrates on royal families. The government of this country has been under the rule of the monarch family for a long time. Their rule, therefore, has influenced the political layout of the country, social process in the state and countries cultural aspects (Chua 1- 16). Over the years, western imperialism has influenced opinions and strategies. This transformation has been the result of the country’s political class entering into various contacts. Contacts with the outside populations have then led to the development of new cultures, economic transformation and local cultures (Chadha and Kavoori 3-17). Although, western imperialism has not taken place largely in the Middle East, nations, for example, Saudi Arabia depicts high cases of Western imperialism compared to other countries. This is due to their relationship with western countries like the U.S.A.

Through several studies, it comes out that western countries have had an influence on various aspects of the Middle Eastern populations. There has been growing drift to the western economy in terms of Saudi Arabia policies. The reasons for these drift relates to the development of bilateral and other agreements with foreign nations. Previous regimes in the Middle East had the ability to govern their subjects using varied schemes. These regimes had developed policies, imposed culture, and ways of life to its people (Ang 12-17). However, current economic situations in the Middle East and political climates have made the Saudi government seek for funds from western countries. The country has seen the need to have funds to cater for military strategies and other national tasks. Such interaction with western countries has been responsible for a shift in cultural, political, and social influences in the country.

Saudi government and other countries in the Middle East have to seek for financial help from foreign western countries. These funds ensure that the government’s have military hardware to fight terrorism, fund healthcare, education and infrastructure. Therefore, one can argue that western imperialism prevails local Orientalism in these states. This study explains why Western Imperialism prevails more than Orientalism in Saudi Arabia. Consequently, it tries to elucidate the influence of Western imperialism in Saudi Arabia. In order for governments in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia included to overcome their thirst for power, market for oil and other influences, there have been agreements with western countries (Chan 3-9). One Particular important country for propagating western imperialism in the country is the United States of America.

Comparison of Western Imperialism and Orientalism

Western imperialism has an influence on Saudi Arabia. Its influence is probably higher as compared to other countries, but Orientalism is prevailing more. The United States of America has had long-standing agreements with the Saudi governments. These interactions have had an influence on the economic state of the country, culture, and politics. With such contacts in the Middle East, the United States has had an influence on Saudi Arabia’s political and economic spectrum. Perhaps, the United States has had long control of the world economy (Thomas 13). The country has been able to fulfill this aspect on the globe using the American English as a global business language; the U.S.A. dollar further has been dominating in the market (Keane 4-12). It is also imperative to note that United States cultures have been propagated to masses using social media, T.V shows, music, and other artistic medium. Over the years, Orientalism has been a framework that rationalized colonialism. Through such influence, one comes to the realization that Western colonial masters to justify dominations used Oreintalism. This phenomenon has not changed in the present climate, but majority of citizens in Saudi Arabia hold to Orientalism.

Case study:

Use of Cartoons

In the course, development of society in the Middle East media press has played an important role in the transmission of information. Members of the press have been able to utilize diverse platforms in disseminating political, economical, and other social information. However, it is not simple for one to quantify media’s influence on the population; the point remains that it has had its influence on the people of Saudi Arabia. From Iraq Africa and all over the have been able to demonstrate that their tasks are of great importance (Thussu 1-5). One of such medium of transmission is the use of cartoons to depict political emotions and other societal context. Artists, as well as media practitioners presently fuse visual images with the world in newspapers and other articles. Such sources provide a reader diverse perspectives on the subject.

Cartoons as a medium of communication in Saudi Arabia provide different aspects in relation to western imperialism and Orienatalism. Cartoons as a medium of communication however, have unique qualities. Cartoons require one to use their intellectual abilities to grasp certain aspects of its literary and visualization. Therefore, in relation to cartoons of Orientalism, one needs to have the ability to understand cultural aspects depicted on its background and the intended information. Cartoons have been used in the Middle East to satirize corrupt politicians, provide religious information and other information. Further cartoons are responsible for propagating cultural information and trends. In order to promote Orientalism artists integrate local and national languages

In Saudi Arabia as well as other Middle Eastern countries, cartoon as a media use aggression. These artists more than often and icons to satirize the political class. However, while designing some of these cartoons artists need to use particular international standards of designing. This is where Western imperialism comes into play. The influence of Western Imperialism on these cartoon designs ensures international affairs information reach publics. Sometimes messages conveyed in such media relate to the intellectual, which might manipulate ones conscience largely. Therefore, cartoons have the ability to openly display revolution, communicate culture, religion, and resistance.

Focus on Saudi Arabia Politics



Cartoons tell a thousand stories so they say. According to the first cartoon, one clearly gets the interpretation of the culture of men dressing. The man depicted is dressed according to Saudi’s style of men dressing. A closer look at the cartoon shows the man probably a politician pouring poison from a watering can on drying plants in the desert. According to this cartoon, one would probably relate to a politician using poor strategies in tackling the problem. Further, the cartoon uses local language in communication. The artist of this cartoon tries to relay information to the Orientalism of Saudi Arabia. Take note that the artist uses Arabic in communication.

The second cartoon is probably the most hilarious. This cartoon tells a story on the Syrian. The artist expresses the information observing Western imperialism influences. In the cartoon, the artist depicts president Obama wearing a military uniform swinging a sword while pronouncing “Syria.” UN’S secretary general is seen crawling while the leader of the gulf hangs and Obama rides on him like a horse. Mr., Moon is depicted in this cartoon as having no power on the Syrian war other than depending on United States of America for guidance. While interpreting this cartoon one will realize that the artist provides varied angles war in Syria. The artist communicates to the reader how Saudi Arabia relate to the United States of America. By the Saudi Arabian leader-calming president Obama, one gets the picture that these nations are close foes.

What are the cultural influences of western imperialism and Orientalism?

Western imperialism an Orientalism has an influence on the culture of the people of Saudi Arabia. These systems of representation to the population have diverse cultural influences. These systems are unique to the country in that the political system differs greatly to the cultural system. The political system represents the views of the political class in the country while cultural perspectives relates to the way of life. For centuries, people of Saudi Arabia have been under the rule of Monarch. The influence of this political class, therefore, cuts across almost all spectrums. Most of the cultural representations of the country follow Islamic principles. However, growth in technology as well as media platform has had an impact on this exclusive Muslim tradition.

According to Wang (10-13), Western Imperialism has been able to transcend through mobile phone platforms, Television, radio and the internet. It has become evident that most youths in these Asian countries have had their interests focused on western philosophy and culture. The present Saudi Arabia respects freedoms of every citizen. These freedoms relate to culture, religion, and level of association in the society (Carruthers 25). In these respect, one understands the important of media in influencing culture and traditions. Scholars and religious leaders in the country, however, argue that freedom of media houses and platforms have led to collapse of traditional Arabic culture. These scholars are in the opinion that western imperialism infects citizens with bad cultures. Other scholars further argue that western imperialism is responsible for transmitting modern colonial agendas (Baber 21)

Globalization influences on western imperialism and Orientalism in Saudi Arabia

Globalization is perhaps the most important aspect in transforming modern cultures and political environments. During the medieval times, ancient Persia rulers concentrated on governing subjects based on Muslim traditions. However, globalization, which began with the industrial revolution, brought various perspectives to cultures and politics in the Middle East. Western imperialism, on the other hand, began taking root during colonialism (Clammer 36). It was during these periods that citizens in the Middle East began fusing western principles to their traditions. Nevertheless, what would shock the world came because of globalization. Globalization influences led to the movement of people, consumer goods, and information.

It is, therefore, prudent to state that globalization have had an influence on peoples cultures and personal perspectives about life. In Saudi Arabia, individuals can express their views on politics, individuals may use media platforms to understand global events and in communicating with the political class. Global media platforms on the other hand, propagate imperialism ideologies. In respect to these phenomena, global media players have been responsible in marketing global goods and services (White 7). Populations in Saudi Arabia are now able to access information faster using social media platforms, purchase products using the internet (Darling-Wolf 17-22). This influence of western media on Saudi Arabia has had a tremendous influence on the consumption pattern of the people.

On the other hand, these media platforms have had an important influence of lifestyles. In response to the influence of western media, it is evident that youths in the country copy western cultures. Most of these youths use social media platforms and the internet to communicate globally. Therefore, in response to the question, if western Imperialism prevails more than Orientalism, globalization has promoted movement of individuals, information, and interaction. In Saudi Arabia, globalization has propagated western imperialism mostly among youthful generations. The older generations still hold on to Orientalism and disgust western influences.

Media as drivers for Social change in Saudi Arabia

Previous kingdoms in Saudi Arabia believed in buying media personalities for personal gains. These regimes kept citizens on the dark about various aspects of the economy, agreements, and government’s activities. In cases where media houses had preview information on corrupt deals and other negative influences, kingdoms officials either intimidated their journalists or paid them. During a period of Saddam’s reign, a case is given where Riyadh kept its citizens on the dark about Kuwait’s raid in 1991. The regime, however, came to learn that most of its citizens had preview information through the CNN (Butcher 6-9). This perhaps was a wakeup call for the kingdom making it transform its media strategy. Their strategy meant that they had to open new media houses all over the globe, used funds to influence minds. As part of their strategy, Saudi governments use other platforms in transmitting information. The government has invested on films, poetry, and drama to counter western imperialism influences (Fung 2-6). These strategies have seen the kingdom maintain some of its ideologies. According to IIE (7) through such films, the government has been able to keep traditions and transmit information contrary to Western imperialism ideologies.


Western imperialism relates to the cultural influence of western nations on other countries. These influences began at the period where western states had colonies. To date, such influences still exist only transformed to fit current needs. Orientalism, on the other hand, relates to traditional Arabic ideologies of the people of Middle East. A study on Saudi Arabia reveals how western imperialism had had an influence on the traditional Orientalism. Globalization, technological growth, and social advancement meant that traditional Orientalism principles might disappear. Media platforms, social media, and mobile seem to be driving forces to western imperialism ideologies in the Middle East (Wang 10-13).

Works cited

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