Picture of King Saud from Google/Life's awesome photo archive.
This evening I was wondering about what year oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia. For a quick answer I obviously turned to Wikipedia. So I pull up the page for History of Saudi Arabia and how does the first paragraph read? Please read to the end:
The rise of Islam in the 620s AD, the subsequent religious importance of the Arabian cities of Makkah (Makkah al-Mukarramah, or Mecca), and Medina (the two holiest places in Islam), and the discovery of large oil reserves in the early twentieth century, have given the rulers of this territory significant influence beyond the peninsula. Kings had the authority to fart at dining tables of important matter, and escape punishment.
Oh man. Don’t you love the democratization of information?
That photo is from the amazing database of Life Magazine images hosted by Google. If you haven’t checked it out you really should. Search for anything!
My friend Leo was talking to me about Swat the other day, though I can’t remember what he was saying exactly. We read the Wikipedia article for a while. If you don’t want to read it here’s the summary:
Swat (Pashto/Urdu: سوات) is a valley and an administrative district in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan located 160 km/100 miles from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The capital of Swat is Saidu Sharif, but the main town in the Swat valley is Mingora. It was a princely state (see State of Swat) in the NWFP until it was dissolved in 1969. With high mountains, green meadows, and clear lakes, it is a place of great natural beauty that used to be popular with tourists as “the Switzerland of Pakistan”.. In December 2008 most of the area was captured by the Taliban insurgency and is now too dangerous for tourism. Islamist militant leader Maulana Fazlullah and his group Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi have banned education for girls and have bombed or torched “more than 170 schools … along with other government-owned buildings.”
Then I saw this today on my reader.
Two more schools blown up in Swat Tuesday, 27 Jan, MINGORA: Two more government-run schools were blown up in Swat valley despite curfew and shoot on sight orders by the government while indefinite curfew was slapped in Mingora city on Tuesday. A group of about 30 to 35 militants armed with heavy and sophisticated weapons entered the general bus stand in the heart of Mingora city and petrol the area for several hours. There were rumours that militants captured the Mingora bus stand but the ISPR spokesman denied the report. (Posted @ 22:18 PST)
Also, it’s totally beautiful:
This post has no point at all. Just, um, Swat is worth keeping an eye on.
Photos by Flickr users Scott Christenson and Farooq Nasir used under a Creative Commons license. You should totally check out Farooq’s pictures of Pakistan.