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EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL

6

Saudi Gazette, Saturday, March 25, 2017

Perspectives

OPINION

OPINION

Matthew d’Ancona

is a political

columnist for The Guardian and The

Evening Standard and a contributing

opinion writer.

Editor-in-Chief

Somayya Jabarti

sjabarti@saudigazette.com.sa

Executive Editor

L. Ramnarayan Iyer

riyer@saudigazette.com.sa

Managing Editor (National)

Mahmoud Ahmad

mahmad@saudigazette.com.sa

Managing Editor (International)

Shams Ahsan

sahsan@saudigazette.com.sa

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How to contact us

Disclaimer

Writers’ and readers’

opinions do not

necessarily reflect

SG’s views unless

otherwise stated.

Subscription and contact information

Saudi Gazette P. O. Box 5576

Jeddah – 21432 Saudi Arabia

Chairman

Abdullah S. Kamel

akamel@okaz.com.sa

Director General

Waleed J. Kattan

wjkattan@okaz.com.sa

Deputy Director General

Abdulaziz Alsehli

asehli@okaz.com.sa

Samar Fatany

is a radio

broadcaster and writer.

She can be reached at

samarfatany@hotmail.com

Saudi training and internship

programs need a boost

I

ncreasing employment opportu-

nities for Saudi youth continues

to be one of the main challeng-

es facing Saudi Arabia today.

Economists urge the need for a

more efficient strategy to address the

high rate of unemployment. 1.9 mil-

lion Saudis will enter the workforce

over the next decade according to the

Woodrow Wilson International Center

for Scholars in Washington, DC.

Everyone agrees that more needs

to be done to upgrade the educational

system and increase career options to

absorb the young and growing work-

ing-age populations into the workforce.

At present it remains critical to ad-

dress the challenges facing post-gradu-

ate education. The Ministry of Educa-

tion is continuously urged by experts to

upgrade the school curricula and create

technical workshops to produce gradu-

ates suitable for the industrial labor

market.

Unfortunately, internship programs

are not as effective and Saudi graduates

lack the basic qualifications such as flu-

ency in English, analytical and prob-

lem-solving skills, good command of

MS Office and communication skills,

both oral and written, required for any

internship program in any reputable in-

stitution or company. Thus, industrial

companies remain reluctant to recruit

young graduates due to their poor

qualifications and ill preparedness to

work in the industrial sector.

Meanwhile, local companies do

not provide adequate on-the-job train-

ing for young inexperienced employ-

ees and are not willing to invest in

providing highly qualified trainees.

Not many Saudi companies provide

adequate internship programs for the

inexperienced graduates seeking em-

ployment. Ask any of the young in-

terns who completed their internship in

local companies and they will all tell

you that they did not learn much and

their benefit was minimal.

Most graduates complain that

companies do not provide proper

mentoring, training is inadequate and

they feel marginalized with zero guid-

ance leaving them lost and struggling

to prove their competence at work.

Adopting best practices from reputa-

ble international companies can be of

great benefit for the newly employed

graduates who are eager to learn, con-

tribute and excel.

Today most renowned academic

institutions have centers for career

education (CCE) that offer unique

opportunities to provide young gradu-

ates with the required work experience

and the opportunity to explore and

learn. Many universities abroad offer

numerous internship programs where

students can learn about professional

fields and experience typical work-

days. Internship programs are taken

seriously and students are provided

with the necessary skills to pursue their

future careers.

Most global companies apply in-

ternational training standards to pro-

vide serious and professional intern-

ship training to enhance capabilities

and provide the necessary expertise to

build productive employees. Reputa-

ble companies offer ground internship

training on projects, which include the

collaboration of expert motivators and

thinkers around the world who work

together to solve challenges. They pro-

vide training and mentoring that can

boost the career of a young graduate

with adequate skills to qualify them for

a job anywhere in the world.

Coaching, mentoring, job rota-

tion and job instructional techniques

are some of the necessary training re-

quirements Coaching is a one-to-one

training method that provides a more

effective instruction for each trainee

to develop according to their pace and

individual capability. Instructional

techniques that provide step-by-step

instruction can also ensure that the

trainer is assured that the learner has

mastered the necessary skills required

to make him a productive employee.

The mentoring process focuses on

the development of attitude and work

ethics, providing young employees

with a solid foundation of profession-

alism and communication skills. Other

methods include rotating them through

a series of related jobs to make them

more familiar with the work environ-

ment and able to perform different

tasks in different sectors.

Young employees can be more

efficient and hardworking once they

are provided with the proper technical

guidance, thorough instructions and

a specialized on the job training. The

process of training young inexperi-

enced employees should be taken more

seriously by the Saudi labor market.

The future development of Saudi

Arabia into a diversified, knowledge-

based economy will depend on a

strong private sector and its ability to

attract and train young graduates and

offer them the incentives to contribute

to nation building. Only if we apply ef-

fective policies, efficient strategies, and

constructive plans that are based upon

scientific methodologies can we make

Vision 2030 more achievable.

Rep. Nunes failing in a watchdog role

R

epresentative

Devin

Nunes looked uneasy.

Nunes, the chairman of

the House Intelligence

Committee, was strug-

gling on Monday to elicit details from

James Comey, the FBI director, about

his explosive revelation that the bureau

is investigating whether Russia and

the Trump administration colluded to

sabotage Hillary Clinton’s presiden-

tial candidacy. That disclosure, Nunes

said, had put “a big, gray cloud” over

the White House.

On Wednesday, Nunes tried to re-

place that cloud with a smoke screen.

In a possible violation of the law,

Nunes described intelligence reports

that he said had suggested that Ameri-

can intelligence agencies incidentally

intercepted communications of then

President-elect Trump and people

close to him, and then disseminated the

information widely throughout the in-

telligence community. His disclosures,

which have destroyed the credibility of

his committee in investigating Russian

interference in the election, make clear

that he is unfit for the job and should

be replaced.

Nunes’s remarks, which appeared

to be deliberately vague, gave President

Trump cover for his baseless claim that

President Barack Obama had illegally

wiretapped his phones. After making

his disclosures during a news confer-

ence onWednesday, Nunes went to the

White House to brief the president. In

a startling break with tradition, Nunes,

a Republican, briefed reporters before

sharing his findings with fellow mem-

bers of the committee, who are from

both parties. Trump portrayed the con-

gressman’s assertions as a vindication

of his widely discredited accusation.

“I very much appreciated the fact that

they found what they found,” Trump

said.

Nunes, who served on Trump’s

transition team, was never a suitable

choice to lead a congressional inves-

tigation into the role the Russian gov-

ernment played in last year’s election.

He is clearly more interested in having

his committee examine the manner in

which American intelligence agencies

collected information about the Trump

campaign than in determining what

that information shows.

Nunes unspooled his information

on Wednesday over the course of two

news conferences that had a strikingly

improvisational air. At one point, he

said he was referring to material that

“appears to be all legally collected

foreign intelligence.” Soon afterward,

he proclaimed himself to be “actually

alarmed by it.” It was hard to under-

stand exactly what Nunes was alleg-

ing, perhaps because he didn’t have

any truly alarming revelation to share.

Nunes’s remarks left the impres-

sion that American intelligence per-

sonnel may have been careless in

redacting identifying information of

American citizens whose communi-

cations were intercepted as part of the

lawful monitoring of foreigners. He

did not, however, claim that intelli-

gence personnel broke rules.

By speaking expansively about in-

telligence gathering, Nunes may have

broken the law by disclosing classified

information, however obliquely. The

congressman, who has assailed leaks

to the press, said his information came

from unnamed “sources who thought

that we should know it.” That’s rich.

On Wednesday night, Sen. John

McCain, Republican of Arizona, said

the recent developments make it nec-

essary to appoint a select committee

or independent commission to run an

inquiry. “No longer does the Congress

have credibility to handle this alone,”

McCain said in an interview on MS-

NBC. “And I don’t say that lightly.”

McCain is right. It was predictable

that standard congressional commit-

tee investigations into the role of Rus-

sia and the election would turn into

muddled partisan fights. But Nunes’s

conduct stands out for his brazen-

ness and heedlessness. His role as a

committee chairman is to carry out

responsible oversight of intelligence

matters. Instead, he used his position

to distract attention from the crucial

question of whether Trump’s election

was aided by collusion with an adver-

sary.

— The New York Times

London pride, undaunted

“T

he growing good of the

world is partly depen-

dent on unhistoric acts,”

George Eliot wrote in

“Middlemarch.”

On

Thursday, in a statement to the House of

Commons about the attack that had occurred

right outside Parliament the day before, Prime

Minister Theresa May echoed that sentiment,

paying tribute to the “millions of acts of nor-

mality” that are the most powerful weapons

against extremist violence.Thiswas London’s

counterattack: to show that it takes more than

a murderous rampage throughWestminster to

shut down this mighty city.

Somber but undaunted, members of Par-

liament of all parties expressed their admi-

ration for the courage of the police, doctors

and nurses who had responded with such

speed and vigor, rushing to help those who

had been mowed down by car on Westmin-

ster Bridge. Four people died in the attack: a

London teacher and an American visitor; a

police officer, Keith Palmer; and the attack-

er, who has been identified as a 52-year-

old Briton, Khalid Masood. As many as

40 people were injured, several of whom

remain in critical condition.

The deputy speaker of theHouse, Lind-

say Hoyle, voiced the feelings of all his

colleagues when he described Constable

Palmer as “one of our village policemen.”

Westminster is indeed a village, and,

as a commentator on Britain’s political

scene, I treat it as my professional work-

place. For all its architectural grandeur, it

is really a noisy souk, a forum for gossip,

ideas and haggling. Shortly before the

attack, I had been to see a Cabinet min-

ister who was worried about a “difficult

year ahead” for the government. When

I returned, Parliament Square had been

closed off by the police and the traffic was

gridlocked. The sirens of ambulances told

their own distressing story.

“You’d think they’d have sorted it out,

for God’s sake,” a taxi driver complained

out of his open window, to nobody in par-

ticular. As callous as that might sound, it

was the authentic voice of London: un-

fazed, querulous, eccentric. The city’s cab-

bies are more fearful of traffic than they are

of “nutters with knives” (another London-

ism I overheard as I walked across Vaux-

hall Bridge, trying to find a way home).

Here’s what really counts: By Thurs-

day morning, London was, if not quite

back to normal, then certainly back in

business. As I traveled through the south

of the city, up to Chelsea and later over to

King’s Cross, Londoners really were go-

ing about their lives as on any other day.

This behavior reflects something

deeper than conscious defiance, I think. It

would simply not occur to the 8.6 million

citizens of this megalopolis to allow one

man to send them into hiding. As they say

in the East End, you’re having a laugh,

aren’t you?

It is the stoicism of ancestral pride and

present realism. Everyone in this city —

as in New York, Tel Aviv, Paris, Brussels,

Berlin—acknowledges the daily threat of

low-tech terrorism.

Although MI5, the domestic security

service, has achieved remarkable success

in recent years, it cannot foil every con-

spiracy or lone wolf radicalized online by

the bloodstained software of militancy.

Some years ago, we learned, the assailant

had flitted across the intelligence commu-

nity’s radar, as a peripheral figure. Absent

a police state, it is impossible to monitor

every such individual.

This was not the first attack like this

on London and everyone knows it will

not be the last. In such an age, and in such

circumstances, the only way to proceed is

— in the much-loved British slogan — to

keep calm and carry on.

There was something else detectable

in the fresh spring air, too. The last year,

dominated by the Brexit referendum and

its aftermath, has been one of brewing

nativism and frequently ugly talk about

immigration. Even as the injured were

being treated, Britain’s equivalent of the

alt-right tweeted with revolting ignorance

about “illegals,” the very word that Presi-

dent Trump used, incorrectly, to describe

Syrian refugees in a postelection interview

with The Times of London. (In fact, the

man named as the attacker was reportedly

born in Kent, in southeast England.)

And speaking of the first family, Don-

ald Trump Jr.’s ill-informed and insulting

criticism of our mayor, Sadiq Khan, via

Twitter did not go down well here. Brit-

ish anger at such brazen examples of po-

litical opportunism has been remarkable,

and reached beyond social media. Britons

love a political row, but they also know that

there is a time and a place. This was most

definitely not an occasion to score political

points. The president’s son should not plan

on visiting a London pub any time soon.

Of course, the divisions of the past

year have not suddenly been healed, nor

the poison put back in its bottle. But in

conversations, on the radio, in the coun-

tenance of passers-by, you could sense a

fresh recognition that this is the greatest

city on earth because of, rather than in

spite of, its extraordinary diversity.

Those who long for a monocultural

London want something back that has

never existed. Not since the glorious open-

ing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics have

I felt such pride to live in such a multifari-

ous city, a planetary community.

“Yesterday, we saw the worst of hu-

manity,” May said, “but we will remem-

ber the best.” That’s absolutely right. It

is a commonplace that pain and love are

closely related, but true nonetheless. As

Londoners absorbed the horror of what

had happened, they quietly reaffirmed

a principle that has served them well for

centuries: that they —we —will not bow

to fear.

— The New York Times

S

HE is not a household name

and maybe never will be. But

Rima Khalaf should be viewed

as a hero in the Arab world.

Instead of withdrawing a UN

report that she authorized

which accused Israel of

apartheid over its treatment

of Palestinians — a withdrawal

demanded of her by the UN’s

new Secretary-General Antonio Guterres — Khalaf

resigned. That decision took courage. Khalaf chose

values and principles over financial benefits and a

top international post.

The report, entitled “Israeli Practices Toward the

Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”,

published earlier this month by the United Nations

Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia,

of which Khalaf is head, drew swift criticism from US

and Israeli officials. That was to be expected. The

surprise was the reaction of Guterres.

At first Guterres distanced himself from the

report, saying it reflected its authors’ views. But

somewhere along the line he must have been

pressured, either by the US or Israel or both, to

demand that the report be withdrawn. His office

denies he was pressured, yet the reason for his

demand does not hold. A UN spokesman said the

issue with Khalaf was not the content of the report

but a result of her failure to follow the necessary

procedures before the publication. She supposedly

had to consult the relevant departments and

Guterres himself.

If that were truly the case, what’s the problem

besides a minor procedural blip? Obviously, the

problem was much more than one of protocol. A

few days after the report was published, it was no

longer visible on the ESCWA website.

If the UN cannot trust Khalaf, herself an

under-secretary general in the world body, then

why was she appointed to the post to begin with?

A UN press release said of Khalaf when she was

appointed in 2010: “Khalaf brings to the position

a combination of deep passion for, and knowledge

of, the region with its challenges and opportunities;

substantial experience with the United Nations at

the senior policymaking levels; and the necessary

management skills for a complex organization

such as ESCWA.” That is a glowing assessment that

Guterres upended in one day. Guterres’ demand

that Khalaf withdraw a report backed up by facts

is not as much an insult to the efforts of those who

prepared the report as much as it disregards the

credibility and integrity of the UN itself.

The report itself said it had established on

the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming

evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of

apartheid”. Its authors concluded that “Israel has

established an apartheid regime that systematically

institutionalizes racial oppression and domination

of the Palestinian people as a whole”.

If Israel disagrees with these characterizations,

its case must be argued on the facts. The fact is it

cannot hide half-a-century of collective suffering

of an entire people. The commission said that a

“history of war, annexation and expulsions, as well

as a series of practices” had left the Palestinian

people “fragmented”.

In her home country Jordan, the government

has described Khalaf as a patriot. Palestinian

President Mahmoud Abbas has awarded Khalaf

the highest Palestinian honor: Palestine’s Medal of

the Highest Honor in recognition of her “courage

and support” for Palestinians, stressing to Khalaf

that “our people appreciate her humanitarian and

national position”.

The report is reportedly the first by the UN to

conclude Israel is a racist state. That is a serious

accusation and by itself took courage to publish it.

Khalaf did not hesitate for even a moment to either

take a stand or bow to political pressure.

When it was demanded of Khalaf that she

retract the report, she held her ground and held

fast to what she firmly believes in. She did not

surrender her principles, personal dignity or

integrity. She did not succumb to political blackmail.

SAMAR

FATANY

UN official stays

true to herself