A short video of a private party in an area reserved for non-locals in Al-Khobar sparked controversy on social media and anger in Saudi Arabia and among Saudis.
An online dispute started accordingly between Lebanese residents and Saudis. The trending Arabic hashtag on Twitter, which pretty much translates into “Lebanese Strip Down In Al Khobar,” circulated with harsh comments and negative opinions.
Twitter user Saad Shayben Al-Ghamdi posted the video of that party at a private beach reserved for expats, commenting, “Moral dissolution, mixing, and undressing at the corniche in Khobar by Lebanese!!!”
He went on, expressing his strong disapproval of Lebanon’s society as a whole: “This community will transform our society into a society similar to theirs if they go further and are not held accountable.”
“That scene, we didn’t see it before in Saudi Arabia and we see it now because of the spread of the Lebanese and the facilitation of their conditions,” he concluded.
The video showed people partying in their swimsuits, while a DJ played Lebanese music and some raising the Lebanese flag.
Citizens of the conservative kingdom deemed the party inappropriate, disrespectful, and even illegal due to men and women mixing in the gathering, and dancing in their swimsuits.
That act was deemed against the kingdom’s values by some, although mixed public events have been recently legalized in the country, as seen in the below government-sponsored event of December 2019.
However, the calls for punishment went on: “We are confident in our governors to hold accountable everyone who dares not respect the orders of Sharia and the laws of the state,” a Twitter user commented.
Others demanded that legal actions be taken, calling it the ‘Nude Party’. Others called for authorities to deport the Lebanese expats.
Very few Saudis, though, stepped up to defend the partying expats, based on the fact that it was a private party, which has been always allowed in areas reserved for expats and tourists.
That private resort, on which the video was taken by one of the partying expats, is one of these areas, and reportedly only allows entry to foreigners.
That’s to add that Al-Khobar is the only city in Saudi Arabia in which foreign residents constitute the majority of the population, hence the facilities granted to them.
Hence, twitter user Thamer Al Dossary duly commented that the “hashtag is 99% racist and stains the reputation of Al-Khobar.
He added, “foreigners renting a private chalet and partying,” pointing out that it does not concern the locals.
It is to note that Lebanon always hosts a significant number of Saudi tourists, who come to freely enjoy the lifestyle of the Lebanese society, the nightlife with its mixed gatherings and parties, and the beaches, without prejudice.
It’s also important to point out that, for decades, the Lebanese in Saudi Arabia have been largely contributing to its economy and the success and evolution of local businesses in all sectors.