Skip to main content

Arabic press review: The two photos causing outrage in Saudi and Jordan

Images of a Yemeni school girl crying and a Jordanian municipal employee standing on a cleaner's back spark controversy
One photo caused a Saudi policy reversal; the other has led to an inquiry in Jordan (Screenshot/Twitter)

Saudi reverses ban on Yemenis and Syrians attending state school

The Saudi Ministry of Education has reversed a decision that would have stopped all Syrian and Yemeni students from attending schools in the kingdom for free, al-Quds al-Arabi reports.

Last week, the ministry sent an official memorandum, seen by the pan-Arab newspaper, which said that the students would need to attend private or foreign international schools with their parents footing the bill.

Previously, Saudi Arabia has allowed the children of foreigners with visas or visiting identity cards to enroll in state schools. 

The change in policy caused uproar after a Yemeni taxi driver working in Jeddah posted a photo of his two daughters returning home after they were banned from their school.

Photo posted by Hisham al-Ahdal on Facebook last week (Screenshot)
"My daughter's tears broke me," wrote Hisham al-Ahdal.

Two days after implementing the new policy, the ministry reversed its decision, although Syrian and Yemeni students in Grade 1 will still be restricted from attending state schools for free.

Off the backs of cleaners

A photo showing an Amman municipality employee standing on the back of a sanitation worker has sparked anger across Jordan this week, news site Arabi21 reports.

Translation: "This picture summarises the Jordanian case: the government climbs on the back of the working class to please the capitalists"

The photo, which shows the municipality employee using the cleaner's back to remove a billboard, has sparked a debate over the rights and abuses of the workers. 

Municipal authorities in Amman issued a statement describing what happened as "abusive conduct", and said an inquiry into the incident has been initiated. One employee has already been suspended, according to the statement.

The results of the investigation and any penalties that result from it will be announced. "The dignity of the cleaners is guaranteed," the municipality said.

9,000 Algerians attempted suicide in past year

More than 9,000 Algerians tried to kill themselves over the past year, according to a report by the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, covered in Echorouk El Youmi newspaper on Monday.

Most of those who attempted suicide were young people and 1,100 of those who tried ended their lives, according to the organisation, which released its report on the International Day of Suicide Prevention.

The causes of the attempts were varied, including difficult social and economic conditions and psychological distress.

One mother of four, cited in the report, threw herself under the wheels of a car in the city of Tebessa shouting, "Let me die. I am less afraid of this than living. My children are lost in my hands."

The league said that it is critical that the imbalances in society that have left some people resorting to suicide rather than facing their problems be addressed quickly. 

It beggars belief

A beggar managed to raise around a quarter of a million dollars in Yemen's capital Sanaa, a source told Yemeni newspaper Aden al-Ghad

The source, who works at a Yemeni bank, told the paper that the beggar's account contains around 113 million Yemeni rials ($452,000), earned over several years of panhandling.

The man, according to the bank employee, takes dozens of women and children to Sanaa each day to beg. At the end of the day, when he picks them up, he takes what they have collected in exchange for a wage.

The man has been depositing large sums of money into the account for years, the source said.

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.