“Oho!” said the pot to the kettle;
“You are dirty and ugly and black!
Sure no one would think you were metal,
Except when you’re given a crack.”

“Not so! not so!” kettle said to the pot;
“‘Tis your own dirty image you see;
For I am so clean – without blemish or blot -
That your blackness is mirrored in me.”

“Maxwell’s Elementary Grammar”, copyright 1904

In an interview describing the baby steps Saudi Arabia is making towards freedom for its own people, Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia takes the opportunity to try to sully Israel.  In her New York Times article entitled, tongue-in-cheek, “Loosey Goosey Saudi”, Maureen Dowd relays a few gems from the prince.

“We are breaking away from the shackles of the past,” the prince said, sitting in his sprawling, glinting ranch house with its stable of Arabian horses and one oversized white bunny. “We are moving in the direction of a liberal society. What is happening in Israel is the opposite; you are moving into a more religiously oriented culture and into a more religiously determined politics and to a very extreme sense of nationhood,” which was coming “to a boiling point.”

In a country where, among other limitations on freedom, an absolute monarch rules, there is no freedom of religion, and women are banned from driving, Saudi Arabia has a lot of “moving” left to get to the goal of an open society.  In fact, today’s Boston Globe reports on a woman who was just sentenced to 300 lashes and 18 months in jail for filing a harassment complaint against local officials without being accompanied by a male relative.

Prince Faisal, there are quite a few things the pot could learn from kettle.  (Freedom House ranks Israel as Free and Saudi Arabia as Not Free.)  Instead of blasting us, take our outstretched hand, and let’s move our region forward together to that vision of an open, peaceful Middle East.