‘Bare it at the Louvre!’ Ya salaam

The news has finally reached King Salman bin Abdulaziz that videos with scantily clad female performers were shown between wrestling matches at the Greatest Royal Rumble, before a sold-out crowd at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah on April 27.

The Saudi General Sports Authority in partnership with World Wrestling Entertainment Co. had presented the Kingdom’s first-ever Greatest Royal Rumble.

He has called his son, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at the Erga Palace in Riyadh to inquire about it.

“You know, my son, the usual rabble of cavemen who can’t see the today have brought this incident to my notice …”

“Yes, my father, you are right. We still have some cavemen living in our Kingdom. They need to appreciate that it was a government-sanctioned event … the first live wrestling event with women allowed to attend at ringside! The Kingdom is making history under your guardianship and some cannot comprehend the change.

“And there are so many ways to interpret the requirements of faith.”

“Yes, indeed. You are right.”

“These cavemen are not appreciating the our women are getting inspired by watching this great contest ringside. Tomorrow, we will have Saudi women in the ring! How do you do wrestling in an abaya,” Prince Mohammed guffaws. “Just ask them! It is like what some Muslims in America are doing. They are demanding that Muslims girls should be allowed to participate in sports in hijab! What about the uniform of sports? They have no respect for their country’s traditions. Really sad … I would say shameful.

“O my father, you know our House of Saud has never demanded of our benefactors. If this is the wrestling organization’s specified uniform, we can’t go around enforcing our own rules! We can’t become a butt of jokes.

“O Father, you know when I visited with His Excellency President Emmanuel Macron of France, he hosted a private dinner for me at the Louvre, which is one his country’s cultural crown jewels.

“The meal in the Louvre coincided with the launch of the major exhibition of the 19th-century French painter Eugène Delacroix. His Excellency told me that the artist is best known for his work titled Liberty Leading the People. In this painting, Delacroix’s shows Parisians being led over the barricades by a bare-breasted Liberty during the July Revolution of 1830. I am told that it is one of the world’s most iconic artworks. His Excellency walked me to this great painting and highlighted some of its finer points to me.

“Of course, I could not demand that the painting be covered with an abaya.”

“Indeed, my son, there is a hadith that a guest must not request anything that will cause inconvenience to the host. His Excellency had honored by inviting you to break bread with him at such an honorable place.”

“Sure. His Excellency has invited us, Saudi Arabia to take part in the Cannes Film Festival with a series of short films, and France will help us build our own opera and orchestra.

“And we have signed a strategic partnership with France.”

“France is a very dear partner. My son, France is crucial to keeping away anti-monarchial forces in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. You remember, when in 2009, the Algerians foolishly voted for the Algerian Movement for a Peaceful Society, which was part of the anti-monarchial Ikhwan web, France intervened and set things straight.”

“O my dear father, the House of Saud is always a leader, never a follower. But I am inspired by the wise move made by our dear friend, Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan in building the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is an art and civilization museum.

“We already have a strategic partnership with France, so I am going to call His Excellency President Macron that he should kindly honor us by building a Louvre Riyadh so that Saudis can savor some of the great works of France like Delacroix’s painting of Liberty Leading the People.”

“Sure, my son. We should spare nothing in broadening the outlook of our Saudi people. Indeed, anything and everything except which does create any anti-monarchial feelings.”

“Excellent. This installing the great museum of Louvre in capital will at least also solve one more problem for us. We know the neighborhoods of Al-Suwaidi, al-Jarradiyah and al-Shimaisi are so alien to our image as a great and progressive kingdom. We can simply totally eliminate one of these slums, and replace it with a real Parisian locale where our Louvre would feel a natural.

“O Father, you know the great saying, ‘When in Rome, do as Romans do’, so we want to make a Paris so our Saudi people can taste the real ambience of the Louvre.”

“That’s a great idea! We can’t have these areas for poor people in our Kingdom.”

“Yes, my Father, we will ‘Bare it at the Louvre!’ Ya salaam.”

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