The Saudi critic, thinker and translator Dr. Saad Al-Bazei confirms – in the second part of his meeting with the “Interview” program – that a clear shift is taking place in the Saudi and Gulf cultural arena in general, and this appears in translation as a huge field for knowledge production and interaction with the other. Huge projects have appeared, whether in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, and awards for translation and others have been established, such as the King Faisal International Prize.
He says that this presence changed the map and put the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf in the center of the scene to a large extent, indicating that the cultural movement in Saudi Arabia is old, effective and interactive with the other, and since the nineties the country has witnessed a high rate of publication, as well as Saudi and Gulf contributions to the Arab cultural scene; In the large Arab publishing houses, there is a high percentage of Saudi and Gulf authors. Rather, it has become dependent on the Saudi and Gulf author and reader.
Saudi and Gulf writers are also winning prizes at the level of the Arab world, which reflects the excellence of Gulf cultural production, expressing regret that some Arab centers have suffered economic and political disasters that have led to a decline in cultural production.
Dr. Al-Bazai points to the increase in clarity and awareness among Saudis and Gulf nationals in general of what is happening in the region as a result of media variables that did not exist in the past, and as a result of the spread of social media, where Saudi Arabia, for example, is the first user of Twitter, but he confirms that there are problems. The region still needs to do a lot.
On the other hand, the Saudi thinker – in his speech to episode (6/11/2023) of the “Interview” program – touches on his intellectual and cultural activities, and the reason for his association from childhood with foreign literature and the English language, and his influence on the late Palestinian-American thinker and critic Edward Said when he read to him a book “Orientalism”, explaining that his interest in foreign literature is in order to shed light on Western civilization and understand its roots and not only be affected by it and benefit from it.
It is noteworthy that Dr. Saad Al-Bazei’s writings vary between literature, culture, philosophy and other intellectual fields, which makes him one of the most prolific Arab writers in writing and translation.
He also talks – in the interview – about his relationship with the late Egyptian Islamic thinker Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri, and says that there were inconsistent trends between them, but they met on the issue of their reading of Western civilization and the study of the other, saying that he found in al-Masiri keys and concepts that benefited him in his study and knowledge of the other.
On the issue of knowing the other, the guest of “The Interview” program asserts that the Arab world needs knowledge of other cultures such as Asian and African culture, and knowledge of Chinese, Japanese and African literature, not only French and British literature.
In the same dialogue, the Saudi thinker and translator touches on issues raised on the Arab and international arenas, including what is known as the feminist movement, which he said was a Western movement that appeared in France and developed in America, then transformed into “femininity”, and the issue of homosexuality and homosexuality, stressing that two-thirds of the world has nothing to do with it. This issue is like Asia and Africa.