Quicksand, Oil and Dreams
By Michael S. Ladah
The women beggars had their hair covered and faces veiled with thick black veils. I could not see their faces and I wondered whether they could see through the veils. I have always thought that it was this, the seeming absence of their faces, which gave them the boldness to beg.
When I was in high school, everyone I knew either belonged to a political faction, political party or a group of supporters of one political party or another.
The Aramco community lived in two separate and distinct camps separated by a hurricane fence. The senior staff camp housed all US expatriates and some other nationality expatriates who were allowed to live with them, mainly professional employees above a certain salary grade level.
The Olive Tree- Symbol of Peace
While it took me only a few days to realize that Aramco was big, it took me a long time to really understand how big it was and how much more complex its operation
In the late sixties, when I first joined Aramco, the major point of contention between the oil producing companies and their host countries was the posted price used to determine royalties.
Dhahran this time was different from the Dhahran which I knew in 1968. This Dhahran was bigger, with lots of activities, buzzing with employees and contractors everywhere. The three districts seemed to have more homes, some of them, like ours, built only recently.
The Islamic Revolution in Iran had a tremendous impact on life in the adjoining countries, especially in Saudi Arabia. Life in Saudi Arabia for expatriates would never be the same again. The authorities in Saudi Arabia found themselves in direct competition with the rulers of Iran. The competition was about which of the two regimes was more pious, and which cared more about Islam and its holy places.
Most people outside Aramco and outside the oil industry, do not know that the oil in Saudi Arabia rises to the surface of an oil well on its own. It is forced from underground to the surface under its own high-pressure, unassisted by any pumping.
As the scud missiles started to come our way over Dhahran, panic set in amongst the Saudi population of the Eastern Province.
Last updated November 1, 2008
© 2000 Michael S. Ladah - All Rights Reserved