Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Little Perspective

The House of Saud

The House of Saud donates to the tsunami victims' fund:

"On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia pledged a $10 million aid package to the victims of the disaster. Under the program, $5 million worth of supplies including food, tents and medicines will be airlifted and distributed through the Saudi Red Crescent to the four countries during the course of this week. Officials from the Ministries of Finance, Health, Information and the Saudi Red Crescent will accompany the cargo to the four destinations."

The House of Saud goes on its annual vacation:

"King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al Saud flew to Malaga airport yesterday in his private 747 jet accompanied by three aircraft, one of them kitted out as a hospital."

"He is attended by hundreds of courtiers, relatives and hangers-on, all dependent on his favour for their political power and ostentatious wealth."

"He was gently lowered from the 747 in a lift, settled in a wheelchair and fussed over by some of his 350 attendants, who manoeuvred him into his armour-plated Mercedes with hydraulic seats and tinted windows, which had been transported on one of the planes."

"A caravan of 50 black Mercedes cars, several buses, lorries laden with equipment and a mobile intensive care unit made its way through cleared streets to his Mar Mar palace, a gleaming replica of the United States White House, which nestles in wooded hills along Marbella's golden mile."

"The procession was accompanied by Spanish police vehicles, a helicopter and forces of the King's personal guard, many of whom had arrived several days earlier to check the efficiency of the palace's security measures."

"The 234ft royal yacht, the Al Diriyah, is docked at Marbella's glitzy Puerto Banus marina."

"When King Fahd last summered in Marbella in 1999, he and his vast retinue spent apx. $126 million. Hoteliers, restaurateurs, jewellers and florists are waiting expectantly after estimates that the royal party will this time spend up to $8.5 million a day. A local florist is to supply $2,100 of fresh flowers to the palace daily during the royal visit."

" Five hundred mobile phones have been ordered, the palace will receive 50 specially ordered cakes a day and a direct line of credit has been set up with the nearest branch of a leading department store, which is to remain open round the clock to satisfy instantly every royal whim."

"The rest of the King's support network, expected to swell to 3,000 with those flying from Geneva and Ryadh in coming days, will be housed in luxury mansions near by, plus hundreds of rooms and suites in hotels in Marbella, Estepona and Fuengirola. A plane will fly in weekly from Ryadh bringing the King water from Mecca, dates, lamb, rice and spices."