On September 1, 2009, Sisyphean Tasks, LLC will release the romantic adventure story Black American (Amreekie Aswad) in the Desert Kingdom. Author Sumanth has written a novel based on his experiences in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the decade prior to the first Gulf War when the Saudi’s were at the height of their modernization program.
Sumanth was among the small number of Black Americans recruited to work in Saudi Arabia in those days. Their experiences in the Kingdom were uniquely different from those of other Americans as they got to observe first hand what it was like to live and work in a society that had recently ended Black slavery.
Little is known about the Black Saudi community outside of Arabia, but Black Saudis have followed our struggle for civil rights here in America very closely. Black American in the Desert Kingdom provides an intriguing glimpse into this little known community.
Here in the United States we continue to struggle with Affirmative Action and welfare policies and it seems the ongoing debate over reparations will never be resolved. Black Saudis, on the other hand, have benefited from innovative programs that have proven far more successful than anything that has been tried in America. Remarkably, the Saudis have accomplished a great deal for their citizens and have done so without polarizing the country’s ethnic groups. Interestingly, during the CNN broadcast in July of 2008 of the program ‘Black American — Reclaiming the Dream’, one influential Black American panelist proposed a remedy to certain social issues in our country that is very close to something that has been practiced successfully in Saudi Arabia. From Sumanth’s perspective, this was proof that some of us are beginning to think in ways that could lead to real success for the Black American community.
Whether any of the programs used in Saudi Arabia would work in the United States is a matter of speculation and likely much debate, but the author of Black American (Amreekie Aswad) in the Desert Kingdom believes his story should promote healthy dialogue in the Black American community and hopes it will prod Black leaders to take a closer look at another former slave holding state to see how it has dealt with some of the social issues that have been spawned by the legacy of enslavement. As the world shrinks and communities draw closer, Black communities around the world will ultimately be interacting more.
Black Saudis definitely know us better than we know them, but their phenomenal success could provide the key to resolving many of the problems that still plague the Black American community.