The Natural Orders

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Advertisement for Metito. Ahlan Wasahlan. Jeddah: Saudia Airlines, 1978

The movement is one of the glaring historical proofs which falsifies the concept of materialistic interpretation of history and that of the dialectics of materialism according to which economics is recognized as the cornerstone of social structure and a social movement is considered a reflection of class struggle. The materialists’ belief that all roads end with the fundamental requirement, i.e. food, does not hold water in the present context.

Tell the American People: Perspectives on the Iranian Revolution. David H. Albert. Philadelphia: Movement for a New Society, 1980

Masters of tankvessels carrying DIRTY oils, should make it a habit to always arrive at loading places with clean ballast-water, unless they are confident that ballast-water may be discharged overboard or to settling tanks ashore.

Loading Places for Oil Tankers in the World. Hans Gade. Hans Gade’s Nautical Publishing, 1953

No Political Significance


Searching For Oil…………………4
Drilling For Oil…………………….17
Production Of Oil………………..29
Loading The Tankers………….47

Crude to Carrier. Kuwait: Kuwait Oil Company, Information Dept, 1980

These maps are for the convenience of passengers and have no political significance.

Ahlan Wasahlan. Jeddah: Saudia Arabia, 1978

You survey the Middle East, and with care, here is a land you’ve loved with a special love. Here are a tempestuous, volatile, religious and even fanatical people who really don’t give a damn about how their lives come out. They really don’t. They say they do in their rather stylized prayers, but they don’t really. I think it probably boils down to the fact that they don’t have much faith in their altogether miserable lives. Backbreaking work through a twelve-hour day and home to a stinking pallet on an earthen floor and the surcease of a woman, tired and wan, who can offer nothing but her tired loins in a kind of travesty of love.

Blood, Oil, and Sand. Ray Brock. Cleveland: World Publishing, 1952

The American Desert

The King sent word that the chief officers, as well as Mr. Eddy and Mr. Angstrom, were to join him at his meal. The commodore agreed provided he was allowed to collaborate on the supper. The King and his shaikhs ate the lamb and rice cooked by his servants, but were persuaded to try apple pie topped with a double scoop of vanilla ice cream. The King vowed he had never tasted anything to equal this and wanted to know how it was made. A recipe for the American dessert was translated into Arabic, but it remained a puzzle, as the principle ingredients, apples, were unknown to them.

The Immortals. Nancy M. Freedman. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1976

The three wore beards and donned Arab dress to avoid appearing conspicuous to the townspeople, few of whom had ever seen a Westerner.

Ahlan Wasahlan. Jeddah: Saudia Airlines, 1978

Arabic personal names and place names are spelled according to a system used by Aramco, which closely follows a generally accepted system of transliteration from Arabic to English. The system does not always represent the spelling or pronunciation of the Arabic original with complete accuracy, as Arabic contains letters and sounds for which no equivalents exist in English. Furthermore, pronunciation of Arabic varies from region to region.

A Pocket Guide to the Middle East. Washington D.C: Armed Forces Information Service, Department of Defense, 1969

The relationship between states and companies was, in general, one of uneasily starched blackmail. The Arabs, for the time being, wanted Western technical help anyway; the companies, it need hardly be said, wanted the oil.

Islam Inflamed. James Morris. New York: Pantheon, 1957

Fill the Void

Bidoun magazine is a quarterly publication founded in 2004 with the intention of filling a gaping hole in the arts and culture coverage of the Middle East and its Diaspora.

Bidoun Media Kit. New York: Bidoun, 2009

The Aramco Handbook was originated to fill the void in comprehensive texts written in English about the Middle East. Employees of the Arabian American Oil Company coming to Saudi Arabia from abroad, principally Americans, needed reliable and fairly detailed knowledge of the kingdom. Nontechnical employees needed to be grounded in the fundamentals of the oil industry. Although recently a number of books on the area have been published, the handbook continues to be useful as a single source of information and background for Aramco employees.

Aramco Handbook: Oil and the Middle East. Dhahran: Aramco, 1968

In the present edition some material which is readily available elsewhere has been omitted.

Aramco Handbook: Oil and the Middle East. Dhahran: Aramco, 1968

Ted tore up the first check; he wasn’t able to get the king’s name on the line. He started again, his writing cramped and small, Abd al’ Aziz Ibn’ Abd al Rahman al Faisal al Sa’ud…

The Immortals. Nancy M. Freedman. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1976

Officially Dry

Air-conditioned trailers and helicopters have replaced the tents and camel caravans of Aramco’s early oil explorers. A few of the men who range the desert still cultivate beards, but most face the day clean shaven.

As Saudi workers grew more skilled through the company’s training programs, the number of Italians gradually declined.

The Energy Within: A Photo History of the People of Saudi Aramco. Kyle L. Pakka. Dhahran: Saudi Aramco, 2006

By the end of 1933 there were eight oilmen living in Saudi Arabia, counting Bill Lenahan, the liaison man in Jiddah. The small contingent stationed on Saudi Arabia’s eastern shore could merely nibble at the 320,000 mile concession area — and wait for word of the airplane that was promised them.

Aramco Handbook: Oil and the Middle East. Dhahran: Aramco, 1968

Ted was taken aback by the long robes and flowing headgear. He assumed they would adopt Western dress at least while in London. However, he forgot his embarrassment in the tussle which developed over the naming of the proposed company.

Ted suggested Cal-Saudi Oil. Shaikl Sulaiman was displeased that the name Saudi did not precede the other. “As in a camel train, the most noble beast goes before.”

The Immortals. Nancy M. Freedman. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1976

The Phony Arab

The Dhahran Theater Group originated in 1949 and attracted would-be thespians from across the company: engineers, drillers, pipe layers, refinery workers, secretaries and housewives participated in a wide variety of performances. The group, still active today, builds its own sets, installs lighting, paints scenery and plays its own music.

The Energy Within: A Photo History of the People of Saudi Aramco. Kyle L. Pakka. Dhahran: Saudi Aramco, 2006

If the phony Arab was having trouble, so was the camel.

Lassie and the Shabby Sheik. George Elrick. Racine: Whitman, 1968

Ted roared with laughter. It was his coronation they were talking about. Of course they got drunk, bathed in oil, danced in oil, fell down in it, sloshed around on their hands and knees unable to get to their feet while their buddies roared and were pulled down in turn. An orgy of slippery sliding Calibans, of drunken satyrs, shouting and cursing in a dozen languages. Understanding each other. At that moment oil transcended everything. They didn’t need a common language, only joy, success, and drink to know they had done this together, brought in a well the world would talk of for a hundred years.

The Immortals. Nancy M. Freedman. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1976