‘We are at the Bottom’

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Kevin Sullivan reports on poverty in Saudi Arabia:

Under King Abdullah, the Saudi government has spent billions to help the growing numbers of poor people, estimated to be as much as a quarter of the native Saudi population.

But critics complain that those programs are inadequate, and that some royals seem more concerned with their wealth and the country’s image than with helping the needy. Last year, for example, three young Saudi video bloggers were arrested and jailed for two weeks after they produced an online video about poverty in Saudi Arabia.

“The state hides the poor very well,” said Rosie Bsheer, a Saudi scholar who has written extensively on development and poverty. “The elite don’t see the suffering of the poor. People are hungry.”

Photographer Linda Davidson has some good photos illustrating the story.

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