Don't You Dare Smile!

"Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws."
— Douglas Adams

King Abdulaziz University Hospital (KAUH) is a teaching hospital. Periodic meetings are held by the hospital director and faculty members; nothing out of the ordinary here.

In a recent meeting, “Donate A Smile For KAUH” video was criticized. As a student, I wasn’t included in the meeting but bad news travel fast. A number of faculty members consider our video a form of “mujahara bil ma39iya” (boasting of sinful acts. which is punishable in this country), and are calling for it’s removal off YouTube.

Though the majority of faculty and students agree that the video succeeded in achieving it’s purpose (which is making people smile), some believe that it speaks of our decadent selves. I still don’t understand how us making a video about smiling would lead certain individuals to label us as morally degraded.

A technical note, if I may:
- Permission from KAUH director and Dean of Medicine were taken before the shooting started.
- All individuals appearing in the video signed a consent form.
- All shooting was done within hospital boundaries.

Do you think our video is offensive to you as a Saudi/Muslim/KAUH inhabitant? If so, please explain the manner in which you find it offensive.

Do you believe the video should be removed?

Any suggestions?

Original Post [Click Here]

P.S. Don't forget to watch Kalam Nawa3em on MBC, March 28th at 11pm. They're showing a piece on Donate A Smile For KAUH! and if you miss it, watch it online, it's episode number 321.


  1. Congratulation KAUH, that's a new low.

    You got all the legal stuff sorted out. Can they really FORCE you to remove it?

  2. Duha: they can be asses to us until we remove it. they've already been guilting the doctors who participated in it, as in: how could you allow such a thing, let alone appear in it...

  3. Asmaa ... before saying hi or anything just let me start by saying “what!!! wh ... I mean ... how!!!!!????)

    How come a smiling campaign is “mujahara bil ma39iya.” Please do not tell me that smiling is ‘ma39iya,’ last time I checked it was even encouraged in Islam!!!

    Let me tell you Asmaa, you, and the whole group behind the project, did not only succeed in putting a smile on the faces within KAUH boundaries, we’ve all shared that smile with you. And I do not think anybody can take such success out from you all.


  4. I met an intern from ur university and asked him about the clip .. he saied "malyan mozaz" ppl dont seem to see the smiles :/

  5. First of all, many Muslims have told me that giving the gift of a smile to others is an important part of Islam.

    Second NEVER underestimate the jealousy of others who would seem to be far higher placed than to be concerned at all of the success of someone else's project no matter how worthwhile or not, or significant or not, even if the successful are very low on the academic ladder. That goes double for Faculties of Medicine.

    Third, NEVER underestimate how INFERNAL they can make your life if they choose too, all done sufficiently passive aggressively and without proof, so that they have their own Glutei Maxima covered.

    You did everything right and were successful, and now you need to stick together and smooth this over.

    Do I sound like I speak from experience? Have I told you the one about the internationally famous professor who was so determined to head a tiny little underfunded but successful program on his campus that he destroyed it in the attempt, and along one way forced one Director to quit in an overly hasty manner and manipulated a young student into false allegations of sexual harassment against another (in North America this is a career ender)? The uni paid thousands of dollars in legal fees for both professors in what was one older man's unwillingness to let even the tiniest fiefdom free from his control. Others were bruised in the process, and students lost an excellent learning opportunity.

    I spare you the false allegations of psychiatric illness (very easy to make up and stressed enough everyone looks psychiatric issues), incompetence etc.

    Read about what was done to Dr Nancy Olivieri (google her name) for years, by a jealous colleague protecting his research even though it was harming children. It is international bioethics news.

    So, the not soapbox version is, CYA, get support from your friends and trusted mentors, and smooth this over, until you are in a stronger position, ie out of there. Remember that you have done nothing wrong even though they are projecting this (in the psychological sense) onto you. Have your psychological defenses up! :)

  6. PS (sorry) Don't remove it unless you absolutely have to, ie med school graduation riding on it or consensus of your supporters.

  7. Possible explanations:
    1. They have told their wives that they work in a segregated hospital where women (if any are either ugly or covered from head to toe) and now you’ve exposed their lie!

    2.They got uncomfortable, no one asked them to give their opinion and it did not have to go through a bunch of bureaucratic steps… how dare u?

    3. Everyone is going to see you guys smiling like fools (in their minds) and think you do not know anything, scholars and MDs should be serious and thinking about the problems of the world all the time… or bloated and constipated… LOL

    4. Everyone is going to see you guys smiling and come to this hospital and increase the already overloaded hospital/workers/Drs/rooms/etc

    I thought the video was nice, as I said in my comment on the original post, but I still do not want/would not want to go there… and I find the smile song not to my liking, but not enough to make up stuff so they (or U) would remove it.

    May you all come out unscathed from this whole fiasco.

  8. PPS--because I really love the song i have been playing it and just watched the video all the way through again (I've done so many times) and it struck me much the way it did the first time, ie that this a fabulous modern, bright, spotless, well equiped hospital where the staff and hospital workers get on well, and wear the med students are happy and dedicated with wise and humane, compassionate professors/clinician teachers. I don't think your detractors realize what a great representation of medicine in Saudi, at your hospital, and at your med school this video is. Especially for those of us who haven't seen the inside of a Saudi hospital--yet. I was initially expecting proper standards, but not the esthetic and the ambiance. Even though it is by definition unusually smiley in the video, still people were willing to go a long with this student is really a credit rather than a detriment to the KAU hospital image.

  9. it sucks that they are doing this, but i'm sure the music, coupled with the pictures of girls being publicly displayed got them all stirred up.. no surprise there..

    not to be the devil's advocate, but i agree with Chiara, you shouldn't remove it, unless someone from the video complains..

    or else, you can always remove it from youtube and place it on Vimeo, they will never find it there..

  10. Saad: if i ever find out what or how, i'll make sure to let u know! and thanx!

    Mishref: can't help it if my friends are hot ;) but yeah, i get your point. this is all they see when they look at the video.

    Chiara: indeed, cant estimate how infernal they can make our lives. we're only going to take it off if we get in real trouble. so far it's just verbal bullying. AND a <3 for your tremendous support

    Q: i applaud your effort at actually trying to find reasons! just pray for the best. And about the song, i gave Ibrahim free reign, though I wanted us to play "Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles"

    Feras: It does suck =_= and we got so many views! we dont want to change the link, people have been linking it and we want it to remain stable, u know? though Vimeo is not a bad idea at all xD

  11. Souma--I see the video is now private. Can you email it to me? Thanks.


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