24 Mar 2013
Saudi Arabia Announces Historic Decision to Ban Everything
The announcement was made early on Sunday morning by a Saudi official in a press conference, expected to be the last of its kind because press briefings will automatically be banned when the ban takes effect. Sheikh Jassem Ahmad Al-Manea, a high-ranking official in the Saudi Ministry of General Regulation and the Promotion of Abstinence, presented the historic ban to members of the local and foreign press.
“This ban is a breakthrough for us after we realised that our piecemeal approach was misleading. Members of the public assumed that if something wasn’t explicitly banned, then it was permissible. We had to stop this confusion and make life easier for everyone, removing the shadow of uncertainty from our citizens’ minds’.”
He added that his department expected psychological disorders and suicide rates to drop significantly after the ‘mega-ban’ was put into effect, “because stress and anxiety levels will drop significantly once uncertainty was abolished.” A national programme for monitoring well-being and happiness will be introduced in parallel, although it wasn’t clear how it would operate because surveys and questionnaires will also be banned.
Al-Manea explained that the ban isn’t a law in the conventional sense of the term, ‘because that will be against the spirit of freedom’, but a ‘general principle’. He explained that there will naturally be exceptions, but he didn’t expect more than a handful of them, ‘the absolute minimum to guarantee the orderly functioning of society’.
“For decades we spent thousands of hours every year coming up with new things to ban. This has proved tiresome, futile and counterproductive. We will now establish a department for licensing permissible activities, enabling us to address these issues more efficiently. It is also a giant step forward in social liberties, because from now Saudi Arabia won’t have to ban anything, ever again.”
There was an awkward silence after Al-Manea concluded his presentation because the journalists present weren’t sure if questions were still allowed, including questions about whether questions are still allowed. Thankfully after 15 minutes of agonising silence, the official press team understood what was happening and Al-Manea announced that there would be a one-time exception.
Responding to several similar questions about things like eating ice cream, using social media and wearing off-white robes, Al-Manea repeated the catchphrase: “if you’re not sure, don’t do it.” According to him the new slogan will be displayed on large billboards to remind the public of this crucial principle.
It later emerged that the European Union had held an emergency meeting to discuss the Saudi ‘mega-ban’ and its implications. The meeting was stormy, and several European leaders were furious. “We employ thousands of bureaucrats, why hasn’t one of them come up with an idea of such elegance and minimalism?” “We have been beaten at our own game by the Saudis, and they are far behind us in terms of social policy.” Those and other similar sentiments were being shouted across the meeting hall, as the meeting descended into chaos. The EU later issued a statement conceding a ‘moral loss’ but promising to learn from Saudi Arabia’s innovative approach.
Just before publication, it was announced that the Mayor of New York Mike Bloomberg has converted to Islam and is interested in moving to Saudi Arabia. He didn’t reveal why, but take a wild guess.