Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud was in town yesterday, hosting a gala event with former President Jimmy Carter on intercultural dialogue and understanding. Bin Talal has invested millions of dollars in American academic institutions, including Harvard University, to promote Middle Eastern and Muslim studies. Not a bad idea, since Americans first heard of him when former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani sharply rejected the prince’s contributions to a 9/11 memorial fund on the grounds that it was from Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers and Osama bin Laden originated. Over 10 years later, skepticism toward Saudi money still exists. “Shove it’’ is fewer than 140 characters, and that’s what some users of Twitter are saying in the wake of the prince’s $300 million investment in the site. To hear them tell it, bin Talal is aiming for global domination through control of free speech. Throw in a few hashtags, and the whole controversy creates nostalgia for Giuliani’s visceral bluntness.
Kayyem, Juliette. "Tweeting with a Pile of Saudi Money." Boston Globe, February 9, 2012.