Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saudi Arabia

I have never visited Saudi Arabia, and I imagine that I never will, because I will probably never be allowed in, after publishing what I am about to write (the Saudi monarchy does not like criticism, especially from Brits - click here). But here goes anyway.

Like most of the countries of the Arab-Moslem world, Saudi Arabia only pretends to live in the 21st century, and is only able to get away with it because it has oil in truly vast quantities, which the world needs, and which therefore gives Saudi Arabia power to do much as it pleases. Unlike any other country in the Arab-Moslem world, Saudi Arabia also contains the Ka’aba, the Black Rock of Mecca, which is the central superstition of the faith, and which likewise gives Saudi Arabia the power to do much as it pleases and get away with it. The "it" in question, of course, is not the nation of Saudi Arabia, but only its royal family; and not all of its royal family either, but only the men.

In reality, Saudi Arabia still inhabits the epoch of mediaeval barbarism that it did when Muhammad established Islam. It is a monarchy of the absolutist kind – the Al Saud family came to power in the 18th century and have passed authority on dynastically ever since. They rule with an iron fist, applying the Wahabi version of Sharia law strictly. There is no opposition – political parties are banned - a foolishness which led to the creation of al-Qaida, which led to the creation of the Islamic State, which led to the mess the world is in right now. Non-Wahabis are second class citizens, which includes a very large Shi'a minority. Most oppressed of all are women, who are obliged to dress in public totally covered, except the eyes, who are not permitted to drive cars, and who are beginning to test the waters of protest.

The latest scandal was reported in the Washington Post on August 26, 2014 – read it here. In brief, there is a lawyer named Waleed Abulkhair who founded the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia; the authorities have refused to register the group, and Mr Abulkhair has now been sentenced to fifteen years in prison, followed by fifteen years in internal exile, plus a fine, under the country’s counter-terrorism laws. Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia signed up to the International Convention against Torture in October 1997, Mr Abulkhair has been subjected to a number of indignities, including the refusal of his diabetes medicine, lengthy periods of solitary confinement, and other old-fashioned methods of torture.

As a further measure of Saudi Arabia’s power and importance, it may also be interesting to note that Saudi Arabia has the longest entry, by far, in the CIA’s World FactBook, and it is worth reading as an exemplar of literary generosity of the highest order.

In the name of al-Lah, and of His Prophet, bismillah irrahman irraheem, in the name of the Compassionate and the Merciful.

Marks For and Marks Against: Should that be Lashes For and Lashes Against. Way too many. Way too many!

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

No comments:

Post a Comment