Posted by: Dissol on Sep 29, 2011
Tagged in: Untagged
I don't like theocracies. I don't like countries that take away basic human rights from their citizens. I don't like dictators. Therefore, I don't like the Saudi Royal family.
But the Saudi Royal family are clearly scared...they must have been watching events of the Arab Spring all around them; other dictatorships in the region being overthrown, and the public demanding their rights. There is also pressure from outside with many Human Rights organisations detailing the abuse in Saudi Arabia. They clearly felt that they had to do something, even though given the brutal regime, and the way it is enforced, it would be unlikely to see demonstrations on their streets, like Egypt or Syria.
So what did they do. Well, a Royal decree came down offering women the vote in the next election. Yes, that is right; the present regime is so outdated that they do not let females vote in their elections!! Not that the elections could really change much as the power is held by the Royal family, and no opposition to them is allowed. The family looks after itself and its members, giving themselves different leadership roles, and then the "elected" people just basically have to carry out their will. But that aside, we ought to be congratulating the Saudis for at least making a small (very, very late) move towards the modern world.
But...the downside is that this move is going to annoy the (completely male, naturally) religious zealots, who prop up the theocracy there. So the Royal family had to throw something at this group, to keep them quiet. They have decided to punish a woman for the heinous crime of.... driving her car!! And the punishment is 10 lashes with the whip.
It is horrendous that a country can treat its citizens in this way, and still be welcomed in the international community (UN, trade, etc.). When the world acted against the Apartheid system in South Africa with sanctions and the like, then that assisted in the changes. The world should be doing the same to Saudi Arabia (& other similar countries). Clearly the only reason that does not happen due to a geographical quirk, in that some of the largest oil reserves are to be found within its borders. But we should all be voicing our revulsion at the regime.
The same goes for Iran...where a man is facing the death penalty. And his crime? He became a christian, after being brought up as a muslim. There are basic Human Rights, which include freedom for & from religion. Countries cannot go around killing people because they have changed their religious views. We should be applying sanctions to both Saudi Arabia & Iran.