Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Disturbing News from Our Arab Neighbours

Recently we read some shocking things happening to women in Saudi Arabia in this article. The article is titled "Why Do They Hate Us?" Indeed, as somebody who worked in the country for a year, much of this was surreptitiously visible to us. We had heard of female circumcision (genital mutilation) which had no purpose except to supposedly curb the libido of women, we had heard the funny rule that women shouldn't travel in public without burqa (hijab) and without a close member of the family: husband, brother or son. Anyone found breaking the rule would be flogged by the Muttawah (religious police, a police whose word on religious matters is discretionary. A Muttawah can order a flogging or caning on the spot and you are left without any alternative but to obey).

A widely-reported incident had a woman sentenced to flogging because she got into a car with strangers. She was gang-raped by the men subsequently, and obviously, the real culprits were set free on the pretext that she invited (supposedly incited) them to the crime. Rape in such countries are punishable only if there are eye witnesses who will testify, which in this case wasn't be possible. Who among the perpetrators will testify to their own crime? Can they? Will they? 

Women have been promised suffrage from 2015, which seems to be a big liberal give away. However, their say in matters of governing is nil. Much of the Arab world is similarly mired in fundamental religiosity and misogyny. Why this consideration of half of humanity as a different species to be used for sex and not given any rights at all? Why?  

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