Calling a spade a spade.

Boo-hoo, a Saudi prince is upset because the conviction of a woman who was gang raped is making his country look bad. If you missed the previous story, she’s been sentenced to 6 months in jail plus 200 lashes for being raped.

The girl’s fate has become an issue in the US presidential election where the candidates have lined up to denounce her treatment as “barbaric”, and Prince Saud al-Faisal was forced, much to his annoyance, to answer hostile questions about her case at the Middle East peace talks in Annapolis this week. “What is outraging about this case is that it is being used against the Saudi government and people,” he told reporters.

You want us to see your country with respect? Then stop acting like fucking medieval fools and wake up to twenty-first century morality. I’m sorry you missed the enlightenment, but get a grip. If you want the respect of the world you have to earn it by acting civilized. (The same thing goes for the US who has been rightfully losing respsect over the past 7 years.)

The Saudi Justice Ministry has launched a deliberate “campaign of defamation” against the girl, said Farida Deif, a Middle East expert with Human Rights Watch, who is among the few independent observers to have met the girl. “They are saying she is not really a victim,” Ms Deif said. “They are implying she was an adulteress. They are saying she was undressed before the attackers entered her car.”

JFC, I mean, this is such fundamentalist bullshit about blaming the victim. If this girl is a victim of anything, it’s her patriarchal-fundamentalist government. I don’t care if a woman is naked in the middle of the street doing a pole dance. That doesn’t give a man a right to rape her. I wish all of the women in these countries would rise up and stage a revolution. They need to start kicking some man-ass.

Now, seriously, what can we do to help these women on a large scale that will make positive change happen and stick? I’m at a loss and just being pissed off doesn’t cut it. It’s great if anger leads to positive action, but it’s frustrating when you can’t figure out what to do. That’s where I am right now. And it makes me sick to my stomach that the US continues to consider an ass-backward country like this to be an ally.


Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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  1. Yeah, I'm bitter too. But I think it's not without reason and justification. Still, being half Jewish, I can't really vote for any kind of genocide or mass extermination of anyone.

    It's actually quite frightening to me, because what I do see on my own pessimistic future radar is some kind of holocaust on the far end of the horizon (after I'm dead, I hope). Will it be Muslims killing Christians or vice versa? I'm not sure. I hope we can find a way to avoid something like that.

  2. Just horrendous. As is al-Faisal's complaint.

    What can be done to make positive, long-term changes for women in places like Saudi Arabia? From what little I know, increased pressure on several fronts would be a start: economic, political and so on. Alas, political pressure from the US is difficult to sustain under the most favorable circumstances, let alone for such an issue as women's rights.

    Increased resources for women to educate themselves (and the encouragement to do so) has been shown to be effective as well. This improves not only their options but those of their children.

    Again, effective, lasting change will take time; that's its nature. But as the world becomes increasingly connected and transparent, we are all going to see things we rather wouldn't.

  3. Increased resources for women to educate themselves (and the encouragement to do so) has been shown to be effective as well. This improves not only their options but those of their children.

    And how does one get these materials into the women's hands? (Serious question.)

    Seeing things we don't like is better than blissful ignorance.

  4. Well, DD, I'm completely Jewish, and an atheist. But even I recognize that a malignant tumor must be excised before metastasis.

    I recognize, of course, that it would never end. Humans are just "that way," I suppose. But if the superstitious want to start a war on civillisation, I wouldn't shy away from obliging them. So longs as we fight to WIN.

    The more I see of this sort of nonsense, the less of an exaggeration it seems to say that religion, or any type of irrational thought, really, is a direct threat to humanity's future. The problem is that, by definition, one can't REASON with them.

    What to do? What to do?

  5. Help them escape?

    Would it be feasible or even possible to offer women asylum in the US if their human rights are systematically denied in their own countries? Could we inform them of the process? Could we streamline the process so that they wouldn't have to wait at home for a couple of years while their case is considered? Understanding that education is one of the things they are being denied and that the we don't treat the uneducated very well, what would they do when they get to the US?

    Lots of questions. Lots of guesses. Few answers.

  6. That section of the world seems to see themselves as the NBA Superstars of the geo-political world. And as such A: Their shit don't stink, and B: Anything the do is permissible. (And yes I realize that B is a subset of A) My point is that they are given license by Western Civilization because WC has convinced itself that It can't survive without their oil. Both sides of this equation have bought into this nonsense.

    To take the NBA (or insert your own overvalued sports franchise) metaphor further; "If we have to play by "Your" rules, we'll take our ball and go home."

    The irony of this scenario is that this section of the world is not nearly as important to WC as we perceive.

    But as long as we are willing to turn a blind eye to them, they will continue.

    I know I'm ranting, but I'm pissed off!

  7. The answer to "If we have to play by 'Your' rules, we’ll take our ball and go home.” should be "Fuck you. See if I care."

  8. Well, I WAS going to suggest carpet-bombing, but I thought that might be construed as "provocative."

    Oh, wait. I DID suggest extermination, didn't I?

    Damn, I'm bitter.

  9. According to the BBC–

    Britain said the incident was an 'innocent misunderstanding'

    A British teacher has been found guilty in Sudan of insulting religion after she allowed her primary school class to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

    Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, has been sentenced to 15 days in prison and will then be deported.

    She had been accused on three counts of insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.

    The Foreign Office said it was extremely disappointed by the verdict. Her lawyer says she will now appeal.

    The Sudanese ambassador is being called back to the Foreign Office to explain the decision.

    Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was also "extremely disappointed" the charges had not been dismissed and repeated his view that it had been an "innocent misunderstanding by a dedicated teacher".

    "Our priority now is to ensure Ms Gibbons' welfare, and we will continue to provide consular assistance to her," he said.

    "I have called in the Sudanese ambassador this evening to explain the decision and to discuss next steps."

    Officials at the Foreign Office say the mood has changed as a result of the verdict.

    The prime minister, Sudanese embassy officials in London and UK Muslim organisations all expressed the hope that Mrs Gibbons would be released.

    But Sudan's top clerics had called for the full measure of the law to be used against Mrs Gibbons and labelled her actions part of a Western plot against Islam.

    She could have faced up to 40 lashes.

    In September, Mrs Gibbons allowed her class of primary school pupils to name the teddy bear Muhammad as part of a study of animals and their habitats.

    The court heard that she was arrested on Sunday after another member of staff at Unity High School complained to the Ministry of Education.

    The school's director Robert Boulos told the AP news agency: "It's a very fair verdict, she could have had six months and lashes and a fine, and she only got 15 days and deportation."

    He said Mrs Gibbons would only serve another 10 days in prison having already spent five in custody since her arrest.

    Prosecutor general Salah Eddin Abu Zaid had said Mrs Gibbons could expect a "swift and fair trial".

    But Catherine Wolthuizen, chief executive of Fair Trials International, said Mrs Gibbons' treatment was excessive.

    She said: "It was a very speedy justice process. Although she has been found guilty of all the counts of causing offence, she has thankfully not been subjected to 40 lashes.

    "Having said this, 15 days in a Sudanese prison for an innocent misunderstanding is a serious and harsh punishment indeed."

    Story from BBC NEWS:

  10. On the other hand, I myself am waiting to hear about the Wahabi Lynch Mob to storm the prison and defend the honour of the prophet.

    Ignorant savages.

  11. Well, it takes a while to change their attitude toward women, as such an attitude is deeply indoctrinated by their culture. (the fast solution is not a real option, since that would be extermination /as mentioned by some commenters/). You should not underestimate the cultural impact of american movies, ridiculous pop-stars…. Of course it takes pretty much time to have an effect, btw any attempt of censorship shows the fear of fundamentalists of such an effect. So what should be done is to promote internet access in such countries and to provide support for bypassing/hacking the local filters. Leave the rest to torrent.

  12. And how many must suffer amd die at the hands of the Fanatic while we wait for our culture to overwhelm theirs?

    Yes, extermination is a vile exaggeration born of anger and exasperation, and good deal of disgust. But what can we actually DO?

  13. Exactly what I was thinking, RW. Sigh. I think we missed our chance to do something very positive and different after 9/11. An opportunity squandered.

  14. Maybe someone could go ass-rape Prince Saud al-Faisal then give him 20 lashes for dressing too provocatively. Maybe that would provide the necessary epiphany.

    But as for an actual suggestion, I'm as frustrated and idea-less as you all.

    I also wonder. If Hillary Clinton wins the election, how will the prince relate to this female?

  15. The school’s director Robert Boulos told the AP news agency: “It’s a very fair verdict, she could have had six months and lashes and a fine, and she only got 15 days and deportation.”

    Just how fuckin' skewed is that for a perspective?

    Yeah sorry, we slashed your tires for illegal parking. But praise yourself lucky, we could've compacted your car instead.

  16. From the Telegraph. What did I f*cking tell you?

    Crowds demand Teddy bear teacher is shot

    By Nick Britten

    Last Updated: 2:08pm GMT 30/11/2007

    Thousands of people wielding clubs and knives marched through Khartoum after Friday prayers denouncing what they termed the lenient sentencing of a British teacher for insulting Islam and calling for her to be shot.

    Sheikh Abdul Jalil Karuri, a leading cleric, whipped up a crowd attending the city's Martyr's Mosque by telling them Gillian Gibbons had deliberately named her class's teddy bear Mohammed "with the intention of insulting Islam."

    Knife-wielding crowds protest in Khartoum

    Later the protestors joined other worshippers to congregate in Martyrs Square, in the centre of the capital, where they chanted "Shame, shame on the UK".

    "Those who insult the Prophet of Islam should be punished with bullets," the crowd shouted after Gibbons, 54, was jailed for 15 days on charges stemming from naming a teddy bear Mohammed.

    Authorities in Britain and Sudan refused to reveal where Mrs Gibbons, jailed for 15 days yesterday for insulting religion and inciting hatred, was serving her sentence for fear of rioting there.

    Extra police were on duty and, mindful of last year's violent demonstrations following the publication of caricatures of Prophet Mohammed in Denmark, keen to prevent similar scenes.

    An embassy spokesman said: "The consul and the deputy ambassador visited her this morning and she was fine. She's in good spirits and she's not being mistreated or anything like that."

    David Miliband, who summoned the Sudan ambassador, Omer Siddig, to Whitehall last night to demand an explanation of the sentence, also spoke to the Sudanese Foreign Minister to express "in the strongest terms" his dismay that Mrs Gibbons had been convicted and jailed.

    Mrs Gibbons asked pupils to name the toy

    A Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday they were continuing to do all they could to ensure she was freed as soon as possible.

    Her son, John, from Liverpool, has not yet been allowed to telephone her but was hoping to fly out to Sudan to visit her as soon as a visa could be arranged.

    He stress that British people angered by his mother's jail sentence should not turn against Muslims.

    "I don't not want this to lead to any anti-Muslims feeling in this country.

    "Everyone has been very nice, we have had a lot of support from Muslims in Britain, in Sudan and across the world.

    "My fear, and one of my mother's fears, is that this will result in resentment towards Muslim people. "That is something I really hope does not happen and I am sure my mum feels the same way."

  17. Ah– And NOW the Telegraph and the Guardian report that the teacher has been secretly moved in order to protect her from the mobs.

  18. Yeah, that’ll do a lot of good. How many of the police and prison guards do you think are members of the same mosques that are demanding her head? If it’s even one her wherebouts will be known in short order.

    Sudan, yet another place to strike off my list as being populated by sane and decent peoples. Yes, I realize much of Sudan’s population – probably most even- don;t want here head… but they sure haven’t stood up to say so out loud now have they? Complicity through silence is still complicity.

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