I started reading blogs several years ago. Mostly political blogs, but in the process I found others that I read, as well. The man responsible for prompting me to start my own blog is Alhamedi at the now-defunct Religious Policeman. His blog was, then, my absolute favorite and the very first and last place I visited every day. When Alhamedi stopped blogging I took it up in an effort to try to continue what he had started - although there is absolutely no way I can or will ever hold a candle to his blogging bravado.
Alhamedi's dedication on his blog says, "In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter." There is more on this tragic incident here, here, here, here, and here and a whole page of search options here and here.
Fingers were pointed with the blame shifting from one entity to another and back and forth. There was, it seems, plenty of "blame" to go around. Regardless, the fire claimed the lives of many young girls and injured even more.
This article appeared in yesterday's Saudi Gazette. I didn't give it a whole lot of consideration when I read it. The article says, "Principals of girls' schools in the Eastern Province have been instructed not to call the Civil Defense to voice concerns over safety violations in their schools... There are many safety loopholes in the girls' schools threatening the lives of the little pupils. This is a legal negligence on the part of the Girls' Education Department in the Eastern Province... The Civil Defense authorities have not been allowed to examine safety checklist in the girls' schools to bring them into compliance with safety regulations..." Read the six paragraph article which was on the top of page 4 in a huge big bold "screaming" headline that said, "Girls' schools warned not to contact civil defense." [I cannot scan the article in; our printer/scanner/copier is broken!]
Today, on the bottom half of page 4 in a regular headline is this article, "Fire breaks out in girls' school in EP." Golly, gee. What a coincidence! Or, am I the only one that thinks this way? "At least 250 students were safely evacuated from a private girls' school in Hinakyah after fire broke out on Saturday morning, authorities said... A short electric circuit was believed to have caused the fire. Saturday's fire marked the sixth incident in girls schools in the Eastern Province since the beginning of the new academic year two weeks ago." [What?!? The SIXTH incident!!! Emphasis, mine.]
An official with the Civil Defense Department said "the girls schools in the province have shown gross neglect for the basic safety measures, putting the lives of young students on the edge. This is a legal negligence on the part of the Girls' Education Department. The Civil Defense authorities have not been allowed to examine safety checklist in the girls' schools to bring them into compliance with safety laws." Whoa! Somebody ought to be stepping in and doing something, if you ask me. And, why is it ONLY the girls' schools that are experiencing these "fires?" No mention of any of the boys' schools being in non-compliance with safety measures and absolutely no mention whatsoever of any boys' school having so much as a wisp of smoke.
This cannot possibly be a way of saying that "someone" does not want girls receiving an eduction... I refuse to even let that thought stay in my mind! But, I cannot be the only one who is just wondering...