Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh My - A Lot Going on in The Sandbox

This post has turned out to be much lengthier than I originally thought it was going to be. It needs "sub-titles."


The 11-year old girl whose own father married her to a pedophile 75-year-old man in exchange for him being able to marry that man's 16-year old daughter has been granted a divorce. I posted the story a while ago. Recall that Shaikha, the 16-year-old - who is married to Abeer's 70-year-old father - celebrated the joyous occasion by trying to commit suicide by drinking bleach. The court is scheduled to deal with her marriage on Tuesday. I find it interesting that even though only first names of the girls are are used in the article and it would be difficult for them to be identified, that there is no mention of the two pedophiles old men's names. Wouldn't want the rest of the world to know who they are now, would we? In my opinion, it is all about shame. No one wants to shame anyone - that is unacceptable behavior. But, marrying an 11-year-old girl when you are 75 - almost seven times older than her - is perfectly fine, acceptable behavior, though. The culture in The Sandbox is still very much "honor orientated" and no one wants to create waves by "shaming" anyone. More on that at the very bottom of this post.


Ho hum. We have another case of maid abuse. Actually it is pretty severe and certainly nothing to make light of. The maid has lost most, if not all, of her vision as a result of being abused. She is in the hospital. The article says, "An Indonesian made was left with impaired vision after her current Saudi employer's wife allegedly gouged her eyes in the worst case ever of physical abuse reported with the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah... It is not clear yet why the sponsor's wife did it." Does it really matter why she did it? What matters is that she DID it. Why isn't she sitting in a jail cell somewhere?!? Why aren't authorities doing something about the problem of the abuse domestic help suffers and endures. Oh sure. It is "talked about." The stories are in the newspapers and on the Internet for all to read. But nothing is ever done. I know. I know. I'm jumping to the gun on this. The sponsor's wife probably didn't do anything [the "innocent until proven guilty" mantra doesn't much apply in The Sandbox where justice tends to be "swift and to the point"]. If the case is investigated, we will probably learn that the maid's eyes weren't gouged out by her sponsor's wife, but instead that she ran into a broom - or poked herself in both eyes while washing silverware - or something. Um-hmmm. Sure she did. The Indonesian maid, who is the mother of one child, "has been hospitalized and is recovering." Didi Wahyudi, Minister Consular for Indonesain Citizens in Saudi Arabia says, "According to medical reports, the housemaid has received irreparable damage to her eyesight." The Indonesian Consulate Office has lodged a legal lawsuit against the housemaid's sponsor. I think we all know what the outcome of the legal lawsuit will be. The article, says, "Reminiscent of the pre-Islamic traditions of slavery... the original Saudi employer in Madina handed over the housemaid to one of his relatives as a gift." WHAT!?! "The real culprit [and who, pray tell, exactly, might that be??!] was identified and through legal proceedings, a combination of jail term and compensation of 100,000SR is being demanded for the victim." $26,809.65. Unf'ngbelievable. It is worth noting that in the past week or so there have been a couple of newspaper articles about "slavery" and "human trafficing" in The Sandbox. They are here, and here. I'm sure I could find a couple of more if I did a more diligent search - which I know I've seen - but can't put my fingers on right now. Admittedly I haven't read the articles, but I think I can summarize: There is no slavery and/or very limited human trafficing taking place in The Sandbox, contrary to reports in the newspaper.


Another "ho hum" matter, here. "A DNA test has proved that the child born to an Indonesian maid who claimed she was raped is that of her alleged 18-year-old Saudi attacker. The 25-year-old maid alleged that the youth, who was 17 at the time, raped her in early 2007, a claim that was previously rejected by the family AND the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution (BIP) in Riyadh." [Emphasis, mine.] A lawyer representing the Indonesian Embassy, Nasser Al-Dandani, "now hopes the case would be reopened." A letter to the Human Rights Commission has been sent, "which helped to prove the child's parenthood... we are now waiting for the final verdict after we proved that the child is the youth's son." We'll be waiting for the verdict, too. And, knowing other details of the maid's story, we can ascertain that she is going to be held responsible for her own actions. Her "ordeal began when she ran away from her abusive sponsor and sought shelter at the Office for Maid's Affairs with the help of a taxi driver. At the door of the shelter she was met by the 17-year-old youth's family who convinced her to come and work for them." Big mistake. See? This is why it is going to be her fault. She ran away from her "abusive" employer straight into the hands of a rapist. Somewhere along the way, the rapist was detained "for a few days for questioning. The youth denied the accusations and was subsequently released." Of course he was. The case was closed by the BIP due to "lack of evidence." Naturally. "Arab News reported in August that the maid, who was six months pregnant at the time, wanted to establish the fatherhood of her unborn child before returning to her home country. She is now at the Indonesian Embassy with her baby." Like I said, "ho hum." Nothing to see here, folks. Let's move along...


I did a post yesterday about the five men who were putting on stethoscopes and white doctor's coats to sneak into hospitals to "examine" women." The five men were given minimal jail sentences and fines and told not to do that again. This is just not logical and it makes no sense: A cleaner has been sentenced to jail for two months and is going to be given 50 lashes for "peeking" at women in a hospital. How is it that the five men who were actually, physically groping women are getting away virtually scot free - oh, sure, they're getting some jail time - but they aren't getting lashes. Yet, a cleaner who likely was just doing his job when he happened upon some woman in the state of undress is getting lashed and jail time? Hello? Can anyone explain the discrepancy to me?? Yesterday, I said, "
If I had to guess why, I'd say... Never mind. Let's not go there." I think we can all come to the same conclusion as to why the two - similar - crimes are being treated differently - even though, in my opinion, what the five men did was exponentially much worse than what the cleaner did.


Who could have guessed that stealing a couple of sheep to feed your hungry family would be treated as a much more serious crime than impersonating a doctor and groping women in a hospital? Apparently it is. The punishment is much, much more severe. That's for sure. "One of the two men... sentenced to three years in prison and 2,000 lashes each for stealing two sheep blamed need and ignorance behind the criminal act. ...with tears running down his cheeks, said he regrets both the criminal act and the verdict... which he did not expect, describing it as 'harsh to the gravity of the crime.'" Who can argue with that? Grope a woman in a hospital - do a short prison visit and pay a fine. Steal a couple of sheep - go to prison for several years and receive 2,000 lashes. [It is noteworthy that the young man and his brother have both been named in the article. The five men who impersonated doctor's and groped women? Nope. Their identity is being kept a secret. [It is all about shame. See the bottom of this post.] Moving on... The sheep-thief is appealing the verdict and said, "I did not expect that I would be sentenced to two years in prison and 2,000 lashes for the theft of two sheep which I and my friend, now my inmate, sold for 700SR to cater to the urgent needs of my family." Apparently the sheep owner has pardoned the two young men. No matter. The verdict stands. The young sheep-thief was "detained in prison for a whole year before the verdict was pronounced." The brother will appeal his case as soon as he is able to come up with the money to do so. Defending him, he said, "his brother did not realize the criminatlity of his act because of his poor education and young age. We hear about crimes bigger than my brother's with lighter sentences." Yeah. We sure do! [You know, crimes like groping women.] The article states, "The verdict was issued after the court verified that the two defendants were not found involved in any other criminal case. Despite this punishment, the prosecution had demanded amputation of their hands..." Well okay, then. In that vein, wouldn't that mean that the five men who were groping women should have had their hands penis amputated? Hmmph.


According to the report, which, by the way, is for only one city in The Sandbox, and not the entire country, in 2008 the average death toll due to road carnage was "1 person almost every day." There were "90,377 accidents." Do the math. That is 247 1/2 accidents PER DAY in Jeddah, alone. Well, my goodness. No wonder the traffic police are not patrolling traffic and issuing citations to violators. They are far too busy investigating accidents! Of course, if violator's were actually issued citations that would stick in court and then heavily fined or jailed, there would be fewer accidents. I know. I know. That is rational thinking - logical, even - and this is a "LFZ."* There were "333 deaths" and "2,572 injuries" as a result of the "90,377 accidents." Supposedly there were "2,182,497 traffic violations" for "using the mobile phone while driving, littering, and jumping red lights." Not one for speeding or improper overtaking. Not a single one. Surprised? I'm not. Oh, and I'm calling BS on the violations. I'm not actually saying that those violations weren't reported - but since I have yet to see a single driver be pulled over for any of those violations on this part of the country, I find it quite difficult to believe that that many drivers on the other side of the country were issued violations. The report also asks, "Who are these drivers?" and answers that they "are mostly 18-30 year-olds." No. You don't say...


Almost comical. There is a lengthy article in one of today's English newspaper, "When jealousy wrecks marriages," that reports on several situations of women who are accusing their husband's of being jealous. What I find comical about it is the fact that it is okay for a man to have up to four wives - and the wives are not supposed to be jealous - but the same does not hold true for the wife who is not allowed to even look at another man, let alone have another husband. It is not worth disseminating the article paragraph by paragraph, and made-up story after made-up story. The double-standard is astounding.

Yeah. Plenty for one day, I'd say.

No. Wait. Just a couple more things...

About the 11-year-old who is identified albeit by first name only, and that the 75-year-old man she was forced to marry was not identified at all - because of the "shame" factor, I wanted to specifically quote Sandra MacKey from her book, "The Saudi's: Inside the Desert Kingdom," but when I went to find the exact paragraph I wasn't able to find it. I will find it - I will post it. Look for a future post on just this - Sandra's book - in the near future. If you are so inclined to read a book about Saudi Arabia and are going to read only one, this would be one I would highly recommend. Yes, there are certainly others that are a little less dated and more current insofar as politics from this part of the world play a part in politics in the rest of the world, but all-in-all, Sandra MacKey wrote a very, very good book.

And, finally - I have a little * in this post where I wrote about the road carnage statistics in Jeddah next to "LFZ," which I use to denote "Logic Free Zone."


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