Sunday, November 29, 2009

Things I Need to Must Comment On

There is a column in one of our daily papers called "Blogosphere - Voices from the Internet." Last week one of the "regulars" who happens to be a "local" [kind of sort of - she is an American woman married to a Saudi] was given the opportunity to have her two cents about "Grocery Shopping" published. I won't link to her because she and I share such completely differing opinions on things, here, in the Sandbox. I'm sure she is a very nice lady and all, but... and there is a good chance that there are a good many who visit my blog that probably read her blog for "fair and balanced" viewpoints. Google her and you'll find her. Anyway, her little blurb said that doing food shopping is unlike doing food shopping in other parts of the world [i.e., the States]. She hasn't written anything about food shopping that I've not addressed but for this: She says that in Saudi Arabia you should count your grocery bags because occasionally a bagger will try to keep one for himself. I have been shopping here for seven years and NEVER ONCE has this happened to me in a grocery store off our compound. Not a single time at Tamimi or Panda or Farm 5. Never. It kind of tee'd me off that she was given several inches of newspaper space to even say that. She basically accuses the baggers of stealing. There is no other way to say what she said. She called them thieves. Which isn't to say that something like that has never happened. I'm just saying that in all of the visits I have made to grocery stores that it hasn't happened to me. I had a bagger on our compound forget to put my soda on the bottom rack of my trolley once, but he wasn't trying to keep it for himself. I have a hard time imagining that these guys, the baggers - the majority of which are imported - would even try something like that. They'd be hauled off to jail in a heartbeat if someone accused them of trying to steal a bag of groceries. Simple as that. That this woman seems to think that one has to be mindful of exactly how many bags of groceries are bagged and goes so far as to accuse a bagger of trying to steal a bag just rubbed me the wrong way. Hey. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

In another post from the "Blogosphere" section, someone at "" [which I cannot locate no matter how I search it - if someone can come up with this site, please let me know] says, "America's most affluent 1 percent now pay, on average, just 6.4 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes. But they actually pay even less than that..." Click here to read the whole thing [scroll to the bottom of the "column" for the three quick paragraphs]. I think someone - whoever this person, "joyslig" is, needs to recheck their facts. How many American's at the bottom of the income scale EVEN pay taxes!?! According to "The Journal of American Enterprise Institute," the people paying the most taxes are American's wealthiest by a far greater proportion than the poor. Looking for something more recent to get this straight, "joyslig?" Go to Moneychimp and tell me how it is you figure that those of the "America's poorest families pay even more." B.S. Hey, I'm all for a flat tax. Flat income tax, and flat sales tax. Get rid of all the other taxes. Property tax... [The reason we left New Hampshire many, many years ago is because our property taxes were so astronomical. Sure, we had no sales tax, and no income tax, but property taxes on a very small house and a "city" lot were almost as much as our house payment!] That way, everyone will pay their fair share. Right now, though, DH and I get to cover the burden for a slew of those who pay virtually nothing! There is no fact checking done on the blogosphere posts in the paper, here, obviously. Perhaps the AP could lend Saudi Gazette a few of theirs now that Sarah's book has been gone over with a fine tooth comb.

There is a recent Letter to the Editor in Arab News, from John Abraham, sent via e-mail, with regard to "Expats need to take part in dialogue, says 'study'" [from 26 Nov?]. I'd post the specific article of same date if I could find it - I've checked and double-checked the newspaper - it simply is not there - this is the ONLY article with that title that I can find and it doesn't seem to fit. No matter. Mr. Abraham opines that he is pleased to "hear of such initiatives from authorities..." whatever those might be as "Workers arrive legally here and then they run away from the employers as others pay them more money... ignoring the fact that the person who had initially brought a worker had paid a huge amount in fees and charges." No doubt, in many circumstances he is right, employers do pay huge fees and charges as well as incidental expenses [moving costs - hardly incidental!]. But for many workers who come here the fees to hire them are minimal and yet the workers are charged outrageous sums for the privilege of getting the documentation and paperwork necessary to become laborers and household staff [maids, gardeners, drivers]. Mr. Abraham says that "In other parts of the world this is considered a serious crime punishable by imprisonment and fines." Really? Where, exactly? I'd be interested in knowing what countries do that. It certainly isn't the United States of America. We all know that is a fact. Illegal workers there? Authorities pretend not to notice. I digress. What Mr. Abraham only barely addresses is the fact that so many run away due to NON PAYMENT of salaries and abuse. What punishments do you recommend for the employers who do not pay their help? And, what punishments do you recommend for the employers who mistreat and abuse their help? Oh, he addresses that, alright, albeit casually. But the workers? They should be more severely punished than they are already... "like imprisonment for one year for the run-always [sic] or lesser punishment if they pay back the sponsor all his expenses." Do you not realize how much the majority of these workers have paid to get here, Mr. Abraham? Do you read the paper, regularly? I guess not.

Last week I did a post on the abuse of two more maids. My archives are full of posts on abused maids. What are two more? Yesterday there was a follow-up article in the paper about the maids' plight, "Abused maids left to fend for themselves." [What about these maids, Mr. Abraham? Who should be punished for their situation? The maids? How about their sponsor or their employer?] These poor women [literally!], Aisha Sultana and Fatima Bebe "were one [sic] of many who were drenched by Wednesday's downpour in Jeddah." Neither of them has a place to go. They are SOL, here, in a foreign country and must "live on the street and fend themselves from the kindness of strangers as they wait for justice." Don't hold your breath, ladies. Justice could be a very, very long time off... They came to Saudi five months ago to work as housemaids, but "the man who brought them... had made an arrangement with another man with less than honorable intentions." Oh my. What a surprise. The gist of the story is that the women ended up at a labor placement agency, "managed by a man who sexually harassed Sultana and physically abused both women." [What should the punishment for that man be, Mr. Abraham?!?] According to Sultana, the same man - the one who ran the labor agency - had other women who were also "coerced" into the xes trade. If they refused to comply, they were beaten. Read the whole thing, keeping in mind what time of the year it is. It is cold outside. Food is not inexpensive. It is... Oh never mind. Just sad. Very, very sad.

Oh. And finally. On all the sheep that are being slaughtered for the Holiday in the Sandbox. Click here for a photo of a sheep that tried to escape. Notice the top of his [the sheep has horns - I assume it is a he?] head is painted red. Don't try to tell me that this furry little guy didn't know what was in store for him. They know. I'm sure they can "smell" what is going on around them for miles. [I really don't know that much about sheep to state this for fact, though.] How many sheep are going to be slaughtered? How many cows or camels or goats? A lot. "Five locations can slaughter 1.5m heads." Humanely? Sure. I think not. Lots of competition for slaughtering sheep out there right now and it is driving up the price. Good old capitalism. Click here for a photo of a sheep being skinned. PETA? No such group or organization on this side of the world looking out for the welfare of animals. And besides, it is only polar bears that they are worried about and since they are not being sacrificed slaughtered...


  1. "joyslig" and company prove the arab media are the same clowns as the USA media, seeking out the dumbest and most offensive people to represent their readers. One says poor people are all thieves who want my bags(!!!!) and the other says rich people are all thieves who do not pay their share of taxes (!!!!!!!!!). Meh.

  2. It may be that the blogs do not exist, they are simply "quoted" as a way to spread propaganda about America etc. Who knows. But they are obviously wrong about the taxes.

    Right Truth

  3. Looked everywhere I know to look for "". Not to be found. I agree with Debbie, could be a sham.

    Stealing the bags? I go shopping in town all the time. We don't have a commisary on our compound, just a tiny convenience store. Not once have I had a bag stolen. Never in the 7 1/2 years I've been here. I go shopping once a year in Riyahd. Never happened there either. Maybe the blogger with this problem soesn't tip well? or at all?

  4. What is interesting about the joyslig thing is that it is the only blog I've not found from the "blogosphere" section. They used "Scared Monkeys" on a post once and I found that just fine, and there have been a couple others, as well, including the women who blogged about groceries being stolen.

    Either they made joyslig up, or there was a typo...

  5. Sabra I believe that the animal is already dead when they skin it. I mean you must get rid of the skin somehow. (Not that I know that much about skinning but I presume that you can't skin an animal unless it's dead)


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