Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fire at Girls School. Coincidence?

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...


  1. When I read your posts, I can't help but wonder why there is no women's movement in Saudi.

    Saudi women should get together and burn their abaya's as a big fuck you to TPTB.

    It would be like grassroots feminism in the 60's.

    Seriously, if enough women got together, what would the cops do? Throw them all in jail? No... they would hrow their husbands in jail for having such dissident wives.


  2. Certainly an interesting observation, AIO. No "women's movement" and no PETA, either. Not that I support either of those two groups in the States - they have both got their priorities totally backward, but I understand what you're saying. Do you wear your abeya in Oman? Is it an option? I like your suggestion though, getting all the women together and burning them - although it will NEVER happen. I hesitate to think what would happen to the husbands [although on the "plus" side there would be fewer husbands since so many of them have more than one wife], and even much worse, what would happen to the wives of those husbands afterward.

  3. Sabra - abayas are optional here!

  4. I'm learning a lot here. and thanks for the link to the religious policeman. That's also an amazing site and very informative. Dare i send it to my friend in Saudi or would it cause her problems. She already has a lot of restricitons. :-)

  5. You do realize, Clippy Mat, that your friend in Saudi and I are practically neighbors. I don't want to discuss it any further on my blog, however. Regardless, any sites that are blocked for her are blocked for me - and there are many. If I can get to The Religious Policeman, she can too. And if it is not blocked, then it is okay for her to see it. Trust me. The Powers That Be Here BLOCK anything they don't think we should see! She can't have a whole lot more restrictions than I do - but for the fact that her life, if she is single, is a lot more difficult than mine as a married woman. If she is married, then she and I are in the very same boat.

  6. i wondered about that. if you feel the need you may email me from my blog. :-))

  7. Used to read the Policeman regularly and i do not believe for a moment that he quit blogging to concentrate on writing a novel. He was(is) a fine writer and thinker; he helped me to remember that arabs are people when the actual muttawah were trying to convince me otherwise. Yes, you are the best replacement for his work, although you've never written a page like the Love Letter to Madam Nicotine (sigh, made me want to start smoking). Keep going, Sabra.

  8. So are you suggesting, Vermindust, that he quit blogging due to other "pressures?"

    He was/is a great writer! I can never replace him. But thank you for a very kind compliment. I'll continue for as long as I can and am able to do so safely...


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