Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sandbox is a Busy Place

Weekend is over. Back to real life. Articles on Thursday and Friday just don't seem to pack the same proverbial punch that articles during the week do.

Arab News has a first, today. "Saudi arrested for posing as official." That is the headline to the article. When have we ever seen that before? I cannot recall. No matter. We're on to the little game. Same one the main stream media in the States uses. In the States it is called "guess the political party affiliation," here it is called "guess the nationality." Same same. Must be some competition between the two papers, right now. Economy and all... Saudi Gazette, which has yet to publish a headline like that, has been much more forthcoming of late by reporting the nationality of the person or persons in their articles, regardless of whether it is an ex-pat or not.

The search for Fatima, the 18-year-old who [probably?] drowned on July 9th when she stepped into deep water, presumably wearing her full "out in public" black covering, continues. There is speculation that "she could have slipped on sewage channels and been caught in the powerful output from pipes beneath the water's surface." I shudder at the thought of this scenario. [Now that I know that sewage is being pumped into the ocean... That's it. I am done eating fish.] According to officials, "Fatima was seen in the sea at a point close to where two sewage pipes, one 100 inches in diameter, the other of 70 inches, are located." Big pipes! "The sewage outlets had also made the search operation increasingly difficult, and authorities requested that pumping cease..." Yeah. I bet. Perhaps now would be a good time for someone to think about building a sewage treatment plant and finding a different way to eliminate such by-products. Just a thought. Although the young woman's body has not been recovered - there are reports that "have come out about some more 'magical' underwater discoveries." A bunch of small bottles have been located - twenty-two of them - containing miscellaneous items; they "are magical spells." Saudi Gazette, for whatever reason, felt the need to provide a caveat, "A little explanation: It is common (and firmly discouraged by the country's religious police) for some locals to cast spells on people." One man, a local who we learn is "a senior telecommunications industry executive," who believes in the power of this kind of thing has been tracked down and is now being treated [how, exactly?] for "black m@gic." He was identified by the piece of paper in the "vessel" [a bottle] which was "a bank receipt which included the number and the name of that man." He "started to suffer from a massive headache and dizziness 20 days ago. Exactly the date of the 'spell.'" Couldn't possibly be sinus problems, could it? I was feeling much the same way yesterday and I'm blaming it on the dust in the air.

Very little information about a maid who has been charged with stealing. Heck. Even her nationality has been left out of the article. What does that mean? Supposedly the maid told the man she was working for that his "house has been burgled while he was away." Since there were no signs of forced entry, "the maid was interrogated until she confessed to the crime." Wonder how such an interrogation is conducted. Interesting, though, that there is always a confession.

Fools. All of the women and girls here who allow their photos to fall into the hands of unscrupulous men who then threaten to post their pictures on the internet and use "blackmail" as a form of getting their own way. And, as for the men. You know you are going to get caught. You are just as much fools. What authorities should do is use shame to end this ridiculousness. That would put a quick stop to it, I bet. Publish the name and picture of these men, which would actually serve a dual purpose. The first shaming the foolish man who thought he could get away with the practice, and the second being a warning to all of the other women out there to stay far and clear away from that man. Yet, another foolish man has been arrested. A husband and father of four children, threatened to post a woman's photos on the internet "if she did not accede to his wishes." The man could have saved himself a whole lot of trouble if he would have just gone abroad for vacation. Or something.

Calling BS on this. There is more to the story than what is reported, if you ask me. Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stopped a Pakistani man [important that we know his nationality] "to lecture him about prayers." Apparently they did more than just lecture him because they "searched the man's phone" and "they found pictures of a woman." In another case where questioning immediately leads to an admission, the man "allegedly confessed to his crime." Supposedly he "smuggled a Saudi woman from Jeddah to Riyadh, forcing her to live with him for five years until his capture." That is the part of the story I'm calling BS on. Five years? I don't think so. This woman wanted to be with that man. And now, she's trying to cover her own butt and blame the poor guy. Anyone wanna bet that my version is closer to the truth? Not that we will ever know...

I was under the impression that there were only five crimes that are punishable by execution beheading: murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking. There are six: practicing black m@gic and s0rcery. Well, kind of sort of. The report is here. Details are sketchy insofar as whether or not the man's "execution verdict" is based on "apostasy and not s0rcery."

Doesn't look as though cinemas and movies will be coming to The Sandbox any time soon, after all. The Jeddah Film Festival "was cancelled at the eleventh hour, literally." there have been rumors of movie theaters and cinemas being allowed going around for the past year or so. It is not gonna happen. Just isn't. I don't see it. Same thing for women driving... I digress. The film festival, which was scheduled to open a couple of days ago has been canceled. Attendees had already begun arriving when the official cancellation notice was received on Friday night at 11P. The explanation? "The festival 'lacked preparations.'" Apparently the festival's organizers made a big faux pas this year by not calling the "Jeddah Film Festival" the "Visual Festival Exhibition," which is has been called since it first started in 2006. According to Fahd Al-Osta, a Saudi movie director and critic, "The decision (to cancel the festival) came as a surprise to those who are familiar with Saudi society, which has already accepted the concept of cinema." Oh really? It has been accepted, has it. I beg to differ. "The film festival would have encouraged investors to invest in opening cinema theaters in the future..." and the decision to cancel the festival "would now push their efforts 10 steps backward." Hmm. Imagine that. Going backward...

Speaking of going backward. Interesting article, here. Just read it. It is almost too much to digest. Has to do with marriage and some of the views that are shared... Like the fact that it is okay to marry your cousin even though he is infected with HIV. Stuff like that. Enough to just make your head spin, though!

And, finally, speaking of marriage... "The National Society of Human Rights (NSHR) is currently investigating ten marriages involving minors..." [Emphasis, mine.] Ten marriages. When is that minimum age going to be set? Just keep talking about it. Nothing wrong with a twelve-year-old girl child marrying a man who is 37. Nope. Nothing at all.


  1. Film. Ban. Trivia: one Disney film was banned (in Chicago, not Boston, oddly) - seems The Vanishing Prairie had a scene of a buffalo birth.

    Marriage: not sure how much credence to give this -
    Cannot execute virgins? Not the only place where a one-night "marriage" is used, but an odd application even for Iran to force "marriage" and its consummation.

  2. Concerning the blackmail of women: Honestly, i cannot tell if the images of the girls are rated G, PG or R, but it sounds like it's just photohgraphs of her uncovered face. How can they be shamed by the release of their images when no one knows what they look like? He could publish some anonymous woman's face and declare it was anyone he named and no one outside Her family could know if the face and name were the same person.

  3. I saw it, John A. Americans should be shocked at some of the practices, yet, oddly, most seem to not give a dayum about all of these little particulars insofar as "marriage," etc.

    Most excellent point, vermindust. Who would know?!?


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