Friday, December 11, 2009

Perhaps tomorrow?

My letter to the Editor at Arab News did not get published. [What a surprise!] No matter.

Deuan German's letter got published and it
said pretty much the same thing that mine did. It was longer and stronger than mine, though, so I am pleased if it was a choice between the two, that Deuan's was picked:

This refers to the appalling piece, "Our housemaid should resign." A regular reader of Arab News, I feel mightily relieved that it was taken from Okaz and was not an Arab News original.

Probably just some "filler" for a Tuesday paper - which is our "Thursday," here in the Sandbox. The day after "hump day" when people just don't want to work as hard as they do on a Monday or a Tuesday. Still...

The author Khalaf Al-Harbi is at best an utterly failed humorist and at worst a rude and bigoted man who may have exposed an inconvenient truth about the treatment of domestic staff.

Hmmph. Some of the same language I used in my original post. Great minds think alike. However, Deuan, let me fix something for you: "...may have exposed an inconvenient truth." Too late. The inconvenient truth was exposed sometime ago with regard to the treatment of domestic staff. Go through my archives. I've
been posting on the abuse of "domestic staff" since I started blogging.

If it was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek piece, it failed miserable. "Our housemaid has a face uglier than the rats in the Corniche... and so on. No subtletly or allusive reference here; just raw insults.

Totally, totally agree Deuan. And I couldn't help myself. I felt it my duty to insult Khalaf Al-Harbi without ever even seeing his picture. The man should be ashamed of himself for the insults he hurled at his maid. Seeing him
as an imported domestic worker in some other third-world country would serve him rightly. One can only hope... Your day will come, Mister. What's that saying? Oh, I know. "Karma is a witch." Something like that. You get the point.

If it was written as a serious piece, then God help the "slim Asian girl" who Al-Harbi has watched transform into a "fat lady" over the years and of the hundreds of thousands like her.

Have to correct you on that one, Deuan. There are
fat women here in the Sandbox. But they are not "the hundreds of thousands like her," i.e., domestic workers. I have YET to see an overweight domestic worker. There may be a couple. Even a few. But they are rare. There are however a lot of overweight American women [myself, included]. And even more overweight Saudi women. [Not an opinion. A fact. There are far more Saudi women here than American women. That is the only point I am making with that statement. Has nothing to do with nationality as to which group has more overweight women. If I were in the States writing this, I would say "Lots of overweight Saudi women. And even more overweight American women."]

Spare a thought for the cruelty, mistreatment and failure to pay salary earned - matters of public record in your own pages - and mistreatment of these young women at the hands of far too many of the arrogant, unthinking and uncaring men and women who regard their employees as less than slaves.

Well said, Deuan! Probably could not have
said it better myself. You hit the nail on the head with your reference to "public record." Skip my archives. Go through the archives of Arab News* or Saudi Gazette.** You'll find hundreds of articles about mistreated young women at the hands of uncaring men and women. Do another search and you'll find as many articles on other types of imported workers who go unpaid for days, weeks, months and years. "...less than slaves." Understatement, that.

Indeed slaves had rights set down in Islamic culture. The disgraceful treatment of many employed domestic staff simply would not be tolerated if they were slaves. Happily for Al Harbi and his kind, they are not; they are, if and when the cash is paid, employees.

And again, Deuan's hammer comes smack into direct and straight on contact with the head of the nail! "...if and when the cas
h is paid..." Unfortunately it is a very, very big IF for many. Too many.

At least for my peace of mind, ask Al-harbi what was the idea behind writing such a piece about his housemaid. Please tell me he was just joking.

I asked the newspaper to repor
t the exact same thing, Deuan. But like I said, my letter was not [yet] published.

If there is more feedback in tomorrow's paper, I'll post it here. And, if not, well, at least I, too, have some peace of mind knowing that I was not alone in my thinking that Khalaf Al-Harbi's article was despicable.

Yeah, there's nothing like a little sunshine... In some ways, perhaps Khalaf Al-Harbi, regardless of the manner he chose to
do so, has actually provided a public service by way of his article. Even though the article was omitted from the on-line version of Arab News it is out "there" now. I get over a hundred people coming to my blog every day - actually, it is over 150. [Sure. I'm still plankton in the sea of bloggers... But it is still a 150 more people who have seen the dirty laundry, here, that they won't see in the newspaper on-line.]

*The search cannot be "clicked" on. Here is a copy of the first page [of 628 results!]:


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