Thursday, November 22, 2007

Where is the outrage?

Remember how we always hear about how progressives/feminists ignore the plight of women in Iraq/Afghanistan/whatever country the neo-Cons wants to invade next?

Well, there is a really bad case in Saudi Arabia right now, where a woman who was raped, has been sentenced to first 90 lashes, and later, on appeal, to 200 lashes and six months in jail, for having been alone with a man she wasn't related to. The man was also raped. There is a short summary of the case here.

Remember the arguments for going into Iraq? Not the ones related to WMD, but the ones used when none were found - the arguments about torture, injustice and repression of women? (ok, and ties to terrorists). All of these arguments could better be used for a war against Saudi Arabia, as shown by this case, yet the US won't even condemn the verdict. When State Department spokesman Sean McCormack was asked about the case, he basically said that the US would do nothing

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack avoided directly criticizing the Saudi judiciary over the case, but said the verdict "causes a fair degree of surprise and astonishment."

"It is within the power of the Saudi government to take a look at the verdict and change it," McCormack said.

I am not arguing that the Western world should wage a war against Saudi Arabia because of this, but I think it is necessary to face the truth about our ally in the "War Against Terror". It's a religious totalitarian state, with a barbaric justice system, where the whims (and prejudices) of the judges rule supreme. It's a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists, which the rules won't crack down upon, for fear of the terrorists start targeting them (need I break down the numbers of the 9/11 hijackers?)

In Denmark, the government is trying to work out a consensus about an approach with the rest of the EU, while a number of parties in parliament (from the socialists to the far-right populists/racists) are calling for Denmark to withdraw the ambassador from Saudi Arabia in protest. Personally, I am all for withdrawing the ambassador, and wouldn't mind some kind of sanctions as well.

According to the first article, the victim has appealed her sentence, and I think it's important that pressure be put upon the Saudi Royalty to pressure the judges, and if that's not enough, to pardon the woman her "crimes". This is something both the US and the EU should get behind.

In the long run, Saudi Arabia should be pressured to join the modern world, and leave their barbaric medieval laws in the past, where they belong.

Edit: Hillary Clinton is speaking up about the case.
Clinton attacks Bush over jailed Saudi rape victim (The Independent)
Candidates slam Saudi rape verdict (CNN)
The CNN article also tells us that Edwards and Biden have spoken up about the case.

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