Saudi Arabia, as a country and as a culture, unnerves me. But, that being half of my bloodline (so says my mother), I’m drawn back time and again to learn about it. Unfortunately so much of what I’ve seen and heard over time (including what I was told by a Saudi man who had befriended my former husband many years back) isn’t pretty. The VAST majority of it isn’t actually. Not to mention their royal family appears sadistically nuts, yet still is claimed as an ally by the U.S. and European nations.
Before I begin posting up links tonight, it deserves to be stated that I did attempt a positive information hunt on Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in general that went on for a few years, particularly during my time volunteering within the pro-peace/anti-war movement. Back then I really strove to give peace a chance and to open up my mind, hoping I’d come across information that could contradict what all I’d managed to learn about that nation and its people up until then. But no such luck. Even the liberal peace community couldn’t sweep its human rights abuses under the rug despite sometimes trying. That culture’s atrocious human rights record is undeniable, plentiful, and completely unapologetic.
Tonight I’ll showcase a few examples, beginning with a graphic LiveLeak video of a male servant being whipped, hit, and spit on by his purportedly Saudi (Arab of some sort either way) “sponsor”: https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=850_1382853964
Saudi Arabia requires a “sponsorship” program for its immigrant workers whereby a “sponsor” is granted a great deal of control over the worker, including his or her right to leave the country. This was reported in the Human Rights Watch 2012 report on Saudi Arabia:
Came across this article from the World Tribune (Sept. 22, 2013) titled “Opposition: Saudi king’s son promotes ‘racist policy’ against nation’s blacks“:
Hence why I was mistaken in my most recent video where I assumed there were little to no black people even living in Saudi Arabia these days. Come to find out they’re just being kept off the television and treated like second-class citizens (lower even than the migrant workers apparently in some cases) in what amounts to an apartheid setup. Not that that’s any better…
Here’s an article from The Guardian (Oct. 19, 2010) titled “Saudi prince guilty of servant’s murder“:
Here’s an example from just last week, “Saudi royal arrested over videos purportedly showing abuse” (CBS News; July 20, 2017):
A “prison for wayward royals”? They necessitate their own prison?? How many frickin’ royals does that country have? Don’t know much about the new king, but I won’t be holding my breath and expecting any real change to occur. Takes time to evolve, and that goes for people and whole cultures. Won’t happen over the course of a few years, most certainly.
I’ll let Abby Martin of the Empire Files tell us a little more:
Appointed to the human rights panel at the UN. Yep, you heard that right. AND Saudi Arabia’s term on that panel won’t expire until 2019 (assuming they aren’t reappointed). Yet some continue to wonder why the United Nations is (increasingly) viewed as a sick, sad, twisted joke.
Am I uncomfortable with that half of my bloodline? No, not really. Though I am grateful to have not been born there and to not have been directly exposed to that disturbing culture/religion while growing up (spoken as someone raised in Mississippi Imagine that seeming WAYYY better by comparison. Ha!). Guess it’s a good thing that my biological father wasn’t in my life. Might’ve turned out way worse. I’m willing to bet it probably would have, sad as that may sound to an outsider. Sure, that’s really unfortunate to have to acknowledge and accept, but the truth isn’t always a rose garden. I honestly would rather never know my biological father if he is much like many of the Arab men I’ve either encountered or learned about. Chances are great that he too was/is a Muslim (my mother hasn’t offered much information to shed light on who he was). Did he support Sharia Law? Would he have raised me in accordance with that religion had he known of my existence? If so, that warrants a write-off in my book.
That being of their own doing. Apostasy is a crazy concept. Remaining forever grateful to not have been raised up within a society that kowtows to Sharia Law. Color me biased, that’s fine. (Though, by the same token, I’m also very grateful to not have been raised by Christian Fundamentalists.)
So, what does this do to my own self-perception? Not as much damage as one might expect. Fills me with a sense of gratitude to be born an American and raised within an American family. Truth be told (biased as I can’t help but be). Also grateful to know I can’t be deported no matter what I do or so. Heh Seriously though (and Guantanamo aside). Not even going to take chances with visiting a country like that since someone like me would probably be stoned while exiting the plane. Or kept there in some weirdo’s bathroom and tortured for my heathen Western ways… (Or lashed by the authorities for what I’ve blogged about.) Oy.
Happen to like my skin tone. Wonder sometimes if possessing that genetic background is why I can be such an emotional hothead. Otherwise, I tend to find the whole situation a bit funny, ironically so. Am proud to be a “sand honky,” since I’m the only one I’ve ever known (meaning specifically a Southerner/Arab blend). And I feel it gives me all the more license to tell it like I see it when it comes to the Arab world. Not self-hating since my problem is with that CULTURE (along with its peculiar religion, or at least the extremes it tends to be taken to).
A couple more links I’m perusing and wish to save for future reference. From the Pew Research Center (May 26, 2017): http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/26/muslims-and-islam-key-findings-in-the-u-s-and-around-the-world/
From Amnesty International (Saudi Arabia 2016/2017 Annual Report): https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/saudi-arabia/report-saudi-arabia/