While I agree that the punishment is both insane and archaic, and though we all…as outsiders…have every right to be appalled by it, as I have said before, its not like this is a NEW law or NEW punishment.
A Saudi court has upheld a harsh sentence against a blogger for insulting Islam, drawing international condemnation and sparking a campaign on Twitter to draw attention to the case.
Raif Badawi was initially sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for allegedly breaking Saudi Arabia’s technology laws and insulting Islamic religious figures on his blog. The punishment was latter increased to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.
The ruling against Badawi, a 31-year-old father of three imprisoned since 2012, is final and can’t be overturned without a royal pardon.
So, amid my horror that in this modern age, some governments still see it as normal to treat their citizens this way, I cannot help but also pragmatically wonder, “And what did people EXPECT to happen?”. A country that follows strict Shari’ah (Islamic law) and routinely has public beheadings…and we expect them to spare someone for doing the simple First World practice of “blogging”?
Yes, it is horrible to publicly lash a human being as punishment for simply speaking out. But, if you live in a land that publically lashes people who speak out…?
It’s remarkable to me, that we Westerners, hate when someone tells US how we should be living our lives. Christians, nutritionists, teachers…pick your poison…if one of them approaches you and says, “Hey, the way you’re currently doing things is wrong….let me tell you how you SHOULD be doing it.” those of us in the West are quick to point and give some rendition of “You;re not the boss of me!” or “You don’t know my life!”. But, let some other country that we consider to be “behind” us socially do something, and we’re the first to stand up and complain that they should change their ways.
We have no problem telling other countries how to treat their women residents, or their gays, or who they can teach, or how they decide who is going to marry, or how they should carry out their laws… but can you believe the NERVE of that Jehovah’s Witness knocking on my door during dinner? Like they have a right to push their beliefs on ME.
We’re First World Hypocrites, each and every one of us. Me included.
And now we even have a hashtag and meme for this little hypocrisy.
— Joanne Radcliff (@JoFamilyLaw) June 3, 2015
I am equally proud and appalled. Proud, because, again we as a people are coming together to help someone we feel is being oppressed. appalled, because, again we as a people are coming together to help someone WE feel is being oppressed.
My philosophical conundrum, and I’m not making light of any of this, is who gave us the right to be the arbiters of what another country should do? And how come NO ONE seems to be saying, “This man took this risk and he is now paying its price”. A horrible, inhumane price, to be sure…but still, the going rate for that behavior in that location.
It’s hard to not be both horrified at the behavior of the Saudi’s towards their own people, and at the same time, too haughty to notice the high horse that I sit upon.
But, at least I take solace in the fact that I’m at least noticing my horse, while so many seem to not notice theirs at all.