Let's talk about Arabs for a change.
Interesting article about Saudi Arabia. Copy and paste, no comments, sorry CP Police.
A Thousand And One Arabian Nuts
Saudi Arabia is one of the moderate Arab states, we are
regularly told. It is also one of our Middle Eastern allies. Yeah,
right. With allies like this, who needs enemies? Fifteen of the
nineteen September 11 crazies came from the desert
"kingdom." I believe that coincidences are possible, but not
this possible. There's something rotten in Riyadh.
Besides being a breeding ground for fundamental Islamic
lunacy, it is simply one of the most oppressive totalitarian
states on the face of this, or any other, planet. We have
lambasted Fidel Castro for over forty years for being an
oppressive dictator, but compared to the Saudis, he's like a
mildly disgruntled high school principal. Nonetheless, we have
totally shunned Castro while cozying up to the greater of the
two evils. I know, the world runs on oil, not sugar cane, but
how far do we let this thing go?
I'm guessing that most people have no idea just how
oppressive things really are in this God forsaken pit of searing
heat and trackless sand. To get a better idea, take a look at the
muttawa. This is the religious police who enforce Saudi
Arabia's strict, and I mean strict, Islamic code, which makes
life there rather less enjoyable than a romp in the park.
The muttawa are basically the street cops for something
called the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the
Prevention of Vice. (How's that for a titular masterpiece?)
Their duties include such things as ensuring women are
covered in black cloaks, the genders don't mix in public, shops
close five times a day for prayers and men go to mosques and
This is not a joke. They really do this. They ride around in
GMC sport utility vehicles patrolling the streets, looking to bust
people for not being austere and fanatical enough. We make
fun of the stodginess of the Puritans in our past. These guys
make the Puritans look like revelers at a Roman orgy.
No citizen of Saudi Arabia enjoys anything even remotely
resembling the sort of freedom that we take for granted, but
women get the rawest deal by far, their societal status being
something on the order of chattel slavery. The muttawa, of
course, are obsessed with keeping women in line.
They insist that the cloaks women are required to wear in
public are black and that they cover the woman from head to
toe. They regularly carry out "spot checks" at malls, women's
universities and other places to make sure the cloaks are not
transparent, embroidered or ornamented in any way. Can you
even imagine, in your wildest nightmares, being subjected to
such medieval nonsense?
You probably already know that women aren't allowed to
drive in Saudi Arabia. They are also banned from cd and video
stores. If a lady were to waltz into such a store and try to get a
hold of the latest Arabic hit parader (if there is such a thing),
she would be hauled off to the hoosegow in a New York minute.
But this is one of the moderate Arab states, we are regularly
Here's an amusing example of the low esteem in which
women are held there. A couple of years ago, for whatever
unfathomable reason, Starbucks decided in the midst of its
expansion frenzy to open some coffee shops in Saudi Arabia.
Unfortunately, the Starbucks logo, which is totally innocuous
to all but the psychotic, contains a depiction of an innocent
looking maiden. So guess what? The muttawa said they
couldn't display such a logo. Why not? Because it had a
picture of a woman. And what's wrong with that? Well, it's a
woman, that's what's wrong with it.
But if you want to try and really get a handle on the level of
contempt that exists for women in this twisted society, here's
the ultimate example. In the city of Mecca recently there was a
fire at a girls' school. As you can understand, when a building
is on fire people generally flee without giving much thought to
the way they are dressed. That's because tarrying over one's
wardrobe could lead one to become human barbecue. Can you
see where this is going? According to eyewitness accounts, the
ever vigilant muttawa were on the scene stopping girls from
fleeing because they weren't covered in their black cloaks.
Fifteen girls perished.
But this is one of the moderate Arab states, we are regularly
Okay, so Saudi Arabia is one of the last places on earth
you'd want to be a woman, but it's not exactly a bargain for
men, either. At prayer time, which is five times a day, the
muttawa patrol the streets with bullhorns (yes, bullhorns!)
reminding men to get their rear ends to the nearest mosque,
pronto. They also go into shopping malls and bang on the floor
with sticks for the same reason.
The mental images this conjures up are absolutely comical,
but this is not a joke. They really do this. Can you conceive of
being herded into a place of worship five times a day, whether
you liked it or not? Most of us would fight to the death before
we would tolerate such medieval nonsense for five minutes.
But you know what? We are regularly told by our
government and the media that this is one of the moderate
Arab states. If this is moderate, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell
you. If this is moderate, I'd truly like to know what constitutes
immoderate. How much better than the Taliban is this
government which, by the way, was one of the few on earth that
gave the Taliban official recognition before 9/11?
Somebody needs to get real. This ghastly place gives
medieval, theocratic dictatorships a bad name. The bearded,
power-crazed anachronisms in white robes running this
backward country seem to think that the perfect utopia was
created with the advent of Islam back in the seventh century.
In their steel trap minds any need for further human progress
was rendered unnecessary in that same century. Is it any
wonder that in such an atmosphere their biggest export behind
oil is maniacal terrorism?
When are we going to wake up, smell the coffee and get shed
of any illusions we have about Saudi Arabia being our ally or
our friend? When are we going to tell them--and any of the
other Middle Eastern nut cases--that we're fed up with their
garbage and that if they don't like our support for the only
civilized country in their part of the world, they can take a long
walk off a short pier?
Forget about the oil. They're not going to cut it off because
that would mean a one-way ticket back to a lifestyle based on
camel herding and tribal warfare, which doesn't exactly cut it
in a modern global economy. They may be crazy, but they're
not that crazy. Are they?