A Test for US Allies: How They Treat Women - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-05-2007, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If only.... It actually reminds me of an episode of "American Dad" (cartoon on Fox) I saw about a week ago. The Dad, a CIA-agent, is sent to Saudi Arabia as punishment. He decides that he likes the Saudi way of life... with the man as king, woman as servant. I wonder if there are others who agree.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0103/p...coop.html?s=t5

"The US considers both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to be allies in the terror war. But only Pakistan is worthy of this status. A simple look at how each nation treats women reveals why.

There has been much talk about the recent steps Pakistan has taken to ensure that rape victims are able to properly seek justice. According to the former law in Pakistan, a rape victim was obligated to present four male witnesses to corroborate her story. Failure to do so could possibly lead to the victim's execution on charges of adultery. But a change to this law, enacted Dec. 1, was pushed hard by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who has struggled to subdue Islamic extremist movements throughout his country.
...
Unfortunately, these accolades cannot be extended to Saudi Arabia. In mid-November, a Saudi woman who was gang raped by seven men was sentenced to 90 lashes for her participation in "adulterous relations." More telling of Saudi Arabia's justice system is the fact that, as of now, her sentence is harsher than those of some of her attackers. Although the Saudi government is aware of the case, it has made no attempts to intervene.

In fact, the Saudi monarchy's position on rape is much more troubling than its mere act of turning a blind eye to this case...."

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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Old 01-05-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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Interesting. It does sound pretty appealing.

I'd also like it if the pressure was turned back on us. Let's have countries refuse to be our allies until we stop executing and torturing people.
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:23 AM
 
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Interesting. It does sound pretty appealing.

I'd also like it if the pressure was turned back on us. Let's have countries refuse to be our allies until we stop executing and torturing people.
:


ETA: While not minimizing the importance of the treatment of women, there are much bigger reasons why it is ridiculous for us to consider Saudi Arabia an ally.

ETA2: My original ETA is a separate thought, not a clarification of my agreement with what Cassiopeia said.
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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Yeah, I'm not trying to minimize either but I do think the pressure to do the right thing should go in both directions and in many areas.
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:53 PM
 
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Um, well Pakistan is still not a shining armor of women's rights, but I guess it IS the lesser of the two.

We have a long, long history of getting into bed with whoever is convenient at the time, for very shortsighted reasons. Obviously our president's philosophy around this doesn't involving giving a da*n about whether our allies are countries we really want to support.

I mean... how many times have we supported and armed a terrorist/guerrilla group, only to be sorry for it when they get into power and make trouble for us? It's like a caricature or something.

Shouldn't our decision to be allies with a country include some sort of vision around whether that country has similar values, and long-term is going someplace we want to be? Rather than whether it benefits us today?

Oh well.
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by umsami View Post
If only.... It actually reminds me of an episode of "American Dad" (cartoon on Fox) I saw about a week ago. The Dad, a CIA-agent, is sent to Saudi Arabia as punishment. He decides that he likes the Saudi way of life... with the man as king, woman as servant. I wonder if there are others who agree.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0103/p...coop.html?s=t5

"The US considers both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to be allies in the terror war. But only Pakistan is worthy of this status. A simple look at how each nation treats women reveals why.

There has been much talk about the recent steps Pakistan has taken to ensure that rape victims are able to properly seek justice. According to the former law in Pakistan, a rape victim was obligated to present four male witnesses to corroborate her story. Failure to do so could possibly lead to the victim's execution on charges of adultery. But a change to this law, enacted Dec. 1, was pushed hard by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who has struggled to subdue Islamic extremist movements throughout his country.
...
Unfortunately, these accolades cannot be extended to Saudi Arabia. In mid-November, a Saudi woman who was gang raped by seven men was sentenced to 90 lashes for her participation in "adulterous relations." More telling of Saudi Arabia's justice system is the fact that, as of now, her sentence is harsher than those of some of her attackers. Although the Saudi government is aware of the case, it has made no attempts to intervene.

In fact, the Saudi monarchy's position on rape is much more troubling than its mere act of turning a blind eye to this case...."
Thank you for posting that Umsami. I have agreed with this stance since I started posting here.

We have no business as a country to support any country who abuses womens rights like this.

I am also irked at our bedding up with China and trade laws. State sanctioned human rights abuses coming from that country are appalling. Political prisoners, religious persecution..etc.

The US will pay for this in the future....I think we are already seeing the beginning of this. (another thread, another topic)
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:16 PM
 
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This bears repeating:

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Fanatical ideology drives Muslim terrorists - not the other way around. Saudi Arabia's abhorrent position on the rape of women, and women's rights in general, are indicators of the country's general ideology. Until the Saudi monarchy changes its stance on these issues, the US has no good reason to consider Saudi Arabia a true ally.
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Cassiopeia View Post
I'd also like it if the pressure was turned back on us. Let's have countries refuse to be our allies until we stop executing and torturing people.
Without getting into a long debate, lets not compare here. Daily oppression and state-sanctioned rape of women and girls, imprisonment and death to innocents without jury or trial cannot be compared to our own justice system. (yes I admit our system is not perfect...just to be clear)
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:39 PM
 
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Without getting into a long debate, lets not compare here. Daily oppression and state-sanctioned rape of women and girls, imprisonment and death to innocents without jury or trial cannot be compared to our own justice system. (yes I admit our system is not perfect...just to be clear)
What about Guantanamo?
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by KristiMetz View Post
Shouldn't our decision to be allies with a country include some sort of vision around whether that country has similar values, and long-term is going someplace we want to be? Rather than whether it benefits us today?
But what are our values?? I know what we say they are... in theory... but it seems like in practice, we can be quite hypocritical.

We value democracy... yet when the Palestinians and Iranians elected people we didn't agree with, we freak. (Countries that have much higher voter turn-out than we do.) Of course, in Egypt, we've supported Mubarak and his sham-democracy where he's been the only candidate on the election ballot for the past twenty-years.

We say we value life and human rights... yet we don't provide our citizens with basic medical care and we execute way too many people each year.

We value capitalism... but impose tariffs and trade restrictions on countries who are doing better at "capitalism" than we are.

We say that we're the world's policeman... but too often turn a blind eye when it doesn't serve our interest... like in the West Bank and Darfur. (Never again... we said after the Holocaust. Never again... we said after Rwanda. Never again... we said after Bosnia. Now what are we doing about Iraq and Somalia?)

What really are our values?

So what really are our values?

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Old 01-06-2007, 05:35 AM
 
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We liked living in Saudi Arabia. I still think about it every day; I'd go back, if I could.
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Old 01-07-2007, 11:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hilary Briss View Post
We liked living in Saudi Arabia. I still think about it every day; I'd go back, if I could.


But aren't foreign employees (which is what you were there, correct?) living in "compounds" which are really not like living in Saudi Arabia proper, but more like little walled-in islands of foreign countries within a another country? Where women can walk around the street in bikinis, if they like?



And FWIW, women are not allowed to walk around the street in the rest of Saudi Arabia in bikinis. To put it mildly. Women who are not Saudi citizens do not have to wear an abaya, but they must be covered with long skirts, sleeves and high necklines. Unless, like I said, they're in the foreigners' housing compounds.

Remembering in 2002 that a dozen Saudi schoolgirls died because of zealous enforcement of the dress code ...





So while I'm sure you loved living in Saudi Arabia, you were not exactly living like Saudi Arabians.
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Old 01-07-2007, 02:21 PM
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And doesn't the USA have the best habit of picking leaders it likes for "short-term" matters but then getting pumbled by them the next decade? It makes me sad that we as a country are willing to shack up with whomever will suit our needs no matter how oppressive they are on the homefront. Stinks to high heaven. The rest of the world smells it and knows exactly where it is coming from. Talk about losing face.
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And FWIW, women are not allowed to walk around the street in the rest of Saudi Arabia in bikinis. To put it mildly. Women who are not Saudi citizens do not have to wear an abaya, but they must be covered with long skirts, sleeves and high necklines. Unless, like I said, they're in the foreigners' housing compounds.
In addition to the dresscode, women aren't allowed to walk-around "unchaperoned" period. So, a 55 year old woman should not be out alone... but if her 13 year old son is with her... watching over her?!?... it's O.K.

Here's an interesting article wondering if Iraq will follow Saudi Arabia in terms of Islamic law.

http://journal.heinz.cmu.edu/article...s-middle-east/

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Old 01-07-2007, 09:01 PM
 
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The original article is ludicrous. Pakistan should not be applauded for anything. Let's not forget that President Musharraf came to power in a military coup, and has not taken any steps towards returning to a democratic system of government. He has also done very little to aid in apprehending Osama bin Ladin or other Taliban and Al Qaeda elements that have found sanctuary in Pakistan. In fact, there is evidence that some members of Pakistan's intelligence service are actually assisting OBL.

We did live on a foreigner's compound in the Kingdom. Most foreigners do. Our compound was a mix of Westerners and people from other middle Eastern countries, such as Lebanon and Jordan. Sure, on the compound people could dress as they wished, but all women were expected to wear the abaya when they went off the compound. The difference was the western women were not expected to wear the full veil, although they were encouraged to wear a head covering, but it was not mandatory. Saudis live in private houses, surrounded by high walls, sort of like miniature compounds. They were free to do whatever they wanted inside their private compounds, just as we were.

The fact of the matter is many Saudi women like the way they live in the Kingdom, they view a lot of what we think of as restrictions as protections. Saudi Arabia is a very conservative, traditional country, there's no question about that. A lot of it may seem wrong from a western point of view. It is very easy and fashionable for westerners to trash Saudi Arabia. Most of the Saudis we met and interacted with were friendly, helpful and incredibly polite. There are extremists there, typified by the Mutawwa, and they can be a problem. There are plenty of religious fanatics in this country that would love to have the authority of the Mutawwa in enforcing their version of Christianity.

You should be thankful that we are friends with Saudi Arabia. If they wanted to hurt us, they could cut petroleum production by twenty percent, and you would be paying $8-10 for a gallon of gasoline.

The Saudis have been better friends to us than Pakistan has ever been, or ever will be. I don't trust President Musharraf any more than I trust Bushco. You're a sucker if you believe Musharraf cares about anything more than keeping and consolidating his own power.
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