Saturday, November 17, 2007


A gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail for her part in the crime. This is an allied nation, in good diplomatic standing with the United States.

I cannot claim to be a strong advocate for exporting American democratic values, nor do I particularly want to go abroad to forcibly abolish gross human rights violations. But as a nation it sure seems like we could do a better job of leading by example. I think we could show intolerance toward this kind of "justice" among our supposed friends without resorting to violence.


J G-W said...

Apparently the crime she was sentenced for was technically not being raped, but violating the sex segregation laws by being in a car with another man. Clearly, 200 lashes and 6 months in jail is an appropriate punishment for that.

It sounds like being gay would be great, except that homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty there.

What's really jolly is that her lawyer is now in disciplinary proceedings for presenting an inappropriate defense of the woman.

Knight of Nothing said...

I admit I was sandbagging a little... But I assume that the sex segregation laws are in place in large part to prevent any form of sexual contact between men and women, whether it be consensual or not. From that twisted perspective, she did take part in the crime.

But no matter how you think of it, it's appalling. That we ally with such a country for the sake of access to cheap, non-renewable, polluting fossil fuels is deeply depressing.

J G-W said...

Well, apart from the content of the laws, there is the rather appalling assumption that extreme physical punishments will be a deterrent to things like... men and women wanting to spend time together.

We're struggling with that same mentality over here. Just increase the prison sentence for "crimes" we don't like (like drug abuse). That'll get them to stop! More death penalty! Let's kill more criminals, that'll stop crime, right?

Two hundred years ago or so, our criminal justice system was just about as insane and scary as the Saudi system is today. It's taken many decades of cultural change and legal reform to create the relatively libertarian society we live in today -- which system is more or less hated by our own fundamentalists.

True democracy requires vigilance, work, compassion. We are always walking on the brink of destruction...