Sunday, May 20, 2012

Off with their Heads

Today's post is courtesy of a Gulf News article I read this morning about a beheading in Saudi Arabia.

Yes, you read that right, a BEHEADING.

I don't usually (okay ever) get political on my blog because, well, I like living here and don't want to inadvertently risk deportation. But since this article appeared in the local newspaper, I figured it was fair game to discuss.

Here's the full article if interested: Gulf News link

Now, in some ways, I applaud this swift and decisive action. Makes it pretty clear that murder isn't tolerated in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). And from what we can tell from the article, this guy was very clearly guilty of some really heinous crimes. What I find so interesting is that yesterday, I heard how 1 or 2 more states in the US have done away with the death penalty. Quite a contrast, wouldn't you say?

The other thing I find astounding is what you can be beheaded for: "rape, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking, as well as murder", according to the article. Apostasy, by the way is "a total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc." according to So, a Muslim who wants to covert to another religion, runs the risk of beheading? WOW.

And if you don't believe it, check out the immigration form Brian received on one of his trips through KSA. Can't say they didn't warn ya!
Brian has been to Saudi twice on business and he describes the cities as very nice, but somehow stifling and oppressive. Big cities with all the amenities you can think of - this country is rich, rich, rich, but at the same time, extremely judgmental and governed by lots and lots of rules. Women can't drive, must wear the Abaya in public and even cover their heads in some cities. Foreigners can be restricted in terms of where they live and travel. And the list goes on.

To be fair, I've read a lot of posts from US expats who really enjoyed their time living in Saudi. Apparently, there are these HUGE American compounds set up for expats and within those walls, women can drive, wear whatever they want, there are bars and cinemas and it's supposed to feel like a small American city. So that's good, I guess. Personally, I didn't travel 1/2 way around the world, leave friends and family, to live in an American compound in the middle of the desert. Part of the attraction of UAE for me, is the opportunity to mingle and interact with so many different cultures.

KSA is such a contrast to the incredible freedoms we enjoy here in UAE. Yes, we need a license to purchase and consume alcohol, and yes, there are only a few grocers that sell pork, and yes, we need to dress conservatively and keep displays of affection private. Not so bad when you consider some of the alternatives you could face in KSA. I think we'll stay here and politely decline any offers to work in Saudi. ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment