Saudi Arabia’s progressiveness, used loosely, is a bit of a mixed bag. When they recently executed seven juveniles for the role they played in a robbery during 2007, some as young as fifteen years old, they were criticised widely from all over the globe. The fact that they didn’t behead them publicly, but rather executed them by firing squad, is a sign of progress isn’t it? Given the fact that all confessed under torture shouldn’t matter should it? The fact that they weren’t mentally handicapped shows that they are at least on par with Texas justice, a state that certainly appears to be housed in confines of the “civilized” United States.
In late January this year, policy was changed so that woman could continue to work alongside their male colleagues, albeit separated by a wall. Stores were simply forced to erect barriers not shorter than 1.6 meters to separate male and female employees. Retailers had 30 days to install the walls, or risk sanctions. This is certainly progress. In a nation that has a 36% unemployment rate for women, they could have just told them not to come to work the next day.
In 2002, 15 schoolgirls were beaten and forced to return to their burning school to die because they fled the building without first donning their abayas by members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. This could have been worse….no, that’s pretty bad.
Just last month, after decreeing a censorship of Twitter users, Saudi Arabian Minister for Media and Culture Abdel Aziz Khoga called on citizens to “raise their awareness” and contribute to the censorship taken up by the ministry.
“People have to take care of what they are writing on Twitter,” the minister said.
“It’s getting harder to observe around three million people subscribing to the social network in the kingdom,” he added
See, it’s not censorship, it’s just getting harder to track your use Saudis, jeez.
Today the Sharia law abiding monarchy “threatened to ban” Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber among other instant messaging applications according to news site Sabq.
Following those must be truly difficult and I for one understand governmental concerns regarding the tremendous amount of work of monitoring these services. The Saudi government needs to concentrate their time and efforts on keeping oil flowing and instituting new and progressive misogynistic legislation.