Saudi Arabia follows strict Sharia Muslim law. Women must be covered at all times in public, cannot speak to a man who is not her husband, and cannot leave the house without a male escort. It is illegal for them to drive and often attend school. It is illegal for them to exercise, according to the Saudi King, because the rubbing of female thighs together causes uncontrolled sexual desire. There is hope, the incredibly massive Princess Noura University is being built in Riyadh which will be a private city for women to study currently under construction, but the cost to enter such a prestigious school is far beyond the reaches of most Saudi families.
Saudi Arabia is a welfare state. Every man receives a monthly stipend of approximately $2,000 U.S., just enough for contentment to settle. Over the decades, this paying men to do nothing has created a vastly apathetic, lazy, unruly, uneducated, and physically week male population. Bank figures show that 1 in 4 Saudi males is unemployed.
Bedouin inbreeding has also taken a drastic effect. For centuries, desert tribes would only allow consanguine (blood related) marriages and breeding within their families, cousins, brother and sisters marrying. This has caused widespread genetic mutations and stunted mental development, and hosts of mental disorders widespread across the Islamic world.
Personally, there were many times at school or walking around the Kingdom, when I would be literally stunned at the sight of a Saudi male. Disfigured, gaping jaw lines, uneven eyes, visible spinal muscular atrophy, and crippled or palsied bone structures were common. But the most common disorder I encountered was mental. Teaching Saudi men was like having a staring contest with sand. Myself, and the other western teachers, were astounded at the impaired concentration, lack of emotional control, anti-social behavior and inability to demonstrate basic cognitive proficiencies like holding a pencil or writing in a straight line by many of our adult students.
Sharia courts are male dominated. If a man accuses his wife of any wrong doing, she is found guilty. He can have her beaten, flogged, or beheaded. If a Saudi father accuses his children of wrong doing, similar punishments are enacted. Recently the Saudi Gazette ran stories on the cutting of a man’s spinal cord causing paralysis as punishment for the stabbing of his friend ten years earlier. Although this story gained international notoriety, similar cases were common among local Saudis who truly adhere to: An Eye for an Eye Justice.
It is illegal to protest or speak out publically against the King or the Kingdom. I was repeatedly warned not to speak about the Saudi royal family in class. Secret police were stationed in every classroom to monitor and spy on teachers and reports were given to school directors as well as local government officials. Coupled with this are the Mutawa, or Religious Police, who have a very visible presence, especially in big cities, and employ intimidation and violence to corrupt (accepting bribes) and control the society. I was warned repeatedly to stay away from these brown robed men, but if confronted, to apologize and surrender my identification papers.
It was illegal for me not to carry government sanctioned identification papers at all times stating my purpose for entering the Kingdom, my employer, home address, and religious status.
The list of human rights violations in Saudi Arabia is too long to detail in this blog. Beheadings, public stonings, imprisonments, illegal search and seizures, imprisonment without cause or trial, and public floggings were common.
In Yemen, which the city of Jizan rested on the boarder, in many rural towns there are over 200 public executions per year, all performed by a “sherrif” or “public executioner.” If a person is found guilty of a crime, they are allowed to apologize to the family who then have the right to forgive, which means the person will keep their life, or pronounce a death sentence, which means the person will die right there on the spot. The accused will be publically stripped, a doctor will test the position of the heart and make a small mark on the back of the condemned person who will be bound, laid down in the dirt face first, and have a revolver placed on that mark, and shot with repeated gun blasts until pronounced dead.
Saudi Arabia became an absolute monarchy in 1932 when Abdulaziz bin Saud (better known as Ibn Saud), a desert warlord, defeated the Ottomans with the help of the British and defeated his rival Bedouin clans and proclaimed himself king. Since then, 100’s of trillions of dollars in oil money has been funneled into his family through a succession of princess. Over the last 80 years, monthly stipends of trillions and trillions of dollars are passed to his sons and grandsons and nephews and cousins and their sons creating one of the greatest crimes every perpetrated on all humanity. The amount of wealth stolen by the Saud family through oil price fixing and exporting, along with the shady business dealings around the world is astounding. While the numerous Arabian people live in absolute squalor and rubble, without education or the slightest understanding of what has happened, Saudi princess bask in unfathomable wealth and lavish lifestyle.
According to Sharia law, many things are illegal in Saudi Arabia including alcohol, pornography, and drugs which carry death sentences if discovered by authorities. There are no movie theaters in the country. Art is illegal. Play performances and public singing is illegal. Any reference to Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism is prohibited. I was warned against bringing a Bible into Saudi Arabia as it would certainly be confiscated and I would face imprisonment.
Rape is a common occurrence in Saudi Arabia. Both males and females are subject to this. Not just by Saudi men, but by illegal Bangladeshi and Indian laborers who attack families relaxing in the desert. One of the two women I spoke to in Saudi, a nurse from Australia, had survived a rape attack on the street when a group of men circled her in a car on a busy street, jumped out, and assaulted her in broad daylight.
Real change in Saudi Arabia is difficult. I believe the brave men who started the school I worked at outside of Jizan were visionaries, but ultimately overly susceptible to modern corruption, insatiable greed, and political ignorance. They became pawns in a thievery and rape of their country that trickles down from the very king himself that they were unable to avoid. This blog will detail these elaborate schemes in upcoming stories.