Thursday, December 20, 2007

Saudi King pardons ‘Qatif Girl’.

The case of a woman who had met with an unrelated man has been resolved. (From the point of view of international opinion.) She will no longer be punished by the Saudi judicial system. She and an unrelated man were caught together by 7 or 8 men and both raped. They were then convicted of "improper mingling" and sentenced to 6 months in prison and 200 lashes. This does sound like a set-up. Seven or eight men just happened upon these two, and knew that they were unrelated? And they raped them both? Rape has a rather strong stigma attached to it in that culture. This act appears planned. Possible they were having an affair?

I have searched and searched and have not been able to find out if the man she had been with was also let off. If you have knowledge about this, please leave a comment. It would not surprise me to find out that he is still to be punished. If this case were not so public, I would expect her to be killed within a short period of time. The dishonor she has brought upon her family is, in that culture, punishable by death. (Different from pre-war Japan in that you had to kill yourself.) Not everyone in this culture would kill their own sister or daughter, but many would. In many cases, her own family would likely be the driving force behind her death. In that culture, killing her is an act of penance. Cleansing the family honor. In our culture, it is murder. I think of this as being important because if this is how this culture handles people whom you care a great deal about, how will the same culture handle situations with people who are not close to you? How about people who do not belong within your culture? Most likely, not any better. Possibly, much worse.

How does this pertain to warfare? Although these events are not part of an actual war, the underlying cultural differences are influencing forces behind the conflict. The legal system of the United States and Saudi Arabia (Based upon Islamic law) are so different that they can be seen as being hostile to each other.

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