Saudi Arabia: Non-Existent Rights Nation
As a Libertarian, I view freedom of speech as an inherent right to all individuals, regardless of their creed. Time and time again, Saudi Arabia has proved to be a polar opposite to that ideal, condemning civilians to death as a result of their criticism concerning the government, Islam and the Prophet Mohamed. Saudi Arabia is comparable to “Big Brother” in the novel “1984”, an archaic government which quells the right to free speech as well as censoring information which may be deemed accusatory of the Arabian Kingdom’s values.
Ahmad Al-Shamri, a scathing critic of the Prophet Mohamed and the Saudi government, has been sentenced to death for utilizing his rights as a citizen. His charges as per the government include blasphemy and atheism. Al Shamri’s lawyer had to commit to a astounding feat of mental gymnastics, claiming that Al Shamri was under the influence of alcohol while making disparaging remarks about the Prophet Mohamed, an incredibly sacred figure to to the conservative kingdom. It was all to no avail, as the critic will be put to death most likely through the antiquated means of beheading.
Saudi Arabia has a long running history concerning human rights violations. The non-progressive gulf state executed a staggering 158 people in 2015 according to human rights group Reprieve. Women are also treated as sub human in the nation, with them being unable to drive cars, swim, compete in sports and spend a substantial amount of time with their male counterparts. These are the everyday activities that too many of us take for granted. There is also a recurring issue involving migrant workers, whom are persistently treated as second class citizens and forcibly worked to death during large scale construction projects.
For years now, Saudi Arabia has been a major trade partner with the United States. 2013 Financial statistics indicates that 19 billion dollars worth of exports flowed to Saudi Arabia, while 51.8 billion dollars worth of imports flowed in the U.S.
I often find it peculiar that in the world that we live, states such as Saudi Arabia are allowed to roam free and commit heinous human rights violations. Where is the outcry that one expects to be present?
Saudi Arabia is very much comparable to the reprehensible regime of Nazi Germany (excuse the obvious cliche). It acts as a ruthless dictatorship which pulverizes criticism with an iron fist. How is it possible that in today’s society, systems of governance like this are still permitted to exist? Saudi Arabia lags behind Western civilization to an astonishing degree, with its progressivism seemingly being non existent.
Critics of the state have been spewing rhetoric for decades now, but little action has been fully undertaken against the oil giant. I believe that is time to take that major step and to commit to a mass action.
Donald Trump, arguably the current leader of the free world needs to be more outspoken on the subject of human rights violations in the middle eastern state. The U.S president recently spoke out about funding the trade partner, saying that: “Frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia.” With hope, Trump continues this rhetoric, which will evoke other world leaders to commit to addressing the Saudi problem.
Angela Merkel recently paid a state visit to the kingdom, and made note not to wear a headscarf, as a form of protest against the monarchy’s harsh subjugation of women. Merkel has also been involved in pushing for a ban of the burka in Germany, declaring that it keeps women from feeling truly free.
We need people to speak to power. In the year 2017, the violent repression of human beings should not be permitted to exist in any conceivable form. French social theorist Michel Foucault, stated that: “Where there is power, there is resistance.” This message should resonate inside all of us, whether we live in a state of oppression or freedom, and the ideals which we should instill in ourselves are to care for one other, but also to be persistent in the face of tyranny.