Rania El Baz escapes Saudi
Remember how those hand-picked Saudi women gave Karen Hughes a hard time about how Saudi women are not opressed? Rememebr how i noted on how they must say that, or else they will get their ass kicked at home? Now Remember that Episode on Oprah where they brought on the story of Rania El-Baz, the Saudi TV presenter, whose Husband beat the shit out of her to the degree where he thought she was dead and how she broke the silence on saudi domestic abuse by agreeing to show her face? Well, if you missed it, that's what happend, and now she has escaped Saudi- after not being allowed to leave it- and is now safe and sound in Paris, where no one can beat her up, and her views on what goes on in Saudi do not go well at all with what those women told Karen Hughes. After 12 operations, Baz has recovered her beauty - if anything, the few scars that remain are cogent, rather than disfiguring. She sips a glass of St Emilion and emphasises that she is a devout Muslim - "but I do not think about who is Muslim or who is Christian - we all come from God." But, she adds, "none of this is about a religion, it is about society. What happened to me happens to women all over the world. But you can take what happens to women all over the world, and in Saudi Arabia, multiply it by ten. "It is a society in which we have the worst of all worlds. We have a private, closed society according to the Bedouin tribal system, mixed with Givenchy and the invasion of technology from the west. We have the traditions of the Bedouin equipped with every technological gadget you can imagine. And then we have the people who hate anything American or western. And all the world sees is an Arab country, full of oil and full of money." [...] For all her moments of doubt, Baz has fundamentally challenged the culture of silence in her country over violence against women. "In our country, if a woman complains to the police or a member of the family that her husband is violent, she is told to be patient, men are like that. What will the neighbours say? What will your family and friends say? Do nothing, otherwise he will divorce you - you will be a divorced woman, a whore, you will lose your future. So if a woman is abused, there is this mixture of humiliation and pride. She is afraid of speaking out, of being criticised. She wants to keep this perfect image of a woman." "And this is what we have to change among women. We have to change ourselves, to awaken women who think that for her husband to beat her is normal, and that she must remain silent in public." Rania El Baz, we salute you for your courage and candor. Let's hope things do change over there.