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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Monday, October 10, 2005

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.


At 10/10/2005 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Basbooos said...

well said.. and yes as a woman i am very proud of rania el baz..i have been thinking about these two incidents for a few days now...Its interesting to see that a guy is defending women rights while these saudi women even denied the fact that they are being abused...such a strange world it is...

At 10/16/2005 07:19:00 AM, Anonymous Ana said...

rania's husband kicked her ass but
he was jailed so where is the
problem? women every wehre get
their asses kicked by jerks so
why is it a big issue when it happenes in saudi?

I am an American who lives
in the U.S and i can tell u
that many women get their asses
kicked by their husbands and
boy friends and sometimes those
jerks get away with it. at least
the guy in saudi was jalied.

also i do not understand why
do you try to makes it sounds
like every women saudi is being
mistreated? we all know that
can't be true..so whom are u
trying to fool here?

At 12/05/2005 01:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ana: He was finally jailed, after how many attempts by the authorities to ignore or disuade her?

He was jailed for beating her "to the degree where he thought she was dead."

That's not a beating, that's attempted murder. Under Sharia, the penalty for murder is execution. What is the penalty under Sharia for attempted murder? Don't know, but I suspect it would be a bit more dire than some jail time. Sheesh.

In fact, if http://members.internettrash.com/rolfbmiller/engl-akt4.html is accurate, his charge was reduced (?!?) from attempted murder to severe battery, and got 6 months in jail and 300 lashes. The Arab News, no less, notes, "The sentence is relatively lenient for such cases, according to Al-Khouli [Al-Baz's lawyer], but the judge took several mitigating factors into consideration. What they were Al-Khouli declined to say."

Do you really think her husband is a still a fit father for their children? If Saudi is little different than other countries with respect to wife beating, shouldn't it be a no-brainer that the kids should be as isolated as possible from the abusive and violent father? Yet, we read, "According to Shariah, in the event of a divorce, the mother gets custody of the children until the age of seven; after that, a boy is given the option of staying with his father or mother, with the other parent given visitation rights. Girls are given to the father.

"Exceptions are made in unusual circumstances; however, in Saudi courts, judges usually rule in favor of the father, regardless of his character or ability to support the children."

And, "In the meantime, Al-Fallatta is making the case difficult by refusing to agree to a divorce, which leaves the judge with the option of revoking the marriage contract"

I guess he's not grateful for the lenient sentence...


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