Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The rape weapon and the long arm of justice: East or West, is it simply a man's world or judiciary and government double standards ?

A couple of weeks ago the news outlets were busy with the story of the latest Saudi rape victim filled with outrage (as everyone should) at the fact that the victim was treated as a criminal and sentenced (gasp) to prison and 200 lashes. This crime happened in 2006 but seems to have come to light now. Rape is a crime and I have no other words to describe its potential for physical and emotional trauma. Saudi Arabia's judiciary was trashed for the way it handled the case. Human rights or the lack thereof were invoked...

You can read the details here and here. The case "has aroused controversy at home and condemnation abroad. US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said the sentence was an outrage and urged President Bush to put pressure on Saudi King Abdullah." Wow even foreign governments were getting involved... which I guess is good for the girl since apparently it resulted in her 'pardon' last week.

Meanwhile I'm wondering where is the international support for Jamie Leigh Jones also gang raped by her US compatriots in Iraq (in the Green Zone mind you) two years ago [ref]. Jamie has just now been able to voice her ordeal.

" I said, 'Dad, I've been raped. I don't know what to do. I'm in this container, and I'm not able to leave,'" she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. "We contacted the State Department first," Poe told, "and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen" -- from her American employer. Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones' camp, where they rescued her from the container." [source] and more of these stories are coming forward see here.

I have not seen the same level of condemnation as about the Saudi case in the world - very little about this case outside US media and nothing front page.
Strange.. clearly Jamie and the Saudi girl are both victims at the hands of men from their country. Jamie is seeking justice but her coworkers apparently have immunity and cannot be prosecuted.

While the Saudi girl got more than she bargained for by being put along with the accused- she still received justice because readers and governments alike have simply skimmed through the lines that mentioned " In October, the men were convicted and sentenced to two to nine years in prison for the assault." [ref]and went for the chance to bash some Arabs and Muslims.

The Qatif girl has the support of her family and so does Jamie, why the cover up in Iraq? it makes these people no different than the men in Saudi Arabia.
Finally it brings a sinister thought to my mind- if these contractors brought to rebuild Iraq could do this to one of their own and cover it up - what have they been doing to the Iraqi women/ men or children if some of them are gay or pedophiles?
They must be getting away with murder.


libyan. said...

It is sad that in a lot of cases, in the arab countries in General they are accusing the women in case of their rape of either going out late, or wearing something not propriate, etc. It is always the woman, it is never the man. It is a shame for the woman, she keeps quiet, what would the people say about the family? this is actually true. A girl in this situation needs help, medical, psyhocological, and social help. But she is more accused.

Anonymous said...

This article makes you sick.

They want to give 200 lashes to the lady, it is fine with me but at the same time they should hang the rapists from cranes as they do in Iran for rapists.


The Lost Libyano said...

Thank you for posting this.

To be honest I think this is the first fair and balanced outlook I have seen regarding the infamous "Saudi Rape Case" and the double standard the western media seem's to have against Arab's and Muslims.

Personally I felt that the rapist's should have been put to death. 2-9 year's in my opinion is a extremely lenient sentence for a crime of this magnitude. This crime is worthy of crucifiction under Islamic Law.

With that being said, the United State's in my opinion should keep its mouth shut when it comes to "rape victims and justice", they are by no mean's a moral authority on the issue.

According to U.S. Department of Justice over 250,780 American Women where raped in the 2005 year period alone. A staggering 15 out of 16 of the perpetrators of these rapes did not see a day in jail time.

The media has tried to turn the case into something it was not.

They attempted to portray the case as a perfect example of the fruit's of "Islamic Justice" when it comes to women!

Of course anyone even slightly acquainted with Islamic Jurisprudence would be bewildered by such a assertion. But the fact remains that the vast majority of people in west are not.

Most people's perceptions of Islam are based on absurd stereotypical images produced by a sensationalist western media, who would rather target and subject the Muslim "other" to a vulgar propaganda campaign, rather then face up and report the horrors which occur in their own morally bankrupt societies.

The media has this tendency of protraying the KSA as if they are somehow the perfect Muslim nation, a standard by which all other Muslim nation's are to be measured by.

They label them the "Ultra-Orthodox" Kingdom somehow implying that we Muslim who do not approve and condone their ruling's are not holding firm to our religion! As if we are Muslim's only by name and them by action. When in fact nothing could be further from the truth. Personally I am sick of it.


While I do sympathize and generally agree with your statement, the fact remain's the case of the Qutif girl had nothing to do with gender discrimination.

BOTH the male and female rape victims where sentenced to 200 lashes.

Thus from this little omitted detail one can deduce that the sentencing was NOT motivated by the gender of the victim, but rather by their religion.

One may conclude that since both the male and female victims of the rape who where sentenced adhered to the Shia religion, the sentence could have possibly been motivated by sectarian prejudices the judge presiding over the case may have held.

Which of course is by no mean's a excuse. God Almighty is very clear in the Quran when he state's:

O You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. DO NOT LET YOUR HATRED for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to faith. Heed God [alone]. God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 5:8)

The Lost Libyano said...

The fact remain's highlander, the reason why this case as well as many other's has not recivied international outcry and attention is because the perpetrator's of the crime where neither Arab's nor Muslim's.

Look no further then the reporting on Sudan.

While the civil war in the Darfur region is fairly brutal, (as all civil wars are), in a global context the causalities of the conflict are fairly insignificant when compared to number of causalities of atrocities committed within neighboring African Nations.

One must ask if the West is so concerned about the violence being perpetrated in the African continent, why have they remained completely silent about the dreadful events occurring within the Democratic, 80% Christian Majority, nation known as the Congo? A mere 200,000 people have been killed in the civil war in the Sudan while over 4 MILLION PEOPLE have been slaughtered in the Congolese conflict since it began in 1998! Making it the MOST DEADLY CONFLICT SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR!

Where are the concerned President's, Prime Minsters, and Dignitaries of the Western World? Where is The National Association Of Evangelicals, Christian Solidarity International and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops? Why have these organizations and others like them remained silent to the whole sale slaughter of MILLIONS of people in the Congo, yet have been so outspoken, in regards to a few thousand deaths in Sudan?

In terms of not only the numbers, but the sort of violence being perpetrated, and the individuals whom are being targeted,not only can the actions being perpetrated in the Congo be labeled as a genocide, they can also be labeled as femicide.

According to John Holmes the United Nations Secretary general for humanitarian affairs the sexual violence being perpetrated against women in the Congo is "the worse in the world". He goes on to reiterate that ,"The sheer numbers, the wholesale brutality, the culture of impunity — is appalling.". According to Denis Mukwege a Congolese gynecologist most of the female victims in the country have been so sadistically attacked, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair.
If this was not bad enough the violence is not only being perpetrated by average Mercenary, but also by the very so called protectors of the women of the Congo their husbands.
According to Alexandra Bilak the number of women abused and even killed by their husbands seemed to be going up and that brutality toward women had become "almost normal" in this traditional patricarcal Christian Society.

Not even female children are spared according to Alexandra "Some of these girls whose insides have been destroyed are so young that they don't understand what happened to them".

Andre Bourque states that Sexual violence in Congo reaches a level never reached anywhere else. It is even worse than in Rwanda during the genocide."

Violence against women is a problem in our region( as it is in every other region)
and the OIC should work much harder with member state's to combat it, as should local Imam's and Religouse leader's.

But as my above argument show's Arab and Muslim societies by no mean's have a monolpoly on violence against women.

Lebeeya said...

The last thing countries need is other countries telling them what to do when those own countries are not in order. Rape is a crime on the increase and happening everywhere in the world. Ethical Foreign Policy needs to be blind to religion.

This Saudi case has been widely reported... Just another great opportunity to bash muslims and Islam.

Highlander said...

Libyan - thanks yes it is sad that the woman is always accused of bringing the rape on herself, what about the men who get raped ?

Musiclover - I'm all for capital punishment for rapists!

LL good to see you back as well :) interesting research about congolese statistics.

Lebeeya- " The last thing countries need is other countries telling them what to do when those own countries are not in order." yep !

Maya M said...

Prosecuting rape is a problem in all countries known to me. In my country, although the identities of rapists are known in more than 80% of cases, only about 4% of them are convicted. They claim that the victim is lying, that it was consensual etc. And because it is largely a men's world, they too often are heard and believed. You understand that as long as this situation continues, I'm not going to look the USA under a magnifying glass.
The Saudi case is different. Here, the victim was about to be punished. This is bizarre and I don't find any ground for comparison with Jamie's case.
About MusicLover's reference to Iran - I don't know about cases of hanged rapists, I know about a hanged rape victim, a 16-year-old girl. See e.g.
The rapist was only lashed.

The Lost Libyano said...

Great to be back Highlander:)

About MusicLover's reference to Iran - I don't know about cases of hanged rapists

Here you go Maya:P

Now you know.

Countries should NEVER get involved in the internal affair's of other countries.......EVER.

Weather their affair's are in order or not. Hilary made a huge error in judgement in my opinion.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on the other hand handled the matter in a extreamly professional manner, and for that I applaud him.

He Stated that "this is a part of a judicial procedure overseas in the court of a sovereign country, I have nothing further to add." when asked about the whole Saudi affair.

The KSA is a sovereign nation state, and thus when it comes to it's internal affairs it answers to NO ONE . As a sovereign entity it has every right to use any form of coercion it deems necessary to punish anyone who falls under its jurisdiction, for the violation of the laws which its judiciary legislates.

I do not care if they strap suicide vest's to the chest's of people who park in the handicap spot in front of the super market, it's simply none of anyone's buisness. The West answers to no one in regards to the judicial proceedings which occur within its nations, why should Saudi Arabia or any other non-western nation for that matter?

If the Western World posses some self-rightouse "moral objection" to the Kingdoms judicial process they should refuse to engage in business with them, call home their ambassodrs, and stop guzzling the natural resources of the worlds most oil rich nation state.

Maya M said...

Hi, Lost Libyano! Nice to see you again. I had missed you. Thank you for the link.
"Countries should NEVER get involved in the internal affairs of other countries.......EVER."
Part of the value of a judgement comes from its source. And I am afraid that the above quote, coming from a person sitting comfortably in America, fails to impress me. It would be different if it were coming from a Bosnian or a Kosovar, for example. But, predictably, I haven't heard Bosnians or Kosovars say such things. In fact, I clearly remember Kosovars in early 1999 marching under the slogan "NATO, where are you?".
Even in Serbia, which was recently bombed, there are people who understand that foreign pressure is good when domestic public opinion cannot cope on its own. They are now seeking international support to save a nature park (details in my Dec. 9 post).
In countries like Saudi Arabia, where domestic public opinion isn't allowed to exist, nothing good will ever come unless from abroad. If you were in a Saudi prison, threatened to be severely lashed for nothing, perhaps you would change your opinion about "internal affairs".

Maya M said...

And another thing: if you, as a Muslim, disagree with the "tendency of portraying the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as if they are somehow the perfect Muslim nation, a standard by which all other Muslim nations are to be measured by", do NOT, ever, try to whitewash KSA by comparing them to other countries and claiming that what is happening there is comparable to something happening in X country.
Saudi Arabia is unique. I have never heard any citizen or guest of this country say a single good word about it. And I have never heard any news from there that doesn't sound insane. In which other country little girls aren't allowed to escape a burning building because of "not being properly dressed" (i.e. barehead)? I don't know such a country.
"If the Western World poses some self-rightous "moral objection" to the Kingdom's judicial process... they should refuse to engage in business with them... and stop guzzling the natural resources of the world's most oil rich nation state."
I would put this the other way round: if Saudi rulers don't want their resources guzzled by people criticizing them, they should refuse to engage in business with Westerners and sell all of their oil to China or, alternatively, eat and drink it.

programmer craig said...

Hi Lost Libyano,

The KSA is a sovereign nation state, and thus when it comes to it's internal affairs it answers to NO ONE .

That's an interesting comment. Would you say the same when it comes to Israel? Or would you say something different?

How about Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s?

It seems to me that the "internal affairs" of sovereign nations are very much the concern of the whole world, sometimes. Rightly or wrongly.

PS-I only mentioned Israel because I wanted to point out your apparent double-standard, in a comment to a post that was about double standards :)

Benghazi Citizen said...

Very excellent post..
You made a great point of view by comparing the 2 case of both the american and the saudi girls..
Yes,the way that judges dealt with the case is out rageous ,and i don't think islamic in any way,it just presents the opinion of some fanatic men-judges or no judges-in a male dominanted society..
I have to say that i really do have much respect to the husband ,whose support and standing by his wife is a great ,touching move ,i had to mention.
Rape is a crime ,it has no excuse ..The verdict against those criminals were in my opinion less than what they deserve.But at lkeast they are behind bars.
I'm releifed to know the poor girl had a pardon..
I hope this case will raise discussion to surface for positive change in Saudia.
And you are right about the suspecious motivation of this extensive media coverage for a case in islamic country..
One last point ,i read the articles through the links in your post..
I was specially disturbed by 4 lines written by Chris Jones .It goes like this:(I have been a strident defender of allowing contractors to be immune from prosecution in Iraq. I don't really lose any sleep over Blackwater having to shoot one or more people for whatever reason.

Immunity for "contractor on Iraqi" crime is one thing, but I never considered that immunity would extend to "contractor on contractor" crimes. Or more specifically "American on American" crimes. Shooting an Iraqi in a war zone is one thing, but American contractors gang-raping a 20-year old American woman is f*cking outrageous.
He don't mind for those contractors to have crimes against innocent iraqi people ,but he has issues when this immunity protect thos contractors when it comes to crimes against americans????
It is a joke..Sadly
Thank you very much

Highlander said...

Benghazi Citizen - I was disturbed by the same lines and was waiting to see who would go and actually read my links and notice those lines as I wanted to make a post about them. You have just proven to me that somebody can actually read a whole link and understand the things I sometimes indirectly refer too. I hoped his opinion was a joke but I am afraid the guy was dead serious :(

Benghazi Citizen said...

Yeah,i believe he was dead serious too..His attitude is clearly a racist one.
Fanatics on all sides make life unbearable.

Thank you

Maya M said...

Highlander, you definitely raise the bar high for your readers :-).
I admit I checked your link only after reading the last exchange of comments between you and Benghazi Citizen. The article you linked, however, is apparently popular; I'd read a post by a US blogger who had mentioned the same thing in it:
"Chris Jones at Red State says he believes her story and is outraged. He doesn't mind if Halliburton/KBR employees rape and murder Iraqis, but he absolutely puts his foot down when it comes to raping Americans. That is going too far."

The Lost Libyano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.