Friday, October 25, 2013

Saudi Arabia: The Most Repressive Place in the World?

It sure looks like it. Not only can't you drive a car there if you're a chick, you can't even express your support for a chick's right to drive:
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: Saudi officials say the country’s codes against political dissent on the Internet will be applied to anyone offering online support for a planned protest by women challenging the male-only driving rules in the kingdom. 
The warning comes ahead of a campaign by Saudi women to get behind the wheel on Saturday in defiance of Saudi traditions. The Internet has been a key tool in organizing the protest and reaching out to media. 
Friday’s edition of the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat quotes Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Turki Al-Faisal as saying cyber-laws could apply to anyone supporting the women driving campaign. Conviction can bring up to five-year prison sentences.
Crazy. However, we here in Canada should not be smug about our own dedication to "human rights"--not when we import this sort of repression and disguise it with the smiley face of "multiculturalism":
There is now extensive literature on immigrant women and their attitudes relating to health care. The most common concern South Asian women identify is the insistence of husbands (and/or his family members) that they accompany them into the examining room. This is a practice tolerated by many doctors from the South Asian community, even when language is not a barrier. This inhibits women from speaking freely about their symptoms or feelings.
To recap: In Saudi Arabia, women can't drive. In Canada, some South Asian women can't see their doctors unless their husband comes along.

So much for Canadian freedom.

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