Innocents Abroad


A liberal Saudi journalist writes about the perils of being a reformer in Riyadh, where criticizing Wahabbism got him sentenced to 75-lashes with a whip. He refused to show up for the punishment, and his fate remains to be seen.

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  1. Julian, thanks for posting this. Items like this should remind us who the real bad guys are, and who the real tyrants are. They’re not Aschcroft or Bush or the neo-cons.

  2. Eric –
    You’re all bad-guys until proven otherwise. 😉

  3. Neb,
    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty!

  4. Well, obviously, there are plenty of worse enemies of freedom out there than the folks in the administration. But I don’t know that we shouldn’t worry about PATRIOT, say, just because the Saudis have it far worse.

  5. “Items like this should remind us who the real bad guys are, and who the real tyrants are. They’re not Aschcroft or Bush or the neo-cons.”

    So in other words, because some tyrant in another country is worse than the tyrants in our country (Bush and Ashcroft among others)ours really aren’t “real” tyrants and shouldn’t be criticized. Yeah that makes sense….

  6. dammit…julian beat me by 3 minutes

  7. really aren’t “real” tyrants and shouldn’t be criticized. Yeah that makes sense….

    When did he say that? I’m not reading any “they’re above criticism” sentiment in his post.

    He said essentially that the real, i.e., compelling tyrants are in S.A., and that our difficulties over the rights of freedom from unreasonable searches and wiretaps and whatnot pale in comparison to the difficulties for a people who can be whipped 75 times for speaking out against some silly flavor of an anachronistic tribal religion.

  8. I don’t know anybody in the antiwar crowd – except maybe Justin Raimondo – that thinks the Saudis are anything other than enemies of freedom.

    In fact, one of my criticisms of Bush is that he has attacked Iraq over 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Even Howard Dean has pointed out that Saudi Arabia is an enemy of America, and an enemy of freedom.

    When Bush made a compelling case against the Taliban as oppressors of the Afghan people, I looked at the Amnesty International report on Saudi Arabia, and saw that many Taliban practices were taken direct from their Saudi mentors. Yet there was no outrage against the Saudis from the White House.

    Some neocons have criticized Saudi Arabia – and that is where I agree with them.

  9. rst,

    Maybe we’re just interpreting it differently. Looked like to me eric was trying to excuse Bush et al, by comparing them to a tyrant everyone would agree is much worse.

  10. Please follow up on this article. This guy has a brass pair and I would like to know how it turns out. Regretfully I feel the worst will happen, but he sure does impress me.

  11. rst had my comment about right. I never said Patriot wasn’t a concern, or that Bush et al shouldn’t be criticized. It’s just that we tend to get so passionate and fired up about issues here that we tend to forget how much worse much of the world is. In total, we have it pretty good here. Could be better, but it could be a whole lot worse. Like in Saudi Arabia.

  12. The PATRIOT Act would be a revolutionary step forward in Saudi Arabia. Not that it isn’t a step back for us, but a little reminder of these things periodically isn’t a bad idea.

  13. You know Matt, I feel sorry for you. You clearly suffer from a severe poverty of imagination. Bush and Ashcroft are tyrants, along with others in this country? Please.

    If that was the case, your hyperbolic ass would be rotting in Gitmo as I type this.

    Could you please try to come up with a better adjective for Bush & Ashcroft? Maybe statist Wilsonian, and constitutionally tone deaf evangelical, respectively? Tyrants? Please. All you do is devalue the word tyrant, so that when we use it to describe a murderous, genocidal thug like Robert Mugabe, in everybody’s mind Mugabe is not a monster, but is merely as evil as the President who implemented some wrongheaded (but probably not evil) policy ideas. So Mugabe is bad, but no worse than a president who is still pretty popular and thought to be not the worst president in living memory, by a lot of reasonable folks. Frankly, it comes off as sort of hysterical, and if you really believe it that strongly, shouldn’t you be storming the White House with a pitchfork, or something like that? I mean, if he is a tyrant, and you aren’t taking radical action, why then, you are complicit in tyranny – at least as much as the hated ‘enry Kissinger is for his tacit approval of Pinochet’s actions…

  14. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/20/2004 11:10:01
    An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger

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