Boycott Saudi Arabia
Support human rights and end the arms trade with religious fascists.
The backward and abusive Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is again making clear its views on free speech. Recently its fundamentalist patriarchs sentenced blogger Raif Badawi to 1000 lashes for criticizing Islam. This may well kill him.
Raif, who started the Liberal Saudi Network, has been lashed and is dying in Saudi prison. Of course his website was closed down by Saudi’s religious courts. Raif’s family are safe in Quebec as political refugees, yet the western world still trades happily and freely with this utterly oppressive regime.
Remind me why we trade with – and show reverence to – these totalitarian misogynists?
That’s right, oil. And weapons.
Let’s make a few points very clear:
- Do Not moralize about trade with socialist Cuba or even troubled Venezuela, when truly dictatorial Saudi Arabia enjoys unparalleled access to power in the United States and the western world.
- Do Not claim ‘cultural differences’ when we all participate in the same integrated world economy – an economy highly dependant upon fossil fuels.
Saudi Arabia is not a good place. 50% of the population is entirely cut out from any outward social participation. As dictated by the Kingdom’s version of Islam, women are hidden, uneducated and cannot drive. If a woman is raped, it is her fault and she may be flogged for it. This is entirely unacceptable.
Despite virtually unimaginable wealth, derived almost entirely from oil, Saudi Arabia keeps its citizens oppressed while its leaders fly off to their properties in Switzerland, London and the US where they drink, party and dictate: “do as I say, not as I do!”
Yet we in the west remain heavily involved with Saudi Arabia. Even long after clear evidence the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on New York were Saudi’s and firm believers in the Saudi version of Islam.
All the arms trade, military training, oil deals and manipulated national borders throughout the Middle East and Central Asia are stained by the worst of European colonization and the cold war. The west trained mujaheddin fighters and the Taliban to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. This is after the British previously ruled the region with an iron fist. The west has often supported wrong side in so many conflicts.
It is simply time to back away and support human rights.
Oil matters, but as I listen to debates about the Keystone pipeline from Alberta into the USA, I cannot help but think the debate is entirely misdirected. Let’s be really honest about who our friends are!
I fully admit to living in Alberta but also proudly argue that I recently voted with the majority of Albertans to elect a progressive women premier from a moderately left-wing, human rights-oriented party. Imagine that in Saudi Arabia.
Or imagine that in Iraq. After hundreds of thousands of lost lives and now the rise of Isis, it is important of us to remember back to the images of Rumsfeld shaking hands with his great friend Saddam Hussain. Perhaps we should remember back to the French regimes in Syria and Lebanon or the British administration of Palestine.
Let’s not try to invade anymore countries in a region of such violence, but let’s not support anymore outrageous dictators. Cut them off.
Fossil fuels are really bad yet really necessary. The G7 recently agreed to phase out carbon as a means of power over the next 85 years – a lofty and somewhat timely goal. Until then, the world still needs oil. We can find it in good (or at least better) places too.
As we have witnessed the effect of crumbling oil prices (driven by Saudi Arabia’s desire to quash extraction in North America) on the global economy, why don’t we simply boycott the backward desert dictatorship? This would support our own industries and those of countries willing to ratify constitutions in favour of universal human rights.
As a popular comedian in the United States pointed out; “the first amendment gives me public and absolute right to criticize the second amendment!” Public debate is healthy and good.
In Saudi Arabia, almost any form of public debate can result in floggings, prison or death. I want to support Raif Badawi by hurting the polygamist Saudi dictators by not selling them arms and not buying their oil. Cut them off and save the world from this medieval band of oligarchs.
The internet has given the world a forum for conversation even more revolutionary than television or the printing press. We must not only globalize industry and not rights. There is some point at which we collectively cannot tolerate intolerance.
The insatiable beast that is Saudi Arabia is fed by the global economy, so let’s allow them to sink back into their mystic Bedouin world of their religion and philosophy and then let’s see how much control the house of Saud maintains.
Share this blog, write to your politicians and tell them NO MORE TRADE with Saudi Arabia until, at the very least, Raif Badawi is reunited with his family. No oil, no arms, no international legitimacy. Let’s remind our politicians that regardless how profitable the arms trade may be, war is never good business.