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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Women Beware

Women Beware: Saudia Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women's Equality

The Saudi regime is notorious for its abysmal treatment of women.

It’s hard to sink to a greater depth of hypocrisy than voting Saudi Arabia onto a UN Commission charged with promoting women’s equality and empowerment. And yet, on April 23rd, that is precisely what the UN Economic and Social Council did. Of the 54 countries on the Council, 47 of them agreed to add Saudi Arabia to a four-year term on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

How did the US Ambassador to the UN and the democratic champions of Europe vote? The ballot was secret, and is it any wonder that the UN representatives refuse to reveal their votes? What is undeniable, however,  is that the Saudis could not have received 47 votes without support from the Western democracies. 
The Saudi regime is notorious for its abysmal treatment of women. Outside the home, women are forced to wear an abaya, a loose-fitting black cloak that conceals the shape of their bodies, and a hijab, or headscarf, to cover their hair. The fundamentalist dress code is enforced by zealous religious police who fine and beat women who dare to violate the code. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women from driving, a practice that severely limits women’s independence and autonomy.
Saudi Arabia is unquestionably the most gender-segregated society in the world. The government enforces sex segregation in virtually all workplaces except hospitals, and fines businesses that fail to comply. In food outlets, including US chains such as McDonalds or KFC, all lines and eating areas are separated to keep unrelated men and women apart. The men’s section is usually the airy, front section, while the women and children are relegated to the back, shielded from public view. The majority of public buildings have separate entrances for men and women; some even ban women from entering.

The most oppressive aspect of life for Saudi women is the strict guardianship system. This system requires every female, from birth to death, to have a male guardian who controls her ability to travel, study, work, marry or even seek certain forms of medical attention.
Saudi women campaigning for women’s rights denounced the addition of Saudi Arabia to the UN Commission. “Allowing this oppressive regime to join a commission designed to empower women makes me feel personally violated and invisible and it is demoralizing for us as activists,” an anonymous Saudi woman seeking asylum in the United States told me. “It sends a message that for the international community, Saudi wealth and power are more important than women’s lives.”

Saudi Arabia is probably the worst country in the world to be put on a women’s commission shaping global standards on gender equality, not only because of its treatment of Saudi women but also because the regime uses its oil wealth to export misogyny abroad. Saudi Arabia spreads its reactionary version of Islam through the thousands of mosques and schools it builds overseas, as well as through the funding of extremist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates. Wherever Saudi influence appears around the world, women lose rights and autonomy.
For Saudi Arabia, a top U.S. ally, a position on the Women’s Commission is a way to further whitewash its image and keep the organization from shining a spotlight on Saudi abuses. This was the same rationale for the regime to seek, and obtain, a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. While such positions may burnish the image of the Saudi regime, they tarnish the image of the UN itself, showing that money takes precedence over the principles of human rights and equality that the United Nations was created to uphold.
One can only imagine the suggestions the Saudi reps will come up with when addressing the UN Commission’s mission to assess the challenges to gender equality. It is doubtful they will ever suggest that the Saudi regime itself, and its support from Western allies, is a global obstacle that women must struggle to overcome. So it is up to women everywhere to call for the Saudis to be kicked off the Commission so that it can be a space truly dedicated to the empowerment of women.


Medea Benjamin (medea@globalexchange.org),is an American political activist, best known for co-founding Code Pink and, along with activist and author Kevin Danaher, the fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange. Medea is  author of a forthcoming book on Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of the Unjust.



Libertas aut Mors Semper Vigilans Fortis
Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FREEDOM OR ANARCHY Campaign of Conscience


We shouldn't be so quick to get on our high horses! 

We need to remember that women in the Western "democracies" didn't have any standing as humans until the First World War, about the time that the West was planning to allow the Zionists to describe the Arabs in Palestine as "non-Jews". 
It was the US that got the Saudis into power in the Bedouin Arab Peninsular too.
I agree that the saudi regime is by far the most oppressive and disgusting, and to top it off gives a very bad name to the Prophetic teachings of the beloved Rasul. And although i agree with some of what Medea has said, I would like to ask her if she herself has been to the al-hijaz (i refuse to call it Saudi Arabia... for the Arabian continent is vast and they are not the rulers of it all). It is not that the segregation is confined to al-hijaz, but if you go to say Japan or Korea, they have train cars that are segregated. In Pakistan and India the same, in fact their restaurants and yes, some weddings and other gatherings are segregated. Why? Well because the men in these places can't keep their hands and other body parts to themselves. Having experienced this first hand, i can tell you for a fact that this happens and that it is a totally violating experience, where some men feel it is their right to be able to touch women. Not only are the hands on the move, the weight of the stare also is intolerable. I live in Singapore at the moment, and i get it all the time.... to the point i am vocal about it. This is the nature of some men, and it is the men who make the women feel unsafe. So yes, kick the bastards out of the UN... but then again, the UN is nothing but a tool anyway. 
Again, although i agree with much of what Medea has said, she is applying her own experience of living in a place where women's rights were fought for no more than 60 years ago and have not been fully implemented. Try visiting some these places and understanding why the reasons for segregation are in force. 7 times out of 10 it isn't what our 'liberal' minds think it is.


Women Beware: Saudia Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women's Equality

The Saudi regime is notorious for its abysmal treatment of women.

It’s hard to sink to a greater depth of hypocrisy than voting Saudi Arabia onto a UN Commission charged with promoting women’s equality and empowerment. And yet, on April 23rd, that is precisely what the UN Economic and Social Council did. Of the 54 countries on the Council, 47 of them agreed to add Saudi Arabia to a four-year term on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

How did the US Ambassador to the UN and the democratic champions of Europe vote? The ballot was secret, and is it any wonder that the UN representatives refuse to reveal their votes? What is undeniable, however,  is that the Saudis could not have received 47 votes without support from the Western democracies. 
The Saudi regime is notorious for its abysmal treatment of women. Outside the home, women are forced to wear an abaya, a loose-fitting black cloak that conceals the shape of their bodies, and a hijab, or headscarf, to cover their hair. The fundamentalist dress code is enforced by zealous religious police who fine and beat women who dare to violate the code. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women from driving, a practice that severely limits women’s independence and autonomy.
Saudi Arabia is unquestionably the most gender-segregated society in the world. The government enforces sex segregation in virtually all workplaces except hospitals, and fines businesses that fail to comply. In food outlets, including US chains such as McDonalds or KFC, all lines and eating areas are separated to keep unrelated men and women apart. The men’s section is usually the airy, front section, while the women and children are relegated to the back, shielded from public view. The majority of public buildings have separate entrances for men and women; some even ban women from entering.

The most oppressive aspect of life for Saudi women is the strict guardianship system. This system requires every female, from birth to death, to have a male guardian who controls her ability to travel, study, work, marry or even seek certain forms of medical attention.
Saudi women campaigning for women’s rights denounced the addition of Saudi Arabia to the UN Commission. “Allowing this oppressive regime to join a commission designed to empower women makes me feel personally violated and invisible and it is demoralizing for us as activists,” an anonymous Saudi woman seeking asylum in the United States told me. “It sends a message that for the international community, Saudi wealth and power are more important than women’s lives.”

Saudi Arabia is probably the worst country in the world to be put on a women’s commission shaping global standards on gender equality, not only because of its treatment of Saudi women but also because the regime uses its oil wealth to export misogyny abroad. Saudi Arabia spreads its reactionary version of Islam through the thousands of mosques and schools it builds overseas, as well as through the funding of extremist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates. Wherever Saudi influence appears around the world, women lose rights and autonomy.
For Saudi Arabia, a top U.S. ally, a position on the Women’s Commission is a way to further whitewash its image and keep the organization from shining a spotlight on Saudi abuses. This was the same rationale for the regime to seek, and obtain, a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. While such positions may burnish the image of the Saudi regime, they tarnish the image of the UN itself, showing that money takes precedence over the principles of human rights and equality that the United Nations was created to uphold.
One can only imagine the suggestions the Saudi reps will come up with when addressing the UN Commission’s mission to assess the challenges to gender equality. It is doubtful they will ever suggest that the Saudi regime itself, and its support from Western allies, is a global obstacle that women must struggle to overcome. So it is up to women everywhere to call for the Saudis to be kicked off the Commission so that it can be a space truly dedicated to the empowerment of women.


Medea Benjamin (medea@globalexchange.org),is an American political activist, best known for co-founding Code Pink and, along with activist and author Kevin Danaher, the fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange. Medea is  author of a forthcoming book on Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of the Unjust.



Libertas aut Mors Semper Vigilans Fortis
Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FREEDOM OR ANARCHY Campaign of Conscience


We shouldn't be so quick to get on our high horses! 

We need to remember that women in the Western "democracies" didn't have any standing as humans until the First World War, about the time that the West was planning to allow the Zionists to describe the Arabs in Palestine as "non-Jews". 
It was the US that got the Saudis into power in the Bedouin Arab Peninsular too.
I agree that the saudi regime is by far the most oppressive and disgusting, and to top it off gives a very bad name to the Prophetic teachings of the beloved Rasul. And although i agree with some of what Medea has said, I would like to ask her if she herself has been to the al-hijaz (i refuse to call it Saudi Arabia... for the Arabian continent is vast and they are not the rulers of it all). It is not that the segregation is confined to al-hijaz, but if you go to say Japan or Korea, they have train cars that are segregated. In Pakistan and India the same, in fact their restaurants and yes, some weddings and other gatherings are segregated. Why? Well because the men in these places can't keep their hands and other body parts to themselves. Having experienced this first hand, i can tell you for a fact that this happens and that it is a totally violating experience, where some men feel it is their right to be able to touch women. Not only are the hands on the move, the weight of the stare also is intolerable. I live in Singapore at the moment, and i get it all the time.... to the point i am vocal about it. This is the nature of some men, and it is the men who make the women feel unsafe. So yes, kick the bastards out of the UN... but then again, the UN is nothing but a tool anyway. 
Again, although i agree with much of what Medea has said, she is applying her own experience of living in a place where women's rights were fought for no more than 60 years ago and have not been fully implemented. Try visiting some these places and understanding why the reasons for segregation are in force. 7 times out of 10 it isn't what our 'liberal' minds think it is.




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