We are extremely pained to see that the Human rights situation in Arabia is getting worse day by day. There has been hope and expectations among western diplomats and heads of governments to the effect that situations will get better considering the fact that KSA sits on the Human Rights council. Now it is revealed before the entire world that any hope as to the democratization or compliance to human rights in the case of Saudi Arabia are illusions far removed from realities. While a Non Governmental Organization raised the issue of HR abuses, the position in the council was misused by the representative of KSA to obstruct discussion. The presidium had to over rule their points of order. It is to be feared that in stead of correcting themselves, they will try to do every thing in their might to corrupt even the international body. Are we going to realize that wealth is might and might is prone to be misused ?
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al- Saud has been considered as forward looking and reformist. When closely observed, it becomes clear that the very small steps taken end up as ploys to distract the attention of critics. Whatever his personal desires or hopes, his country remains a stumbling block to any attempt at a Muslim renaissance. Viewed from this perspective, the meager measures that have been publicized and welcomed by the civilized world cannot but be understood as taken under pressure and amounts but to calculated maneuvers. When he decided to allow twenty percent participation for women in the Shoora council, it was even hailed as a historic decision.
Let us assume that the twenty per cent will work as one block and raise issues in one voice. When it comes to matters which go beyond the Salafi interpreted clauses of Sharia, there is no chance of those getting approved. In a society in which male guardianship is deemed a morally acceptable edict, no effective liberation of women is possible. There wont be change in dress code of women. They wont be allowed to mix with men in public. They wont be allowed to drive their vehicles if not accompanied by a male relative. Children are indoctrinated in their early years. What decisions does the king expect the women will take which the clergy can approve without challenging? The step is destined to end up a mere eye wash!
How can the Saudi society welcome decisions if at all taken by the women representatives if they go against the traditional norms? How far can a King go against the fanatic clergy? How can he put through reforms while persons directly opposite to his ideology are in charge of vitally important departments?
The fact that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an anachronism is already clear to the civilized world. How can changes be brought about? Either the Wahabi clergy should obediently bow before the monarch's wishes for reform or the Custodian of the two sacred shrines should take upon himself the additional burden of divinity. Facts of Saudi life reveal to us that neither of these is possible. Repeated requests for reform have been ignored or crushed in revenge.
One of the ways to bring about democratic changes is by imparting human rights awareness among the masses. Ironically, the Saudi Judiciary and its police target lawyers and activists who stand for human rights. The sentence slapped on Waleed Abul Khair is being characterized as the most heinous attack on liberty and democratic awareness in this perspective.
Waleed Abul Khair argued the case of Raif Badawi. In this age of self expression and demands for net neutrality, blogging is a crime in Saudi Arabia. Sophisticated individuals heard the sentence of 1000 lashes to a blogger with shudder.