A Textbook case of Intolerance...those damn Saudi's again - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-22-2008, 07:23 PM   #1
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A Textbook case of Intolerance...those damn Saudi's again

I've always held to the fact that of all the countries in the Middle East the worst country in the whole area is Saudi Arabia. In fact Saudi Arabia makes Iran look like Disneyland by comparison in the way it treats it's female population as well as other "human rights". They are a hideous lot - here is yet another example of these Muslim Pharisees.

Changing the world one schoolbook at a time. - By Anne Applebaum - Slate Magazine
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:52 PM   #2
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Your manner of framing the topic could do with some nuancing, to put it mildly.

Concerning the textbooks, there is really very little anyone outside Saudi Arabia can do about what the Saudi Ministry of Education puts in its textbooks. Nor are most Saudis in any position to do anything about it either. My impression from the few Saudis I've spoken to about their education system is that many of its religious-curriculum materials are widely regarded as tiresome propaganda one must simply put up with as the price of securing a free education, much as schoolchildren under the Soviet regime often had to put up with copious, heavy-handed propaganda intended to promote the official ideology of the state.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Vest View Post
I've always held to the fact that of all the countries in the Middle East the worst country in the whole area is Saudi Arabia. In fact Saudi Arabia makes Iran look like Disneyland by comparison in the way it treats it's female population as well as other "human rights". They are a hideous lot - here is yet another example of these Muslim Pharisees.

Changing the world one schoolbook at a time. - By Anne Applebaum - Slate Magazine
This entire thread is a textbook case of intolerance. Frankly, I feel offended on behalf of the people you have just dismissed with such contempt.

I do not wish to get into personal anecdotes here, but I feel it might be necessary in this case. Very few Western people have had the opportunity to live in Saudi Arabia. My family and I are some of the lucky exceptions. We lived in a rural - and therefore extremely religious - part of the country for four years. It is not the horrible, backward place you seem to think it is. Every single insulting remark you have made in this thread is based upon the often distorted views of jingoistic and sensationalist Western media. Believe me. I was there. It is so frustrating to see the same old myths and stereotypes repeated again and again. "Hideous lot," indeed.

What you have to understand is that the actions of the royal family and the religious police are not at all indicative of the general public's character. As yolland has mentioned, the average Saudi Arabian has no control over what goes into the Kingdom's school books. Launch your criticism against the individuals in charge - don't make blanket statements about the general population. "Muslim Pharisees." Honestly.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:03 PM   #4
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This entire thread is a textbook case of intolerance. Frankly, I feel offended on behalf of the people you have just dismissed with such contempt.

I do not wish to get into personal anecdotes here, but I feel it might be necessary in this case. Very few Western people have had the opportunity to live in Saudi Arabia. My family and I are some of the lucky exceptions. We lived in a rural - and therefore extremely religious - part of the country for four years. It is not the horrible, backward place you seem to think it is. Every single insulting remark you have made in this thread is based upon the often distorted views of jingoistic and sensationalist Western media. Believe me. I was there. It is so frustrating to see the same old myths and stereotypes repeated again and again. "Hideous lot," indeed.

What you have to understand is that the actions of the royal family and the religious police are not at all indicative of the general public's character. As yolland has mentioned, the average Saudi Arabian has no control over what goes into the Kingdom's school books. Launch your criticism against the individuals in charge - don't make blanket statements about the general population. "Muslim Pharisees." Honestly.
What I meant with the "Hideous lot" comment was NOT about the Saudi general population but the so called "Royal Family" and the facist Islamic clerics ( "Muslim Pharisees" ) that create hateful textbooks for innocent children.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:16 PM   #5
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You may want to clarify that at the beginning next time. It certainly appeared you were just lumping all Saudis together in your original post.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Harry Vest View Post
What I meant with the "Hideous lot" comment was NOT about the Saudi general population but the so called "Royal Family" and the facist Islamic clerics ( "Muslim Pharisees" ) that create hateful textbooks for innocent children.
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You may want to clarify that at the beginning next time. It certainly appeared you were just lumping all Saudis together in your original post.
Agreed.

However, "hideous lot" aside, I fail to be convinced that that he was not referring to all Saudis at certain points in his original post ("those damn Saudis again"; "the way [Saudi Arabia] treats its female population.")
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:59 PM   #7
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I generally assume that a lot of what appears in Western news media corporations regarding countries such as Iran and Saudia Arabia is made up propaganda.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:59 PM   #8
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Agreed.

However, "hideous lot" aside, I fail to be convinced that that he was not referring to all Saudis at certain points in his original post ("those damn Saudis again"; "the way [Saudi Arabia] treats its female population.")

" fail to be convinced" - Oh well, your problem not mine.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Harry Vest View Post
" fail to be convinced" - Oh well, your problem not mine.
Actually, I'm quite sure the problem is yours. You used the "fact" that Saudis mistreat women (actually, it's more of an exaggerated myth) to justify your belief that Saudi Arabia is the "worst country" in the Middle East.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:04 AM   #10
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Actually, I'm quite sure the problem is yours. You used the "fact" that Saudis mistreat women (actually, it's more of an exaggerated myth) to justify your belief that Saudi Arabia is the "worst country" in the Middle East.
Name me one that's worse.
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:55 AM   #11
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:02 PM   #12
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You failed to mention a middle eastern country that treats it's female population worse than Saudi Arabia. Is it because you can't think of one???
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:07 PM   #13
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Maybe it's because it's not worth the effort???
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
Maybe it's because it's not worth the effort???
Bingo. Maybe I should give him a reply, though. Hmm.

Harry Vest, I feel there is no need to name a "middle eastern country that treats it's female population worse than Saudi Arabia," because I disagree with the very notion of mistreatment in the first place. It is one that has been exaggerated and distorted by a Western media that has its own agendas.

Women - as a collective group - are not treated as badly in Saudi Arabia as outsiders seem to think they are. Domestic abuse does indeed happen in some families, but this is a global phenomenon. Some women are beaten and murdered by their husbands in the US for minor reasons, just as some women are beaten and murdered by men in Saudi Arabia for minor reasons. It's despicable, certainly, but it happens. It is also true that there are certain archaic laws preventing women from having jobs and driving, and I do disagree with them. Thankfully, some of these laws are changing. In fact, women might be driving in Saudi by the end of this year. And as for the laws regarding public decorum, they are merely cultural/religious in nature and are often not opposed by Saudi Arabian women. It's great and fantastic and all that women can be loud, obnoxious and promiscuous in the West, but that doesn't mean to say that it's what all women want. There are obviously some Saudi feminists who are opposed to these laws and are very vocal about them, but there are feminists everywhere. Even in the Western world, where we're supposedly better than all these backward Arab nations.

Then there is the whole "issue" of the abaya and hijab. Many Westerners regard this cultural dress as a symbol of male oppression. Listen. I wore an abaya out in public for four years, and not once did I feel like I was under the heel of "male oppression." To me, it is simply an article of clothing. Many Muslim/Arab women are not opposed to it and actually value its place in their cultural heritage. They wear it because they want to wear it. So why should anyone else take issue with it?

The one thing that really convinced me that all Saudi Arabian women are not the poor, downtrodden souls that the Western media makes them out to be, was attending a traditional Saudi party with my family and a few family friends. All the women were shuttled into one room and all the men were shuttled into another, of course, but no one seemed to mind very much. As we became a little bit more comfortable with our host and her other Arab guests, my mother's friend asked (a little gingerly) what it was like to be a married Muslim woman in Saudi Arabia, given all of the stories that we as foreigners heard before we entered the country. The women all looked at one another for a brief moment, tried to mask the amused expressions on their faces, and promptly burst into laughter. They told us that we were watching too much CNN and that they were actually very happy with their husbands and their family lives in general, regardless of what the concerned newscasters thought. CNN? Sensationalist?! Oh, that's not possible!

In sum, Harry: the point I hope to have demonstrated is that since Saudi Arabia has largely been cut off from the Western world, our general perceptions of the country are based upon news reports that are often distorted. I've been there, I've seen it, I've lived to tell the tale, and I'd go back to visit in a heartbeat. I have scores and scores of positive stories I could tell you about living in Saudi Arabia - stories that the six o'clock news would never cover. Saudi Arabia does have its problems, and some of them are major, but I honestly hope that you don't buy the stereotype of the wife-beating-Islamic-extremist Arab.
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:42 AM   #15
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More cosmopolitanism, less xenophobia.

I'd like to hear from more Saudi atheists, they certainly exist.
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