I wrote in My Sunday Thoughts about Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, 50 each week for 20 weeks, plus about US $266,631.
50 of those lashes were just given in a public square after people had finished their prayer time. It was an example being set, Talk about us and we don’t like it and we’ll imprison you and beat you.
His wife was forced into a divorce and was able to leave the country with their three children, so are free in Canada now.
I also wrote a post about doing a hashtag campaign using #BloggersForRaifBadawi and #BloggersForFreedom.
Not much response to that, but it’s only been a short time. It may go somewhere.
The U.S. State Department posted this on January 8. There site is here.
“We are greatly concerned by reports that human rights activist Raif Badawi will start facing the inhumane punishment of a 1,000 lashes, in addition to serving a 10-year sentence in prison for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and religion. The United States Government calls on Saudi authorities to cancel this brutal punishment and to review Badawi’s case and sentence. The United States strongly opposes laws, including apostasy laws, that restrict the exercise of these freedoms, and urges all countries to uphold these rights in practice.”
The lashings took place. I wonder what the U.S. government will do now.
Amnesty International has been involved as well. Article here.
“The decision to sentence Raif Badawi to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes is outrageous. He is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression. The authorities must overturn his conviction and release him immediately and unconditionally,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. ~From the article at amnesty.org.
I thought these Tweets from UN Watch were telling:
But if a political machine doesn’t think it will lose votes by doing nothing, then guess what it won’t do. That’s right, it won’t do something. I am not for the U.S. to act like it is the protector of the world but I would appreciate them making a stand where a stand needs to be made. The truth is we don’t need Saudi Arabia for anything. By that I mean the leadership. Just like you can’t judge Americans by our leadership, I’m not judging the Saudi people by theirs.
But we as citizens can do something. We can make noise. We can make it constantly. Americans on average get fired up about something and then that fire dies off after a while and everyone knows it. Time to change that.
Write your congressman. How often? That’s up to you.
I’m not going to tell you how to say something. I personally will likely speak to the inhumanity of what is happening. Laws of a nation are different wherever you go. So I don’t plan to speak to laws but I do plan to speak to inhumanity and a desire for our nation to place sanctions on Saudi Arabia unless the lashings discontinue.
I don’t think we should all be carbon copies of each other. Speak in a personal way to each Congressman. You are a voter that helps get them there or not. You didn’t vote for them? I don’t care. This isn’t about a political party. This is about humanity.
I don’t agree with his imprisonment either, but being in prison is one thing. 1,000 lashes with 50 per week I just cannot fathom even the idea of who comes up with punishments like that. If he had not listened to a judge and not appealed it would have been 7 years and 600 lashes I believe.
So you want to write a letter to your congressman? The link below will give you advice on how to form a letter. The same is for email or snail mail.
Not sure who your Senator is? The link below will help you out.
Don’t know who your Representative is? Try the link below. Just need to know your zip code.
As bloggers we should be angry about imprisonment over something like discussions about politics and society even if they belittle leaders. Imagine if that were a law in the U.S., there would be some serious overcrowding of the prison system.
But as people we all should be angry. Some may point to other cases in the world that could equally be spoken of but this is the one that jumped out at me. This is the one that was placed in front of my eyes and I decided to speak about it.
Now will you do anything about it? Are you in another country? You can write to your leaders too. Sorry I cannot do a list for every nation in the world of how to find your leaders and write to them. Well I could but it would take a while.
This is the next step I thought of in what to do. I will keep thinking but you think as well and start something. Like write your local and regional papers. Write to the White House. Start up whatever it is you need to start up. Set up a network to be used not just this once, but for the future as well. That’s the great thing about blogging. We’re all connected around the world. And we could do so much if we all just united to do it. I don’t know who could organize that. I would likely forget about something by the end of the week if not for my blog content to remind me. But let’s start something. #BloggersForFreedom
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