The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

For those who will not visit the link, let me summarize:

1 ½ years ago, a 19-year-old woman, who is from Saudi Arabia's Shia minority, travels in car with an unrelated male. The trip ends with her being gang-raped 14 times. By seven men – from the majority Sunni community.

The Judgments:

The men: found guilty of the rape and sentenced to prison terms ranging from just under a year to five years.

The victim…yes, that’s right, she got a sentence too! Why? Well, she was initially punished for violating Saudi Arabia's strict laws on segregation of the sexes - she was in an unrelated man's car at the time of the attack, which violates Saudi Arabia’s segregation laws that state that unrelated men & women cannot associate with each other. Her punishment? 90 lashes.

The Appeal:

This incredibly brave young woman decided to appeal her sentence, to which the judges decided that she was using the media to influence them. So they then tripled the number of lashes she was to receive to 200, and to add insult to injury, added a 6 month jail sentence to boot. Officially, she is being punished for ‘trying to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media’.

To add, for some incomprehensible reason, the girl’s lawyer has also had his license to practice confiscated, has been suspended from the case and faces a disciplinary hearing.

That the attackers’ sentences were also doubled is hardly consolation, considering that the death penalty was a viable option in this instance. Even for the über liberal, they could have at least got life sentences. Mind you, all seven guys did NOT get 5 (or 10 on appeal) years. Some got far lesser sentences.

Now, in my entire life, I have never even met a rape victim. I can only begin to imagine the trauma that such a person must go through, not just at the time of the attack, but for the rest of her life. Certainly, the media has shown us plenty of examples. And this was not an ordinary rape – this 19 year old was gang raped by no less than 7 men. The guts and strength of character she has shown, not only by going to court and charging them, but also to appeal with an obviously biased judiciary is truly commendable.


Beyond that…I’m absolutely horrified. I don’t quite get if the judges were bias due to the gender issue, or due to the fact that she was Shia Muslim. The fact that the men were convicted at all leads me to believe that there was very strong, credible evidence. And that is not a feminist standpoint, but one of basic logic and humanness. How, as a society, do we move forward when such actions happen, and we don’t bat an eyelid?

Leave aside the sentences of the men – I suppose in such stultified, unequal society, it is too much to expect that a man would be given an appropriate punishment for any crime against a woman. How could the judiciary punish the girl? For influencing the media? What a load of bull. The judiciary should know not to be influenced – it’s her right to talk to the media. How can they punish her for a crime that doesn’t exist? Or is subjective to say the least?

As for the lashes…I guess the law is the law, and had there been no rape, she would still be due for a lashing. But where is the humanity? Where is equity? Sentencing is in the hands of the judges – they could have sentenced her for even 2000 lashes, and suspended the sentence, maybe till a second violation. At least that way, the judiciary follows the rules and displays an ounce of humanity.

Why is nobody looking at the Middle East more seriously? Why is that Sri Lanka gets lashed left and right for HR abuses at the drop of a hat, most of them unfounded, while the HRW, Amnesty et all says precious little about these incidents? Why are these never followed up? Why does the U.K will offer political asylum to a veteran terrorist of over 20 years, but will not lift a fingernail in cases such as this?

I’d like to see the heralders of religious, or Sharia law now. Or those who preach endlessly on religion. This is what it does – it divides people based on gender, on sects and a host of other senseless things, and proceeds to decide which is better than which. This may be an extreme case but I challenge anyone to tell me that religion has done more good than harm. I could write a book on this topic, but it’s a blog, and I guess I should stop, before people just skip this page altogether.

And before I forget, today I am ashamed to be a law student.

I drive a pretty old car, and have had to cough up quite a bit of dough on ‘running’ repairs frequently. Running repair. What kind of a bizarre term is that anyway? Obviously repairs will be there for running vehicles – you keep one in the garage all month long, you’ll have no repairs save a dead battery and perhaps old fuel.

Back to my point. Having a repair every three months or so, no matter how big or small, has made me paranoid. So when I got new brake pads put two weeks back, I thought I was home safe for another few months. Then starts the creepy screech. Each time I brake. Angry that the garage screwed it up, terrified that it was more serious than a brake pad (and thus another mountain of money), I avoided the garage for a good two weeks. Good thing too, because apparently, that screech is my new brake pad trying to break in. I was told by a smirking colleague to cancel the garage trip, and to get used to the screech for another month or so.

This what owning a car has done to me. It’s turned me into a paranoiac.

No, I'm not about to break into song (and if I was, you'd hate to hear it!). I'm just soooo bugged with people. Specifically. In a wide variety of areas. So let me start with....

The idiots who wear Tissots and Tag Heuers on their wrists, but cannot comprehend how to use such fancy watches. I’ve come across these morons frequently here, and most recently this morning. He remembers at 11.30 a.m. that he has a meeting at 12.00p.m., and starts looking for transport at about 11.45 a.m. Naturally, to avoid him getting late for meetings, who’s the idiot that has to volunteer her car? If you guessed that it was me, you’d be guessing correctly. Grrrrrrrr What is the point of having watches if you don’t know the value of time? Or forward planning?

Why do people assume that if you are under 35, you have no expenses to speak of, save on clothes and ice cream? I'm sick to death of people who roll their eyes when I complain of finances and ask me "What expenses can you have? Your parents are there, no?" I wish I could introduce them to the sole of my shoes, and while they get over that, explain that some of us actually have to fend for ourselves.

Now we come to this strange Sri Lankan habit of working late. And by late, I mean REALLY late. It’s not like staying back for an extra half hour, or an hour. I’ve seen lots of my friends stay back for hours and hours in office, and coincidentally, they’re mostly males. And from stories I hear, it seems to be a common phenomena.

I cannot believe that people here are that inefficient that they need to stay in office the entire day to get work done. Stranger still are the bosses that think working late is the norm. Do these people have no family, friends or a life in general outside of office? No wonder so many people have unhappy marriages – when you see your office peon more than your spouse, who’s surprised?

Meetings frequently get scheduled for 4.30p.m. or even later, and employees are expected to simply shut up and put up. Women get the worst of it. If traveling late is an issue for them, they are labeled ‘not up to it’. If they work late, they can rest assured that their other halves will start looking elsewhere. In fact, the ability to work late is a frequent question at interviews.

I’m completely flummoxed as to why top managers encourage such a dubious habit, especially when it just ends up costing the company more money.


Yeah, the colours reflect how bugged I am with each phenomenon.

How greedy can people be? I'm part of a group collecting 80-page exercise books to distribute to war-ravaged schools in Vavuniya. So an obliging friend emails 250 people with my request...and only two respond (three if you count the moron who wrote back to criticize).

Mind you, one of these books is a mere Rs.25/= in a bookshop, and cheaper still in a wholesale shop. And yet, we get 2 out of 250. That is a 0.8% response rate. Even if your maths is as bad as mine, you'd still realise that 0.8% is pretty damn low. Is that how little people care about the needy?

In related news, people who have two cars in their garage, land all over the country, multiple bank accounts with balances running into six figures, donates - drum roll please - 20 books! A whopping 20! I was so blown away from this act of...greed? Selfishness? Nonchalantness?

People can spend thousands on liquor, cigarettes, clothes and countless other needless items, but looks like when it comes to spending on a useful item for the poor and needy, the purse is tightly shut.

Truly disgusting.

P.S. Anyone interested in donating can leave their email or mobile number and I’ll get in touch with you (your personal info will duly be deleted from this blog).

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