Thursday, 3 September 2009

Quote... Unquote



I'm marking essays again. (Again...) Students from overseas could be forgiven for thinking that globalisation is the only issue examiners care about, since it crops up in essay titles with clockwork regularity. Fortunately for my punchdrunk brain, most of my students have chosen other titles this time round, and only Sulaiman has handed me fifteen hundred words on 'The Effect of Globalisation on Saudi Arabia'.

'...Saudi Arabia is going to build many industrial cities which mean that tens of thousands of foreigners will have to go there to work.'

I hope here he means that foreigners will have the opportunity to go there to work, and that the noun simply slipped down a hole in his laptop. Otherwise beware - maybe they are planning to enslave other nations.

The Saudis, who 'love the religion', are worried that with increasing foreign influence, unwelcome changes will be forced upon them. 'One of the areas that is very strict is the women.' He means of course that Saudi Arabia is strict on women, not that women are strict. 'In the country is not allowed free mixing between men and women and women are not allowed to drive or go out by themselves... women must cover their bodies and wear a Hijab.' This, then, is the natural order, not to be tampered with, but what with all these foreigners coming in to work, a Saudi lady might get ideas. She might abandon the veil, start pressing to be allowed to drive like any adult woman in any other country, and generally demand that she be treated like a mature human being instead of a permanent infant at the disposal of her male relatives. The men are backed up by such robed and bearded old goats as this one, discoursing on when and by what means it is permissible to beat ones wife. Have a look at this smug bastard - astonishing.

Enjoying such formidable support, naturally Sulaiman is unperturbed. Come on, the ladies of Saudi are not going to rise up against this kind of opposition, and in any case:

'...in Saudi Arabia the women enjoy all of the things from globalisation without breaking the rules of the religion, for example they have their own Boutiques, they can have MacDonalds delivery to house without paying for delivery and there is also a Debenhams that is manage by only women. Moreover, women have access to lots of designer names and cosmetics and have actually surpassed the more liberal Dubai as the biggest importer of German fashion products in the Middle East'

Clearly, the silly little flibbertigibbets will be too busy dressing up and slathering on the top-drawer lippy to worry their pretty little heads about being treated like caged birds.

I'm not expected to comment on this in my feedback, of course. I only have to grade layout, organisation and language. There is a box on the feedback form for general comments, though, and this is what I would really like to write in it:

I hope the day will come when your wife, or daughter, or grand daughter, will rip of her veil and fetch you a sharp knee to your precious nads before she sweeps away in the new BMW she's just bought with her own wages. I'd pay to watch.


Yours ever, etc.






Here is a link to an interview in English with Wajiha Al Huwaider, the woman in the video, telling it like it is.

2 comments:

Fionnchú said...

I may use this in my class talk on Thomas Friedman's cheerleading for flattened worlds of tntrammelled capitalism, as a rejoinder to his Yank notion that democratic liberty inevitably follows free trade.

vilges suola said...

Do let me know how it goes. I might pass on the reactions to 'Suleiman'.

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