|Ensaf Haidar (source)|
This is no small task, as the so-called democratic governments seem to get pretty weak livered and forgetful of human rights when the scent of oil money gets too strong. I've also noticed over the months that French media here in Quebec seems to cover this story far more closely than English media in the rest of Canada or the United States. I'm now thoroughly convinced that mainstream media in the United States is bought and paid for by corporate interests -- I wonder about media outlets in the rest of Canada these days, I really do.
Well, today Ensaf got published in a pretty big deal new media web publication, The Daily Beast, and I hope this gets her struggle some more greatly deserved coverage.
Wife of Jailed Saudi Blogger: My Husband Is a Victim of the Thought Police
In it she goes into some detail of the insane sentence for blogging (emphasis my own).
My husband, Ra'if Badawy, has been in prison in Saudi Arabia since 2012 for disrespecting Islam. At first, he was sentenced to execution for being an apostate. In May, his sentence was reduced to 10 years in prison, a fine of $100,000 and 1,000 lashes. He is to be lashed 50 times each Friday after prayers until it reaches 1,000 lashes.She also adds the tragic irony that Western democracies are supporting Saudi Arabia's efforts against ISIS when the Saudi state jails and tortures people for freedom of expression! I'll also add that the Saudi state has beheaded far more people for ridiculous crimes like witchcraft than ISIS has beheaded prisoners. What is going on here?
Ra'if is not a criminal. He is not a murderer or a rapist. He is a blogger. That's it. His only crime is being a free voice in a country that has no tolerance nor understanding for freedom.
Saudi Arabia is leading the fight against ISIS, an organization that lashes and murders those who peacefully oppose it. Isn't it ironic, then, that Saudi Arabia does exactly the same as evidenced by its treatment of bloggers like my husband? What kind of justice is it to sentence a young man to prison and lashes whose only crime is speaking freely?It's heartbreaking too. So far she has not told her children the full story concerning their father's sentence. How could mere children cope? She's had to resort to fictitious stories about travel bans imposed on him by the Saudi government, but it's only a matter of time before they ask why they cannot talk to him on the telephone or over Skype, if they haven't already.
As a father of a five year old myself, it makes me emotional just thinking about this. If I were in Saudi Arabia, I would surely be alongside Raif in jail and you might be in trouble just for reading these words.
Although the Canadian government -- and the Office of Religious Freedom!! -- could have done more to protest this despicable imprisonment and torture, at least they gave Ensaf and her children refuge and a base from which to safely petition for her husband's and their father's freedom.
I arrived in Canada after escaping Saudi Arabia via Cairo and Beirut. We will settle here and attempt to have a normal life, but always await Ra’if’s return.I don't think letters to the government will help here. I think they are probably all bought out. I think that letters to newspapers, lighting up Twitter and Facebook and getting out onto the streets is what's necessary.
These people in Norway have the right idea.
I tried contacting Ensaf before, but I suspect there could be a language barrier. I'll see if I can get an idea when the next protests are in Quebec and other places in Canada and publish them here. Time to hit the pavement.
Meanwhile, here's that Daily Beast article again.