Monday, December 17, 2007

just because its cultural, is it just?

i am all about being culturally sensitive, but sometimes, culture is not reason enough. from yahoo news:

Report: Saudi king pardons rape victim
1 hour, 36 minutes ago
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pardoned a female rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes for being alone with a man at the time of the attack who was not related to her, a Saudi newspaper reported Monday........Saudi Justice Minister Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Sheik told al-Jazirah newspaper that the pardon does not mean the king doubted the country's judges, but instead acted in the "interests of the people."
The victim in the case, known only as the "Girl of Qatif" after her hometown in eastern Saudi Arabia, was in a car with a high school friend in 2006 when they were attacked and raped by seven men.

She initially was sentenced in November 2006 to several months in prison and 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a man with whom she was neither related nor married..........The court more than doubled the sentence last month to 200 lashes and six months prison in response to her appeal.
Al-Sheik told al-Jazirah newspaper Monday that the king was the only official who could issue a pardon, and he did so despite the government's view that the Saudi legal system was "honest" and "fair."

The seven men who were convicted of raping both the girl and the man were initially sentenced to jail terms from 10 months to five years. Their sentences were increased to between two and nine years after the appeal.

sometimes, we learn that things existing in our culture are not just, and change is necesarry- in american terms, think slavery, women's sufferage, affirmative action...there are many more examples where the majority of people see the errors of the current way and fight for change

why not, then, can the saudi king not understand that in a global sodiety such as we live in now, that change in his culture might be necesarry as well? that maybe the fact that both she and her male friend were attacked and raped did, in the kings mind, supercede a woman being alone with a man she is not married to?

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