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The Saudi Witch
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-03-15 08:11:08
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The following story is not a joke, fiction or a rumour; it is a true story and it is not the first time the story has reached the media. There is a woman named Fawza Falih in a prison in Saudi Arabia waiting for her execution after being convicted of witchcraft!

The woman was arrested by the Saudi religious police after being accused by her husband that she made him …sexually impotent using witchcraft! The woman was beaten and forced to sign a confession despite the fact that she could not read! I’m sorry for what I’m going to say but it seems to me that when a Saudi hasn’t got an erection or he has a small penis he calls in the religious freaks and blames a woman for witchcraft! The woman was led to the court without any proof of her alleged witchcraft actions apart from the testimony of her husband and that is called 'justice' in Saudi Arabia! The confession she had to sign was not even read to her!

I cannot stop reading this story in horror and the reason I’m writing it here, despite the fact that it has already been publicly known for a few months due to the efforts of the Human Rights Watch and their failed attempts to meet with the Saudi King Abdullah or any high judges of the country, is because you should not forget it among all the information we get daily. More importantly, we must also remember who our allies are. I’m really sorry to say but if these decisions and practises are led from religion then their religion is truly inhumane and barbaric, and I'm even sorrier to say that there is no tolerance there.

A few months ago a young woman was raped and after that she had to suffer a public lashing because, according the Sharia law, she should never be out of the house without the company of a male family member.

So let me see if I understood well, our peaceful friends, who believe in the peaceful and fair contributing of Muslim traditions and judgment, are talking about a world where women can be executed for witchcraft because somebody’s dick wasn’t erecting, they can be lashed when they are …raped and they can contribute to society by staying locked at home cooking and giving birth. I’m sorry again, but even the Dark Ages offered a more equitable and humanitarian existence for women!

Why doesn't the United Nations do anything about it? Why doesn't the USA, EU or Russia do anything about it? How many barrels of oil is a human life worth? Or is her life cheaper because she is a Saudi?

The Salem witch trials that cost the lives of twenty-nine people and became a negative example of inhumane behaviour and criminal justice for centuries is a dark side of our history and is it showing us how to avoid these sorts of mistakes again. Saudi justice is here and now, the Salem trial was four centuries ago. The US administration is ready to endanger bad relations with Russia, Cuba or China for human rights and does nothing with Saudi Arabia where things are much worse - the same goes to the European Community, to Australia and Japan, to India and South Africa. How can we be proud of our democracies when we stand still when things like that happen? And how much more we don’t know!

What really happens to a woman in Saudi Arabia or Iran if she goes out forgetting to put on her headscarf? No, the question should go much further; do women count for humans in these countries? Cats and dogs definitely have more rights than a woman in Saudi Arabia.

When I first read the story of Fawza Falih I was terrified and found it difficult to believe but on the internet you can find more and more horrifying stories like that, more stories about the ‘fair’ Sharia laws and justice in the dark ages of Saudi Arabia and how ironic it sounds when we are expecting their transition to democracies.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-03-15 11:24:28
Some musings and reflections and perplexities on the above article: (1) There is no doubt that mankind has made great strides since the times of witchcraft and the Salem trial of 1692 and Puritan theocracy and that some modern polities need to reform their penal system for the sake of justice and a democratic system. Those who do the criticizing ought to be the first one to offer a good example of respect for universal human rights. That unfortunately is not always the case in the West. There is also little doubt that when religion is based on ignorance it runs the risk of forgetting its ideals and becoming a cult, complete with witchcraft and superstition. Aquinas Summa certainly does not advocate persecution of witches. (2) Witchcraft predates Christianity and was not invented by the Christian Church as religion bashers insist on peddling. The idea of a potentially harmful force whose practitioners should be put to death is a commonplace in pre-Christian religions as a logical consequence of belief in magic (see the scholarly writings of Max Dashu). It existed in Egypt and Babilonia and is mentioned in the code of Hammurabi (2000 years BC). In fact medieval witchcraft contained many of its elements before the emergence of Christianity, to wit the Bacchanalias led by the priestess Paculla Annia. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-15 11:26:07
(3) As far as the Dark Ages are concerned, in the 8th century Saint Boniface declared that belief in the existence of witches was un-Christian. Moreover, the emperor Chalemagne decreed that the burning of supposed witches was a pagan custom that would be punished by the death penalty. In 820 the Bishop of Lyon and other bishops repudiated the belief that witches could make bad weather, fly at night, and change their shape. That denial became Canon law until it was unfortunately reversed in later less enlightened centuries when witch-hunting gained force again. (4) In the England following the Salem trials the Witchcraft Act of 1736 criminalizes fortune telling and forbids the prosecution of witchcraft in any court in England. Such and act gets repealed in 1951 which I suppose means that witchcraft can be practiced at one’s heart content in modern pagan societies and as a matter of fact it is. Some say it goes by the name of New Age, others Brave New World, and others 1984 which has long passed and gone.

Sand2008-03-15 18:05:59
The concept that George W. Bush who seems deeply addicted to the practices described in Orwell's "1984" is a witch is, if nothing else, highly novel.

AP2008-03-15 23:57:32
Hideous story, Thanos. Shame on western and eastern governments, supposedly democratic! I'm so sorry if we have governments made of dicks which don't erect either and frigid marketing speeches too!

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