“Seems like this whole region is going backwards”, said a friend to MB a few days back.
MB’s friend is a Lebanese Christian man living with wife and kids in Doha, Qatar. His 7 year old daughter attends a local school. A week or so back, daughter informed parents that one of her classmates, an Egyptian kid, told a Qatari classmate that she should not play so much with the Lebanese Christian girl, because she will have no chance to go to heaven if she continues.
MB’s friend informed the child’s teacher, an Irish girl as it happens. Friend told MB he believes there is not much the teacher or school authorities can or will do, for so called religious reasons. They will not pursue the Egyptian parents for a ‘heart to heart’ because they might be accused of insulting the predominant religion in some obscure way. MB’s friend stated he is sure that he and his wife would have got a call from the school had the shoe been on the other foot, so to speak.
And in the above story, if you peel back the layers, you probably have every piece of intolerance, arrogance and religious bigotry that has destroyed so much of the region already, and consumes more and more of it on daily basis. Like some deadly contagious terminal disease that is spreading with no known cure. Killing everything that is good or bright. Killing all the colourful fresh flowers. Embracing and fertilising only the weeds.
A young Saudi friend of MB (called AB) visited Qatar this week and MB had a number of chats with him about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Or ‘KSA’ as people refer to it out these parts. AB has just finished his Masters Degree in Saudi law. He is a bright young man who has traveled to Europe, loves popular music, is a modern young man in all respects with a good heart & soul. AB would fit in with his peers in HX or in any region in any country. He has already started his working life as a lawyer in the KSA but took some time out to do his degree.
AB is also a follower of MB’s HX blog and enjoys MB’s photos & storeys from time to time. He went to the cinema twice in last two days in the big mall in Doha, as he likes to go when outside KSA. For those not in the know, cinemas are forbidden in KSA. There are approximately 25M people in the country, but not a single cinema.
Very soon young AB will take a new job assignment. He is fearful that he will end up in some conservative town or city with very little or no internet or social life. And as a lawyer in a Saudi court he will probably at some stage have to prosecute people who like music or photography or attend an illegal cinema, or those who might practice other aspects of the arts; all of which are haram in KSA. And request the courts for some very harsh punishments for the guilty.
MB is fearful for his young friend who will inevitably have to only look to the law and not to his soul. If modern young guys like AB had more of a say or more of an influence, then the region might have some chance to move forward. Sadly they don’t, swamped by the flower killers and the music haters and those who think the arts are a road to hell.
Maybe MB’s young friend will someday have to prosecute the case of a Muslim man or woman who decides to change his religion to a different religion, or to none at all; which carries the death sentence in KSA. Maybe that man or woman will have changed to the same religion as AB’s Irish friend MB. Will be a bit of a dilemma for AB to request a judge to impose a death sentence for the crime of changing to the same religion as that of his good Irish friend. Will be interesting, should it ever happen. But let’s hope AB is never faced with the situation. Please God.
The same thinking as outlined in much of the above, or variations on the theme, was evident in last week attacks in various countries when innocents were again slaughtered, to much rejoicing amongst an extreme minority.
It seems like MB’s Lebanese friend is not telling a lie. The ME region is presently, sadly, going backwards at a speed of knots.
Time for an Irish lament: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDyMFP6yzfk
By way of contrast, happy scenes of normal life from MB’s homeland taken during MB’s trip home last week: