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War Protest In Hollywood On Saturday

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Apparently, the protest was pretty big. Gregg was giving some friends from Detroit a tour of Hollywood, and he took some photos. (All photos in this entry by Gregg Sutter.)

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The LaRouchies dropped off a few pamphlets:

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A lucky thing these ladies live in the United States, not a Muslim country, or they most likely wouldn't be allowed to speak so freely -- or speak publicly at all:

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Mitchell G. Bard writes about what passes for human rights in Arab countries:

...most of the Arab states are ruled by oppressive, dictatorial regimes, which deny their citizens basic freedoms of political expression, speech, press and due process. The Arab Human Development Report published by a group of Arab researchers from the UN Development Program concluded that out of the seven regions of the world, Arab countries had the lowest freedom score. They also had the lowest ranking for "voice and accountability," a measure of various aspects of the political process, civil liberties, political rights and independence of the media.

And about women's rights, specifically, Bard writes:

In most Arab countries, the Shari'a, or Islamic law, defines the rules of traditional social behavior. Under the law, women are accorded a role inferior to that of men, and are therefore discriminated against with regard to personal rights and freedoms.

...Traditionally, the Arab woman marries at a young age to a man of her father's choice. A husband is entitled to divorce any time, even against his wife's will, by merely declaring verbally that this is his intention.

Although the image of the egalitarian woman is slowly developing within some more secular Arab states, it remains largely confined to urban centers and upper-class circles. Ritual sexual mutilation of females is still common in rural areas of Egypt, Libya, Oman and Yemen.

Furthermore, laws that restrict women's rights remain in force in almost all Arab countries. In Syria, a husband can prevent his wife from leaving the country. In Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and Yemen, married women must have their husbands' written permission to travel abroad, and they may be prevented from doing so for any reason. In Saudi Arabia, women must obtain written permission from their closest male relative to leave the country or travel on public transportation between different parts of the kingdom.

According to the UN, "utilization of Arab women's capabilities through political and economic participation remains the lowest in the world in quantitative terms….In some countries with elected national assemblies, women are still denied the right to vote or hold office. And one in ever two Arab women can neither read nor write."

In a Saudi Shari'a court, the testimony of one man equals that of two women. In Kuwait, the male population is allowed to vote, while women are still disenfranchised. Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia all have laws stating that a woman's inheritance must be less than that of her male siblings (usually about half the size). Moroccan law excuses the murder or injury of a wife who is caught in the act of committing adultery; yet women are punished for harming their husbands under the same circumstances.

Wife-beating is a relatively common practice in Arab countries, and abused women have little recourse. As the State Department has noted regarding Jordan (and most of the Arab world): "Wife beating is technically grounds for divorce, but the husband may seek to demonstrate that he has authority from the Koran to correct an irreligious or disobedient wife by striking her."

In Saudi Arabia, restrictions against women are among the most extreme in the Arab world. Saudi women may not marry non-Saudis without government permission (which is rarely given); are forbidden to drive motor vehicles or bicycles; may not use public facilities when men are present; and are forced to sit in the backs of public buses, segregated from men. At Riyadh's King Saud University, professors lecture to rooms of men while women watch via closed-circuit television from distant all-female classrooms. "[Islamic] Advice columns" in the Saudi Arabian press recommend strict disciplining of women as part of a proper marriage. Women must cover their entire body and face in public, and those who do not are subject to physical harassment from the Saudi religious police, known as the Mutaaw'in. The Saudis even extend their discriminatory treatment to women abroad. During a visit to the United States by Crown Prince Abdullah, for example, the prince's aides requested that no female air traffic controllers be allowed to control his flight into Texas to meet President Bush. They also requested that no women be allowed on the airport tarmac with the jet.

...Arab regimes find different ways to deal with the international pressure to improve women's rights. They often prefer to introduce mild improvements in women's status rather than to enacting radical reforms that might contradict their ideology and antagonize conservative elements in the country.

Posted by aalkon at March 18, 2007 3:13 PM

Comments

It seems to be a kind of slavery for women in Arab Muslim countries.

This suits the men, as it affords them a workforce to maintain their leisure society.

The women there need to rebel, first by poisoning their abusive husbands, a not uncommon practice in the US until divorce laws became more lax.

Posted by: doombuggy at March 18, 2007 4:04 AM

Also, I wasn't quite sure what to make of the guy holding the stick in the air. I thought he might be a sign holder for rent.

Posted by: doombuggy at March 18, 2007 4:51 AM

The absolutely most disgusting thing about this weekend's tantrums in Hollywood and DC is that nobody talks about the organization that sponsored them: International ANSWER, which is a front group of the Worker's World Party, which is part of International Socialist.

In other words, Stalinists are telling us to stop fighting Islamists, and they are using the useful idiots in the US to spread their message as though it was genuine.

Astroturfing at its finest.

Posted by: brian at March 18, 2007 6:17 AM

Posted by: Vanessa at March 18, 2007 6:31 AM

No riding bikes? I think I will appreciate Ragbrai a little more this year. Maybe come up with a T-shirt design though - raise some local awareness.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at March 18, 2007 6:56 AM

So I looked into the LaRouche Youth Movement b/c of that picture above (the pamphlet citing Goebbel prompted the query, b/c most people don't know who he is so it stood out to me). Their website and Wiki were pretty useless, is there anyone who can explain what they're about?

They are obviously f'ed up - with their alleged brainwashing of its members and ex-members calling it a cult. Any additional information would be useful - just in case I see them walking around Boston.

Posted by: Gretchen at March 18, 2007 7:46 AM

Check out THIS Wikipedia entry, specifically about LaRouche's political views:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_views_of_Lyndon_LaRouche

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 18, 2007 8:14 AM

Here's another about the LaRouche youth movement:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaRouche_Youth_Movement

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 18, 2007 8:15 AM

Here's more on the LaRouche Youth Movement:

http://weeklydig.com/news_opinions/articles/children_of_lyndon

For a majority of the movement’s young members, though, there is an absence of content in the movement. The platform they promote has little meaning, and the arguments they pose are bewildering except to those desperate to find sense in them.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 18, 2007 8:30 AM

So, like, that dove doesn't really like that guy so much that it sits on the handlebars all day, does it? You gotta clip their wings before they do that. Right?

It seems like a lot of things people call love, no less often with people than with pets work like this: The love giver binds, cripples and stuns the subject until it can't move. The LG then exhibits whatever behaviors they remember from the Good Old Days of childhood

Posted by: Crid at March 18, 2007 8:39 AM

I'm all for respecting other cultures' customs. But foreigners in my country had by-god better respect MY culture's customs or get the fuck out.
My "tolerance" is at an end. Out of respect, I'm wouldn't offer an observant Muslim/Jew/Hindu a ham sandwich, but they can't demand I not have a cheesburger in my own house.
Time for the grass-roots ass-kickings to commence.

Posted by: Shicksa McGoyerson at March 18, 2007 8:39 AM

...sorry aborted edit...

Anyway, then the Love Subject yawns with disinterest and the Love Giver clucks at the ingratitude. It's kind of a a metaphor.

Militant Islam:. "After all we've done for you!"

Sentient Middle Easterners: "Huh?"

Posted by: Crid at March 18, 2007 8:42 AM

I'm not for respecting others' cultures, but for criticizing them for their backwardness and barbarianism, when applicable.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 18, 2007 8:52 AM

A lot of the Arab street protests are pretty much staged by the various governments or religious associations. They are usually done on holidays. Or particular student, trade union or religious associations get out the warm bodies. Painting various signs in multiple languages. The protesters wait for the various international media outlets arrive. If it was US or UK media... bring out the signs in English. British and American Flags and effigies to burn. The French media is next. Same routine. Get the close up shots of the mass demonstrations and wide camera shots on the roofs of various buildings. Once the foreign press get their required amount of footage... the crowds break up and go home. So those demonstrations are about 2 to 3 hours long. Never take those Arab Street demonstrations seriously.

Posted by: Joe at March 18, 2007 11:45 AM

Sigh...another day, another effigy to burn. BYO marshmallows.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 18, 2007 12:55 PM

"During a visit to the United States by Crown Prince Abdullah, for example, the prince's aides requested that no female air traffic controllers be allowed to control his flight into Texas to meet President Bush. They also requested that no women be allowed on the airport tarmac with the jet."

I am offering my vote to the first presidential candidate who promises to say, "Either shut up about the women, or go home" when the Saudis (or anyone else) make a request like this. What would have happened if the request had been for no black or Hispanic traffic controllers? I like to think that there would have been an outcry over that.

Sigh. Some days I think the "Screwfly Solution" is the work of a prophet. I don't see mainstream feminist groups doing anything to stop it, that's for sure. (Click on my name if you want to read the story. It's by Alice Sheldon aka James Tiptree Jr., one of the greats.)

Posted by: marion at March 18, 2007 2:12 PM

In September 2003 the Middle Eastern country of Saudi Arabia outlawed the sale of Barbie dolls, saying that she did not conform to the ideals of Islam. The Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stated "Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West. Let us beware of her dangers and be careful."

Posted by: PurplePen at March 18, 2007 4:08 PM

I was just looking over the wiki entry on Barbie. Every female Jewish comedian I ever heard always complains that Barbie is a WASP.

Posted by: PurplePen at March 18, 2007 4:11 PM

Anything non Wahabist is considered 'Jewish' or alien. Even the other strains of Islam cannot stand the puritanical Wahabism. Saudi Arabia views itself as the keeper of the Holy cities and the purity of the faith. It is the reason for the Mutaween. (religious police) I've had many run ins with the Mutaween during my visits to the Kingdom. They are everywhere.

The biggest threat to early Islam was the various Jewish tribes of the Arabian peninsula. Its an easy and historical label to anything that would threaten the purity of Islam.

These historical references are centuries old but very relevant in the Middle East.

Posted by: Joe at March 18, 2007 5:26 PM

Overall, how did you like your visits to the Kingdom Joe? What did you think of the average person?

Posted by: PurplePen at March 18, 2007 6:08 PM

Barbie's about as Jewish as I am black Muslim.

Joe, can you tell us about some of your run-ins with the Islamic religious cops?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 18, 2007 7:22 PM

People have asked why do I like go to the Middle East? I am not a Muslim. I am not an Arabist in the classic sense. For me it is like stepping into a time machine and going back to the 7th Century.

The third day on my first trip to Saudi Arabia, I was confronted by 3 officers. (2 are regular cops and one is the real Mutaween official) They thought I was high on drugs. It wasn't drugs, but heat exhaustion. I was taken to a station and interviewed. At first they thought I was just a dumb American tourist who knew a few phrases in Arabic.

Two of the cops would act like assholes and made the threats. Especially the punishment for drug possession is 60 lashes from a broken glass studded whip in public. I told them they could give me a drug test and to call this number of a Saudi 'official' (aka a relative of a well known prince) in fluent Arabic. The third and more senior Mutaween official was always quiet and took the number and made a call. I was released within the hour. Cells are pretty clean though. I was given a meal and some mint tea. When released, they apologized and personally escorted me back to my hotel. Walked with me to my hotel room and did a minor room inspection. Checked my luggage. Apologized again for the inconvenience and finally left. Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!

My other incidents were just routine check ups. Searching my vehicle, who are my friends in the Kingdom, what were my reading materials and the barrage of religious questions. Am I Jewish? What is my faith then? You know what happens to infidels who go to Mecca and Medina? It was more like a benign warning to outsiders. Stay on your toes or we will get you and the US Embassy will do nothing to intervene. So you will police yourself with the correct behavior while in Saudi Arabia. Most of the times I witnessed the public abuses committed by them towards native Saudis. Especially, the beatings with night sticks and black jacks on citizens for not displaying the correct public behavior under the Fiqh systems. Harassing students.

Have anyone here ever spoken to a retired headsman? I had lunch with one and he went into great details about his job. What is a headsman? He cuts off heads in the Kingdom for capital crimes. Hands too for minor crimes. Public whippings are for drugs, adultery, improper veiling, heresy and other minor crimes. The headsman would go into great details about his job. How many men and women he executed. The job requirements such as references. A headsman cannot be a native Saudi. (he was from Nigeria). Someone who converted to Islam. In the olden days he would have been a slave. By the way, slavery was officially made illegal in Saudi Arabia in 1967. But if you ask the locals, they will tell you secret auctions were going on into the early 1980s. Now they use a modern version of indentured servitude with people from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

For an oil rich nation their infrastructure is terrible. It has to do with the notion that native Saudis will never lift anything that weighs more than 30 pounds. It is beneath them to do so. The same with picking up liter that is everywhere. Liter could be minor trash on the ground to abandoned cars in the desert. Defunct oil derricks and train depots from the 1920s. Abandoned villages and housing buildings. Plenty of unfinished huge construction projects. Courtesy of the Bin Laden Group, Inc.

Personally, I never felt comfortable in the major cities. The only time I could relax was out in the open desert. Spent some time with the Bedouin tribes. Learned desert survival. Camel riding. I was bit a few times by my camel. Still have the bruises. Was stuck in a shamal. (dust storm that could last for days)

Posted by: Joe at March 18, 2007 10:13 PM

Wow...thanks...fascinating to hear about your experiences.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 19, 2007 1:11 AM

Yeah, thanks Joe.

My brother sells oil field equipment, and has done time in the "Kingdom". He commented on the trash. He says it is infuriating to do business there: the Arabs want to be a "Big Man", but don't want to actually do anything, so you get a bunch of middle men who want a piece of the action for doing nothing.

Posted by: doombuggy at March 19, 2007 4:21 AM

Anyone want to offer an opinion of what the Iraq war as meant to SA?

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 4:47 AM

has...

Posted by: crid at March 19, 2007 4:48 AM

I truly feel for European, American and Asian expats who have to live there on a full time basis. Especially, the women who served on US bases in the kingdom.

My views are the S.A. is very worried over a Shia-controlled Southern Iraq with Iran being in the background.

Also, a strange thing about politics of S.A. Al Qaeda of S.A. is an underground and seen as a 'reform' movement among many Saudis. There has been a upswing of violence since the death of King Fahd and the take over of his half brother King Abdullah. A Shia controlled Iraq could play into A.Q. and make it difficult for the Royal Family as a sign of instability and lack of political strength in the region.

Most internal reforms are just cosmetic. The Mutaween has been openly criticized by the Royal family for its handling of a school fire back in 2002. The Mutaween wouldn't let Saudi schoolgirls leave a burning building because they were improperly veiled. They interfered with the fire department and rescue efforts. 15 girls were burned to death:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1874471.stm

Posted by: Joe at March 19, 2007 5:26 AM

Our presence, and influence in Iraq strengthens our hand in dealing with the Saudis. They are no longer the only girl at the dance.

Posted by: Casca at March 20, 2007 7:08 AM

The absolutely most disgusting thing about this weekend's tantrums in Hollywood and DC is that nobody talks about the organization that sponsored them: International ANSWER, which is a front group of the Worker's World Party, which is part of International Socialist.

In other words, Stalinists are telling us to stop fighting Islamists, and they are using the useful idiots in the US to spread their message as though it was genuine.

Astroturfing at its finest.

In DC ANSWER was out numbered easily 4:1 by The Gathering of Eagles group. Yes, that is the side that I attended and I was amazed that we actually had more people there than the "Lefitsts" did.

ANSWER had two large areas reserved for them on the National Mall, plus their march route, plus space at the Pentagon parking lot. They managed to get a few thousand to line the fence on the north side of one of their protest areas.

There they were faced by an equal number of GoE counter demonstrators, surrounded by GoE folks walking the sidewalks around their area, flanked by GoE at the Vietnam Memorial and GoE had an equally large gathering on a hill next to the VM, that was unopposed by ANSWER.

Oh yes, the drive in front of the Lincoln Memorial was full of GoE people too, with the occasional ANSWER bunch getting "lost" and trying to march through, some trying to draw assaults for their camera toting escorts.

For some reason, the MSM missed all of this. Any report that there were equal numbers is a total lie. They had an opportunity to report something unique: the silent majority finally left the house to confront Che's grandchildren (lots of Che signs), but they were either blind of full of it. Pick two.

Check my journal for more of my observations.

Posted by: Guy Montag at March 20, 2007 7:35 AM

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