I will take a break from blogging about politics and vent my fury at the cowardly and not-uncommon habit of abusing maids in the Arab world.
Syrian actor Samer al-Masri and his retired actress wife are accused of torturing their Filipina maid and inflicting horrific injuries on her.
For those who don't know who al-Masri is (I didn't before I came across this story of human evil), he's an actor in a popular Syrian historical drama that I know of but never watched, Bab al-Hara.
Al-Masri denies torturing the maid and claims that with her contract about to end she sought a large end-of-contract payoff, threw herself out of a window and suffered the horrific injuries you see in the video as well as older injuries including a fractured arm that healed with the bone obviously not set properly. She says she hasn't received her salary in three years.
You watch the video and decide if this girl jumped through a window.
My view: this young woman, thousands of miles away from her home and loved ones, has endured terrible and inhuman abuse. It makes my blood boil.
Whoever did this to her must face the consequences of their brutal actions.
The Arabs are perfectly entitled to dignity and human rights. But they must also ensure that they treat migrant workers as they wish to be treated.
It's been 2 weeks since I update this blog. Not that I don't have anything to say...
So how about a quick rundown of some of the news that struck me. Not struck me as important, just struck me.
The abuse of maids continues in the Middle East. The sad news is that one Indonesian maid has allegedly been killed by her employer, with another suffering serious injuries due to abuse. Details here and here.
While these 2 sad cases took place in Saudi Arabia, such abuse happens everywhere in the Arab world where maids work. To me it's indicative of a serious malady afflicting Arab societies.
Maids are being abused as far away as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. But what concerns me is my own back yard.
I'm sick of seeing maids accompanying their mistresses to the supermarket, pushing the cart and being told which item to take off the shelf and put in the cart. I'm alarmed at seeing maids virtually raising kids who are left in their charge all the time, even during playtime, because the parents can't be bothered. I've seen maids accompanying families to restaurants only to be made to stand aside as the family gorges itself. In general there is no concept of a day off for maids. And this disease is affecting western expats. I see more and more of these young expat families take the maid out with them to the supermarket.
The abuse of these housemaids who leave their loved ones and travel to strange lands so they can make pitiful sums to better their lives and those of their families while working at the bottom of the heap, this has to stop. Laws have to be enacted and enforced. Most importantly, we need a deep rooted change in the consciousness of the employers and their families. They need to realize that these maids are not household objects and automatons. We need more humanity in our societies and we must examine what is going on within our culture.
But it is also the duty of the governments of these labor-exporting countries to do more for the welfare of their citizens. These governments treat the hundreds of thousands of maids and menial laborers as nothing but a source of hard currency. The onus is also upon these countries to prove that this is not the case, that they do care about their own people.
Unfortunately I'm certain I will read and hear about many such cases again.
From London came the news of the BBC's last minute decision to pull a 3-part documentary about the assassination in 2005 of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri (well, 3 days before the broadcast date).
The program is produced by the UK-based ORTV.
Which basically means that the BBC paid for this program only to discover at the last minute that it requires further scrutiny. Yeah, right!
According to an official BBC statement,
“All programs shown by BBC World News must comply with the BBC’s editorial guidelines. This applies equally to programs we commission from the BBC, independents or, in this case, brought in programs. From time to time, the compliance process requires more time to complete. This can affect scheduling. This series of programs falls into this category.”
Now, what do you think about this? You could easily cite the age-old response to queries from the not so secretive Hacks R Us society: No comment.
And finally, for now, Pope Benedict has said the use of condoms may be permissible in certain exceptional circumstances, such as stopping the spread of HIV.
But according to Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office "The reasoning of the pope cannot certainly be defined as a revolutionary turn."
A man on a long journey through a perpetual desert.
The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of any of my employers, past, present or future.