Sometimes, no matter how many times you read something, a given article, a letter to the editor for example, it will make no sense at all. Perhaps it's a matter of referring to things which are vague and slightly disturbing but which don't have any supporting facts readily apparent. Or perhaps it's as simple as the reason for writing in the first place.
Here are two letters to the editors in today's online edition of the Arab News which are rather surreal.
"On Sept. 30, you reported the new directive issued by the Ministry of Interior to all hospitals not to admit any woman for delivery unless accompanied by a male relative. I have also read Tariq Al-Maeena’s article on the matter and few other readers who agreed with him."
Ah, yes, those human rights lovin' Saudis.
"However, all their comments centered around the extra load of duties placed on the man in this country in looking after his women folk. But, to my surprise, no one attempted to reflect on how such a ruling would affect the poor woman who is in labor. A few lives of both babies and mothers will perish as a result. To be sure, some of these women will attempt to deliver at home at, God knows, whose hands. As a society what we should first and foremost be concerned about is the protection of human lives, not whether the poor woman has a male companion with her or not when she is in labor."
Theocrats: 0 Letter-writer: 1
"The ministry claims that such a directive will reduce the number of those who will deliver their babies and then abandon them. But, as a society we are responsible for the care of such abandoned babies rather than have them thrown in a rubbish bin or left abandoned in a street endangering their lives. If an irresponsible parent abandons his child, surely we as a society should not behave in a similar way."
Is this a problem in Saudi Arabia? Has there been such a multitude of abandoned babies that they feel it necessary to pass a law which states that a woman needs to be accompanied by a man to get medical treatment? Perhaps, just perhaps, there's, oh, I don't know, an underlying cause for this?
"Let me also comment on the report that the local security forces have confiscated 70 vehicles for transporting female students in Jeddah. The reason is that such buses must be driven by a Saudi driver who is above 40 and who must also be accompanied by a mahram.
Nobody is thinking about the poor girls who will miss their schooling. Nobody is suggesting the wise and practical solution for the many women teachers who die daily on our roads while commuting to their schools. Nobody seems to suggest the obvious, and that is to let the women drive themselves and their daughters to school and let us stop this nonsensical debate on whether or not it is permissible since we surely have other important issues to resolve in our society."
Ok, since woman can't drive in Saudi Arabia, it is necessary to provide transportation. But that's not what is so interesting about this letter. Smack dab in the middle of the second paragraph of the quote above is something so shocking, so striking that at first I didn't actually realize what I had read:
"Nobody is suggesting the wise and practical solution for the many women teachers who die daily on our roads while commuting to their schools."
There are "many women teachers" DYING "daily on our roads while commuting to their schools"?!
What the hell?
Further along down the rabbit hole we find this, from Nidal M. Atta, Attorney at Law:
"It is disappointing that Arab News published an article on the subject of an HIV patient which implied that there was negligence in the handling of the matter by the New Jeddah Clinic Hospital, Jeddah, a reputable hospital well-known for its medical services as well as medical code of ethics throughout Saudi Arabia. It was established more than 35 years ago.
It is our duty to disclose to the public the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the HIV patient incident. The patient was under treatment at NJCH for one week and was given all possible attention and care. Before the patient was discharged, NJCH called his employer company, informed them that the patient would be discharged and that they have to come over to NJCH. However, they did not, in spite of being requested to do so many times by NJCH.
After about a week, the patient was taken in the hospital car accompanied by three of NJCH personnel to his employer’s office, where the employer refused to receive the patient. He asked instead the hospital staff to take him to King Saud Hospital, saying that they had made all arrangements with King Saud Hospital. But when the patient arrived there, NJCH personnel found that the staff refused to admit the patient because no arrangements had been made at all by the employer company. After they failed to have King Saud Hospital admit the patient, NJCH personnel took him back to the employer company and left him at the company reception office."
Why is it the employer's responsibility? Why did a 'reputable hospital' deposit a patient in the lobby of a business? Why would no hospital keep a sick man?
Qaddafi is really really trying to rehabilitate himself:
"The Arabs are Unwilling to do Anything for Their Unity
"The Palestinians and the Lebanese – we sacrificed our blood for them, we gave them our money, we gave them everything. We held training for them and ultimately it turned out that we were terrorists, while they embrace the Americans, the Israelis, and the Westerners, Libya is [accused of] terrorism because it trained the Palestinians. We fulfilled our obligation, we gave our money, we gave them weapons, we exposed ourselves to dangers, [and] we are on the blacklist to this day…
"The Arabs are completely useless. They are unwilling to do anything for the sake of unity.""
""We will not be finished together with them. We will be, ultimately, in our African nation and on the African continent… by means of which we will become stronger, like the American continent and the European continent. The Arabs have written a mark of disgrace in history that they will never be able to eradicate. They watch what is happening in Iraq and in Palestine from the sidelines. They are finished. They have no honor and they have no blood. There is no longer any Arab blood or pan-Arab blood, Arab unity, Arab manliness, Arab femininity. There is nothing. The situation has gotten so bad that the women are the ones who take the initiative. Today was the most dangerous Fedaii operation in so-called Israel – and it was carried out by a young Palestinian woman, not by a man."
Apology to the African States for Dragging Them Into the Arab League
"There are nations to which I did an injustice and I apologize for this. I brought Mauritania, Djibouti, Somalia, and the Comoro Islands into the Arab League, and I tried to bring in Eritrea. But now I cannot speak with Eritrea. Look what an injustice I did them. I brought them into a failed nation, a failed regime, and failed people….
"The Arabs are completely useless. We must not waste time. The Arabs are through. Tomorrow, Asia will establish great unions and Africa is already united – and where are you, Arab?…""
His Jew hatred peaks through, but it's a decent start.
"...today soldiers fight women and children in Baghdad and Gaza…"