I’ve been around a bit, and one of the most vivid memories was of my first visit to Jeddah in the 1970’s. I was stuck by the strangeness of it all and even had a booking foul up which meant I was marooned over the weekend in Jeddah (Friday). I wondered about and my curiosity was peaked by the crowd outside the rear of the Red Sea Palace Hotel. I chanced upon the most revolting dehumanising thing I have ever witnessed, namely a public execution. I did not tarry but scuttled off, shaken to the core.
Since then the Saudi regimes of the various so called royal rulers have continued to routinely chop off heads of anyone who they disagree with or those who are deemed to have offended the religious beliefs of the Kingdom’s rulers.
Human rights have been and remain the last thing Saudi royal family consider. They rule by fear and have no truck with the idea of self determination or even self expression. The idea of the noble Arab raising from the desert tribes is truly nonsense, and without oil Saudi Arabia would be nothing. With oil it could be one of the best educated and progressive countries in the world, alas that has not turned out to be the case.
Are we surprised then when the Saudi regime bumps off in the cruellest way a dissenter. Sadly we are not, which begs the question of why does the West espouse the Saudi regime. The reasons are many, including not allowing China/Russia to have control over an important energy source, the biggest pocket book in the world to buy anything from fighters and bombs, as well as hospitals and luxury goods and property in London and Paris. Also I believe an honest desire to influence these primeval Saudi rulers towards democracy and the respect of human rights.
Clearly this last objective has failed miserably. The issues of the pocket book remain. Who cares if the Saudis kill and maim and starve children in Yemen? Nobody if they can make a buck from selling the Saudis militaria. Should we care?
Please, I hope we do, and we should lobby our Parliamentarians to stop this trade no matter what the cost. A Yemeni child or a Saudi journalist or those Saudi citizens awaiting a barbarous beheading should be given the chance to live. What price on them?