Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

O holy night arrests...

Saudi Arabia's regime, facing unrest from "terrorists" who -- surprisingly enough -- don't want to be ruled by a corrupt, repressive totalitarian monarchy, has "rounded up all the usual suspects", raiding houses and hauling 4,000 people from a single Saudi province off to jail.

Sure, that may sound reasonable to some, perhaps... but as a percentage of the country's population, it is significant. Imagine what the reaction would be if the Bush administration "disappeared" 50,000 Americans? Not good, and, most likely, not guilty.

(Fortunately for the Saudi government, one's guilt is not necessarily a factor in whether you can indefinitely arrest someone or not...)

Searches of these supposed "Islamic radicals and terrorists" netted some dynamite, some ammunition, some hashish, and, most damning of all, several bottles of wine. Rebel scum!

So, do you think the Saudi government would be quite as ham-fisted under normal conditions, or is the U.S. just setting a bad example that the rest of the world's governments are willing to follow in order to advance their own agendas? Everything's justifiable now, so long as it's done in the name of anti-terrorism. There *are* no legitimate revolutionary movements allowed anymore, unless they are supported by the CIA. Democracy has nothing to do with it, because if it did, we'd be welcoming the independent nations of Kurdistan, Chechnya, and Moroland, amongst others.

Speaking of bad examples being set by the U.S., check out Jo Wilding's reports on detention of prisoners in Iraq and on the US response to a student protest.

U.S. soldiers pulling kids out of their classrooms at gunpoint and cracking skulls, just because some of them had some kind words for Saddam? Sorry, but that's just wrong. The truth is, those kids have grown up only knowing Saddam, and as bad as he was, their lives were generally better under his rule. That's fucked up, but it's the essential truth.

Have you ever tried telling a teenager that all the pain, misery, and angst they are experiencing will be better years down the road? Did it change their desperate, immediate, vital nature and suddenly give them a calming, reassuring sense of historical perspective, knowing that maybe in six years -- maybe in a dozen -- their life won't be so fucked? Or did you just feel like a cartoonishly ineffectual idiot for saying such a thing?

Reminds me of James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause". He was getting picked on by a bunch of goons at school, and he came running to his dad for help, and his dad -- wearing his mother's frilly apron -- told him that none of it will matter in the future... and you just *knew* that someone was going to get hurt. Same thing really, except that our troops get to play the role of the goons. It's no wonder that they're afraid of a bunch of kids. Push them hard enough... Columbine.

Be proud that you still live in a country where your country hasn't silenced free speech quite yet. Well, sorta. Sigh.

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