If we needed another reason to seek the post-oil future
This story shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone. Briefly a 19-year-old Saudi woman was gang-raped, and the seven men are being severely punished with five-year prison sentences. The woman, however, violated Islamic law by being in a car with a strange man and was given 90 lashes.
What’s that you say? They tortured her as if she hadn’t already been through enough? Well you know, she was probably asking for it. Did you see the way her head scarf was slightly open? If you think I’m being cruelly cynical, read the letters in response to the BBC article linked below. Many of them compliment the Saudi court for their right action. Anyway, the story does not end there…
She protested, saying her punishment was excessive. So the judge increased her sentence to six months in jail and 200 lashes, and punished her lawyer too. You can read all the details in the links below, along with some interesting little factoids about what it means to be a woman in an Islamic country. For one thing, it means seeking redress for rape may very well land you in jail, bruised and bleeding. And then, probably, an outcast for life.
Think about that the next time you fill up your car. Think about who you’re doing business with. Forget for a moment the US oil companies and their funding of global-warming denial thinktanks, and remember where they get the oil. Think about that woman in jail, slowly healing from 200 lashes (does that ever heal) and recovering from the trauma of being gang-raped and then blamed for it (probably never heals) and realize that a good chunk of the proceeds from your credit-card swipe went to the Saudi royal family, to finance Islamism.
And don’t say it isn’t Islamism, that it doesn’t represent Islam. The Koran is Saudi Arabia’s constitution. Legal arguments are made in their courts on the basis of Islamic tradition. Would they have so much power if it weren’t for oil? Do you think for one minute we’d be doing business with these jerks if it weren’t for oil? Would we be defending them with our military? Would we be ignoring the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia? Would we push the whole damn world to the brink of disaster on their behalf if it weren’t for oil?
This is one place where environmentalism and simple human decency coincide. It isn’t a plea to give up a technological lifestyle, but it does seem as if some Americans purposely go out of their way to consume more oil than they have to. That shouldn’t be any more socially acceptable than is drunk driving. As citizens we can drive the conservation market by consistently making more carbon-frugal choices.
The post-oil future isn’t going to fall into our laps by accident, but we can help make it happen. Huge corporations are mindless beasts; they’re not capable of altruism but they’re not inherently evil either. They just move in the direction of consumer money, the way water flows downhill. Wave our cash in the right direction and they’ll lumber off toward it.
Consumer choice is only one way to influence corporations – there are other carrots and sticks too. Time is short: let’s use every tool available to us.
- rape victim gets 100 lashes
- Saudi court ups punishment for gang-rape victim
- Greg Laden: Blame, jail, and torture the victim
- Hank Fox: Those madcap Saudis
Update: comments closed on this post because some very persistent spammer has found it. But thank you to all the real commenters below!