His bow tie is really a camera…

I get that a lot of people are really angry with/at America. But not me; not on most days. I reserve total disdain for Saudi Arabia only.

But how can you not love this? This is the real deal.

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Black Friday Special

Cripes! While you’ve been shopping your heads off, mine has just become the number one target for two countries.

Yes folks, the list of countries where my head would be most highly sought after, has just grown by 100%. I had resolved never to visit Saudi Arabia because I feared my (non) religious beliefs would surely see me parted from my head.

But now it seems North Korea has joined the head-hunting party. Reports suggest that authorities are ordering citizens to copy that lunatic Kim Jong Un’s shitty hairstyle. There is a further report that offending long locks such as mine are being cut by university student monitors. Now I don’t know who or what they are, but I’m not about to find out.

Losing my head or long locks would be equally terrible for me.

For Shame, Saudi Arabia

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. Ambrose Bierce.
How’s this for a kick in the teeth of civilization?
Saudi Arabia was last month elected to chair a high-profile UN Human Rights Council panel that’s responsible for determining international human rights standards and reporting on violations around the world.

So what’s wrong with that? It’s old news anyway.

Saudi Arabia still routinely arrests, beheads, flogs, maims and imprisons human beings for simply expressing themselves freely. And they have this thing about women. Won’t even allow them to drive.

I’ve written previously about Raif Badawi who already received 50 of the 1000-lash sentence, and is still imprisoned for the ludicrous crime of expressing himself through writing. Now there is grave concern for 74-year old Karl Andree, a UK citizen who was arrested for having home-made wine in his possession. Karl has already completed a one year prison sentence and still has a 360-lash sentence hanging over his head.

These are but two examples of the many human rights violations this miserable desert kingdom has incurred. There will be many more. One has to wonder whether the UN thinks it’s more important to have Saudi oil, or human rights.

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch frames it perfectly:

Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi. This UN appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief, and underscores the credibility deficit of a human rights council that already counts Russia, Cuba, China, Qatar and Venezuela among its elected members.

Update: More Shame

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who is about 20 years old is still languishing in a Saudi prison and faces death by beheading. As if that’s not barbaric enough, the sentence includes him being crucified thereafter.

Ali was convicted for participating in the Arab Spring protests when he was still only 17 years old. I don’t know what’s worse – the sick judicial system that sentences a 17-year old kid to death by beheading, or the insane Sharia law that requires his dead body be tortured thereafter?

Bring back Clarkson

Daddy didn’t give affection, no!
And the boy was something that mommy wouldn’t wear
King Jeremy The Wicked
Ruled his world

I love cars. Which is why I love Top Gear.

But I soon discovered that Top Gear is not all about cars. Oh no, it’s about Jeremy Clarkson. It’s not a one-man show, but his sidekicks Richard Hammond and James May, proficient though they are in their own right, are like the cars they feature, little more than beautiful (and did I say accomplished?) props.

Top Gear is almost all about Jeremy. Funny, irritating, laughing, teasing, politically incorrect, offensive, shameless, devilish Jeremy. There was a time the only reason I bothered to watch the telly, apart from sport off course, was because of Top Gear.

And now he’s in trouble again.

This time, suspended for allegedly throwing a punch at a BBC producer. The reason does not matter. Producers after all are supposed to serve gods actors food on time… and take a punch or two for the greater good.

There’s a litany of indiscretions that’s got him into trouble before, but the BBC knowing what a treasure he is, sensibly did not let those mundane distractions keep him off the box. But now it appears to be different. Two whole shows have been postponed. That’s pretty darned alarming.

So he’s alluded to truck drivers being murderers of prostitutes, and called former Prime Minister Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot.” So fucking what? I despise truck drivers who’s only mission in life seems to be to cause traffic chaos, and everyone knows Gordon Brown is an idiot. Surely we don’t need to be convinced.

But it’s also alleged that Clarkson has offended various race groups, nationalities and religious denominations around the world, including Mexicans, Argentinians, Asians, Muslims and Indians. Boo fucking hoo! People are just too darn sensitive.

Hey, I’m Indian (South African), and I was not at all offended by Clarkson’s remark about Indians being unsanitary. India is on my bucket list of places NEVER to visit, up there with Saudi Arabia (practically all of the Middle East actually), North Korea, Pakistan, Malaysia and 98% of Africa. No, not even when I’m dead and my atoms return to star-dust.

The guy’s a gifted comedian for fuck’s sake. The world needs more of them really badly.

Yes, there’s a much more selfish reason why Jeremy just has to come back. The Top Gear Live Show is scheduled to return to Johannesburg, South Africa in a couple of months, and I DO NOT want to miss that. It just won’t be the same. It would be Stuck In Gear.

Arabian blights

magiclamp

Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2030 Olympic Games jointly with Bahrain, an island kingdom off the East Coast, has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and rightly so.

Seems the misogynistic Saudi’s had the audacity to suggest that the male and female events be held separately. They proposed that women competitors be shipped off to Bahrain, no doubt to keep the mainland sacrosanct for “god-fearing” men only.

Saudi Arabia’s previous successes in Olympic Games participation consists of a grand total of three medals – two bronzes and one silver. Ramzy Al Duhami Abdullah Al Saud Kamal Bahamdan Abdullah Sharbatly who won bronze in the 2012 London Olympics has such a ponderous name, he should surely have been given a sympathetic gold, just for being saddled with it. And spare a thought for the poor sports commentator…

A country that bans women from driving, imprisons and lashes civil rights activists, beheads it’s citizens after “holy” prayer services on Fridays for apostasy and generally imposes stupid archaic laws based on the ambiguous ramblings in religious scripture, should not be allowed to host the pleasurable pastimes of the civilized world. Well done IOC.

How did we get from the Islamic Golden Age of scientific and cultural enlightenment of the Abbasid Caliphate which gave us among other things, One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights), to such a repressive era which glorifies the atrocious ideology of Sharia Law? I think you’ll find the answer in the insane interpretations and teaching of scripture by the clerics.

Pope, you’re a dope, and your mama three

turncheek

Yeah, your mama is twice as fat as you are. Get it! That makes three. Oh, forget it…

Catholic Pope Francis reckons that there are limits to free speech and that you cannot insult or mock religion. He went on to pontificate that if someone speaks badly of his mother, they can expect to get punched in the face.

The Pope was off course referring to the Charlie Hebdo massacre by religious extremists, and unbelievably excusing it. Insulting a person, even to their face and getting punched in the bargain, is in no way, shape or form equivalent to the response of the religious fundamentalists to the cartoonist’s who lampooned a questionable holy figure.

In any case, any violent response to a verbal or written insult, is unforgivable and just not on. And for a person of the status of the Pope to even think it is, is just plain inexcusable.

I am an atheist. Quite frequently on this blog, my critics label me as the epitome of evil, amongst other things. None of them know me personally, and yet they can assassinate my character and make this value judgement just from reading what I write. Calling me evil is an insult; make no bones about that. But do I go out to find these detractors and brutally shoot them, or blow their houses up? Or do I tie them up and whip them senseless and throw them into confinement? No, prefer to reason it out.

The Saudi Arabian authorities does the latter, while the former is perpetrated by fundamentalist religious bigots. Worse, under a new Saudi Arabian law, atheists are now classified as terrorists. Imagine that. My secular beliefs and values just got declared a highly dangerous weapon, and my keyboard the instrument of mass destruction.

Any God, real or imagined who expects his earthly followers to protect his dignity by killing and maiming the transgressor, is not worth worshipping, and is nothing but a celestial dictator. Any representative on Earth of said Gods, who preach this doctrine, and demand enforcement are just vile scum. It’s that simple.

An aside to Pope Francis: The next time you head my way, I will gladly submit my face to a punching. I will even take one on the other cheek. I surely deserve it for calling your mama fat. But you’re still a dope.

Write For Rights – Free Raif Badawi

Saudi Arabia may have lots of oil and sand, but is seriously lacking in humanity.

Life is fleeting and precious, so it should be an imperative for humans to look out for each other. But religious madness more often than not demands that the poorly interpreted decrees of an invisible deity be held in higher reverence than human well-being and life itself. Such is life under Saudi Sharia law.

Raif Badawi, A Saudi national was sentenced in May to 10 years in prison and a thousand lashes. His crime – “daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression.” And according to the authorities, he is guilty of one other crime, one that is considered – no declared – an act of terrorism in Saudi Arabia; he is an atheist.

Badawi started a website writing blogs that called for religious tolerance and women’s rights. However the kingdom, no doubt spurred on by demented fundamentalist religious leaders hell-bent on perpetuating the inhuman Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam, declared this act (one all rational people would call noble) to be insulting to Islam.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness about the gross human rights violations perpetrated by despotic rulers (no doubt religion is a very useful tool), which includes a petition to free Badawi, Amnesty International released this moving clip of his daughter writing to him in prison.

For further reading on the despicable system of justice in Saudi Arabia, look no further than Wikipedia.

No Woman, No Drive

Last month I published a post concerning the ridiculous assertion by a Saudi cleric that driving vehicles causes harm to women’s ovaries and pelvis. Women drivers are frowned upon in Saudi Arabia and although there’s no actual law forbidding them from driving, licences are not issued to them.

This weekend, there were reports of at least 14 women from Jeddah, Mecca and the Eastern Province being arrested for participating in a defiance campaign. It’s likely that they’ll be fined, or some could even lose their jobs.

Saudi Arabia features prominently on this BBC News World report, as a country with the least equality between men and women. The map below actually fingers most of the Middle East and large parts of North Africa as the worse places a woman could find herself. And I’m going to refrain from pointing out the correlation between degree of religiosity in these countries and the disdain for women’s rights… Oh crap! I just did!

gendergapOn a lighter but welcome note, there are still good men in Saudi Arabia, as this YouTube video which has gone viral points out. Comedian Hisham Fageeh and some friends did a send-up of Bob Marley’s No Women, No Cry to illustrate just how absurd this driving ban is.

One can only hope these pathetic clerics relent and allow women to drive soon, among other human rights they’re currently denied.

Religion rots the brain

Well, actually it does not

But making ludicrous claims has been the forte of mankind since time immemorial. And most do so to further their own insidious political, social, economic and religious agendas.

Take this asswipe from Saudi Arabia for instance: Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan who is styled as a judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association claims that women who drive cars will cause damage to their ovaries and pelvis.

saudisheikThis misogynistic claim was made in support of a ban on women driving cars, which is now being challenged by Saudi female activists. And it does not require rocket science to figure out that the roots of this absurd ban on women driving originates in archaic religious literature.

Men have for thousands of years hidden behind or perverted cringe-worthy doctrine of a religious or political nature to spew forth vitriolic bile that aims to keep women and mankind in general in check and subservience. This should not, and must not be tolerated any longer.

Heed my words; you abide the words of clergymen, politicians and other ideologues at the risk of your own well-being, not to mention sanity.

The year of dressing dangerously

Over the years there were probably many isolated incidences around the world where a person’s dress, appearance and style of living attracted unwanted attention from a few loons, mostly from one type of religious persuasion or the other. But in 2013, these incidences started making the news.

In January, the same religious extremists who had earlier banned women from wearing jeans and tight trousers, inspired the mayor of Aceh, Indonesia, to propose a ban on women straddling bicycles and motorcycles when riding pillion. Then in February a Saudi cleric raged about forcing babies and young woman to wear burkas, which he claimed would prevent rape.

In March Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood opposed a UN Declaration on Woman’s Rights saying that granting them any basic rights would destroy society. They  proposed among other more absurd things that woman should not be allowed to travel freely, work, use contraception and control the household finances.

Earlier this month Hamas, the ultra-conservative government of Gaza passed an education bill mandating separate classrooms for boys and girls. This week in another act of pure madness Hamas lap-dogs who pass for Policemen were reported pulling young men off the streets, loading them into jeeps, insulting them and then cutting off or shaving their long or gel-styled spiky hair.

Now lest you think I’m singling out a particular religion by exposing this insanity, let me assure you that I’m not. If an adherent of [place your religion or political organization of choice here] compels me to dress or behave in a certain way, or inhibits me from exercising certain basic human rights, because it infringes some stupid law from their archaic religious texts, then I’m most certainly going to tell them to kiss my ass.

It’s not so much the religion that concerns me, as the jackasses that try to impose their understanding of it.

No religionist (or political organization) will ever prescribe to me how to dress, what to eat, how to live or what to believe.

*****

This just in…

Seems the madness has spread to Uganda too. Simon Lokodo an ex-Catholic priest, a misogynist and homophobe who is now masquerading as the Ethics Minister [fancy that?] is proposing legislation that will govern what women wear in public, including on television.

This same government-appointed keeper of the public’s morals was at the forefront of persecution and discriminatory laws against Uganda’s homosexual community not so long ago.