I see members of the Saudi religious police, officially known as The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Echoes of the Inquisition there), are to stand trial for the deaths of two men in custody.
The dead men were accused of the ‘horrendous crimes’ of socializing with an unrelated woman and alcohol peddling.
In February 2006, after criticism of a proposed visit to Saudi Arabia by President McAleese a government spokeswoman said
“The visit to Saudi Arabia by the President represented a clear expression of the values of Irish society and people and also respected the culture of a friendly nation.”
I’m certain that the Government and President McAleese would totally condemn these events in Saudi Arabia but the fact that they admire and support this ruthless theocracy cannot be ignored.
The hypocrisy is all the more odious because the admiration and support is entirely based on business profit.
Here’s what some of our esteemed political leaders had to say about dealing with this ruthless regime.
“They’re not the same kind of open society as we are, they haven’t got the same parliamentary democratic process as us and we have to understand those sensitivities. It would be very wrong of us other than to understand and doesn’t take away from the fact we pointed out areas where there is concern internationally.”
Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, (Six One News 18th Jan 2007)
“It is also the case that we have to have respect for other cultures and societies in a world of difference. It is all a bit more complex than saying this is just a simple matter of human rights.”
Enterprise and Employment Minister, Michael Martin. (Irish Independent)
“On what basis would we not talk to them? We can’t go around the world judging people,”
Frank Ryan, the chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. (Irish Independent).
On what basis would we not talk to them? Apparently, there is no basis that would overrule the profit motive.