Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Laws, lines and ludicrousy

There's been lots and not a lot going on in my world this week. Here is my ramble about it all.
At school they've put tape along the floor in the hallways- one red line and one blue line. Can you guess what it's for? That's right, it's one line for girls and the other for boys. It goes all the way through the school including up two flights of stairs and the best part is that it stops in two places and then the lines swap over (unintentionally I'm guessing). So if the kids were to walk next to each other in the 'appropriate' lines there would be complete pandemonium when they had to cross over, and someone would surely end up pregnant. Wait, is that not the worry here? Oh, maybe I over-reacted.
On the plus side at school we only have two weeks left with the kids and then I face the moral dilemma of whether to fail the bad boys and consequently have to spend an extra week teaching them (very painful) or give them a B grade (which is what the parents and Principal want) and send them off to enjoy the holiday. What would you do??
Last weekend we ventured out to a bazaar at the diplomatic quarter. All of the embassies are there and it's generally considered OK to take off your abaya. And I tell you what, it's scary to say it, but it felt weird. Like, a little bit naked. Especially when there were Arab men around. It's funny how quickly you can get used to something so alien. A woman in a car was filming us at one point, pretending to be just filming a house next to us. But that's what we like to do to them- how the tables have turned! Maybe we're not as subtle as I think we are, seeing as we noticed straight away when it was being done to us.
I have also been reflecting on some rather serious things this week, due to conversations that have come my way and events that have taken place. It goes without saying that the school shooting has been on my mind. Really there are no words to describe how appalling it was, so I won't even bother to try. Other topics have been arranged marriage and the death penalty, neither of which I can find it in me to agree with.
I've had someone at work tell me plainly that she's married to her cousin (who she doesn't like) and a fourteen year old girl telling me matter of factly that her Mum married her Dad 'becuase he is her cousin,' as if that not only explained it but justified it. Some arranged marriages I'm sure work out quite well, but to me marriage should always be primarily about love. And Vegas. Haha.
As Lee pointed out, all we can say is we hope this fourteen year old girl doesn't hate her little boy cousins...

The death penalty, as we all know, exists in Saudi Arabia in the form of public beheadings. Whilst doing some research today I came across a picture of someone kneeling about to be executed, with a man running at him, sword raised. The picture made me feel sick. Thinking about it and actually seeing it are two very different things, and I find it truly fascinating that people go to 'chop chop square' to witness these events. The idea of actually watching someone carry out such an act- regardless of the crime- is just horrendous to me. 
I found an interesting Guardian map displaying capital punishment statistics worldwide in 2011, with Saudi Arabia coming in at 82+ for the year. I was quite shocked to see that Iran had 360+ and that China refused to release any figures but that they're estimated to be in the thousands (we do have to bear in mind that China has a massive population, but it is still amazing that they could refuse to partake in official statistics). I was quite proud to see that there is only one remaining country to abolish the death penalty in Europe (Belarus).
The thing about Saudi Arabia is that there are a disproportionate amount of immigrants from Asia and Africa being beheaded. The racism that we have seen here makes it only too easy to believe this. It's also possible for people to be pardoned of their crimes if they know the right people or have enough money, and thus evade execution.
Another country that we all know has the death penalty is the USA. I think it might be the only western country in fact, other than the aforementioned Belarus. Coming in at 43 deaths for the 2011 year, it is definitely not the worst but still well and truly getting involved. I think Saudi seems worse because they do it in the open, but I guess you could say at least they don't try to hide who they are.
I don't mean this to sound like an anti-America rant or anything, using the USA here is purely circumstantial here. It's just I've just been thinking this week about the shooting in Connecticut. Another school shooting? The thing that's crossed my mind is that with all of Saudi's faults, at least they don't have fucked up young people open firing on innocent children. On the other hand, they don't have freedom of speech or equal rights. I guess every country has its faults, although some perhaps more than others.

Not exactly a festive post, but hey you gotta write about what you gotta write about!
Happy holidays!!!


  1. What did you do in the end? Did you fail the boys or pass them?

  2. FAIL!!!!! Although I think I might've been saved from having to tutor their sorry asses individually. Phew.

  3. Then it's a win win!
    And I am glad you guys had a chance to celebrate Christmas even though it is not the same as home. And hope that you have recovered from the tummy bug. Norovisrus has been sweeping across London, so it's kind of like you are at home...


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