Writing in Arab News, Saudi journalist Abeer Mishkhas is angry both that Saudis abuse people in positions inferior to them and that no one seems to take any responsibility for fixing the problem. She details a list of abuses for which laws—which do exist—appear to have been ignored when it came time to punish wrong-doers. The abuse of power is a shame on the country, she writes. She calls for the abusers to be publicly named and for the laws to be enforced. Worth reading the whole article.
Itâ€™s Time to Talk About Our Social Conscience
Abeer Mishkhas, firstname.lastname@example.org
So what â€” I want to know, I really want to know â€” is being done to stop people from abusing domestic staff? The reports of abuse, murder and harassment seem never to stop and very little, if anything, is being done to stop them. Our officials, despite numerous public statements that they are dealing with the situation, clearly are not. The recent case of the two Indonesian maids who were beaten to death by their employers for whatever reason they choose to provide is simply incredible. It is not enough to hold the womenâ€™s employers and question them; we need to see some action taken against them and to see them publicly shamed for what they did.
People have not forgotten the Noor Miyati case, and the fact that this poor woman lost her fingers and suffered without seeing justice done is again unbelievable. So what are we waiting for? Up to now, no matter what the Human Rights society or any official body says, words mean nothing. It is no longer about individual cases and it reflects badly on every one of us. These horrible stories are reported around the world and as far as tarnishing our reputation, nothing could tarnish it more. The official reaction so far has been to try to calm things down and then to do nothing.
In the case of an Indonesian maid who accused her employerâ€™s son of raping her (Arab News Aug.1), the case was officially closed for â€œlack of evidence.â€ Now the maidâ€™s lawyer is trying to reopen it and convince the authorities that a DNA test should be used in the search for justice. To say the least, that is reasonable – especially since the accusedâ€™s denial was initially taken as proof that the maid was lying! And now to the recent case of the shepherdess who has been working here for decades without a salary. Had it not been for her goats, she would not have survived. Her employer owes her some SR63,000 in unpaid salary. What was done? Nothing. Nothing at all. He appeared once, stated that he was bankrupt, gave her SR7,000 and disappeared. Did the police do anything about finding him? Do our imams take these matters as subjects for their Friday sermons? If we look into these matter closely, there are two elements to consider. The first is the offender and the second the problem of law enforcement. Pertaining to the offenders, there seems to be a wider problem that has deep roots in our society and customs. Some people get away with mistreating those who are dependent on them â€” whether the dependents are the women and children of their family or their employees. To hold such unchallenged and unquestioned power is all too often to abuse it to the maximum extent. We have only to look at the records of abuse to see the truth of that statement.
We keep telling the world that we hold Islamic values dear to our hearts and that whatever we do is done according to religious teachings. If we stop, however, and ask ourselves â€œHow many of us actually follow those teachings when one side is weaker than the other?â€ I am afraid we would find inhumane behavior all too common.