Raif Badawi

As I imagine most of you know, Raif Badawi, a libertarian blogger in Saudi Arabia, has been convicted of apostasy. His crime: writing what he thinks is right. Coincidentally, I hold the same belief that has gotten him in this hard spot: The belief, that every human has the same intrinsic value, regardless of their physical attributes and beliefs. That means, being a muslim doesn’t make anyone a better person. It also means that it doesn’t make anyone else a better person for any of those reasons. But Saudi Law is based on the assumption of Islam’s supremacy in every facet of life. That sort of reminds me of an historical society that based its philosophy on the general supremacy of the Aryan race. Ultimately, that didn’t work out too well. I digress.

No, actually I can turn that digression into a valid point. After this historical society was defeated in an epic struggle that cost some 50 to 60 million people their lives, the leader of the Alliance of democratic Nations swore that he and those who would follow in his footsteps would never again ignore such a threat to humanity, nor tolerate any such leader. Guess what: for decades, those who did follow in his footsteps have been dining with such a villain, and trading military equipment for Black Gold. Military equipment that this villain (not so) secretly forwards to the same paramilitary groups that strike terror at the heart of our civilization.

The Vice-Chancellor of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, is going to appeal to someone in charge in Saudi Arabia to free Raif Badawi on his visit to this country. As much as I hope he is successfull in his plea, I am not particularly optimistic. It’s not the Vice-Chancellor’s competence that is in question, but the capacity for mercy that the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia have for this man, who is now deemed an infidel and an heretic.

I salute Raif Badawi. He is proof that human decency can be found everywhere, and that people will risk their lives and livelyhood to promote justice and tolerance


3 thoughts on “Raif Badawi

  1. Very well said! I think the most powerful statement we could make would be cutting business relationships with their companies. But to be very honest, I am not sure how I would react if I would now be engaged in a project with a Saudi company today (which I am not, but doing IT projects in the Near East has often been recommended to me) – although I really try to scrutinize clients and consider their values and culture before I sign a contract. I believe most businesses and employees of international corporations don’t even try as they believe politics should be left to politicians.

    1. I considered making such a recommendation. But cutting business ties now would do more harm than good. Not only do we need their business, but I believe completely cutting economic ties would work as an accellerant towards a very bloody military conflict. Also, we would be punishing the wrong people: business people are the cosmopolitans who send their children to schools in Great Britain, where they live like us – and it’s not easy to let go of this life style. We should just stop selling them military equipment

      1. True – I didn’t like the sanctions imposed on Russia (in the conflict with Ukraine) for those reasons. Maybe I was thinking too much about typical IT / consulting projects – and often it is projects for public sector that are very lucrative. I would definitely not want to earn money for working for one of those governments.

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