The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave an official response this week to criticism of its sentence of flogging for writer Raif Badawi. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia responded to Amnesty International, Prince Charles, the German foreign minister, the Canadian foreign minister, the millions of petition creators and signers around the world, the tens of thousands who have marched in protest of a country’s policy of whipping as a punishment for writing. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia delivered a response to a young woman and mother of three whose husband has been sentenced to a caning for writing.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants us to know that it is angry about the criticism, does not like it even one bit, and would like us all to mind our own business. In more diplomatic language, it released an anonymous statement which said in part: “Saudi Arabia expresses its intense surprise and dismay at what is being reported by some media about the case of citizen Raif Badawi and his sentence. Saudi Arabia at the same time emphasises that it does not accept interference in any form in its internal affairs.”
It took a visit from the German foreign minister to elicit this cold response. The only response that could have been even more cruel, a Friday flogging of the writer this morning, the same week as the official statement was released, did not take place:
The fact that I am celebrating the absence of that response this one week, the “see? we told you not to interfere” response that all abusers know to deploy on occasion, underlines the sad state of this affair. Here we see the abuser blame the victim for causing them the hassle of abusing them. Other people were flogged publicly today in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, some for the crime of having ideas; one writer just happened to not be a part of the parade this morning.