Tales of torture.
Summary: We get a point of view from Saudi, as leading English daily Arab News calls for the perpetrators who abused a Sri Lankan maid to be punished if found guilty.
Saudis rightly resent re·sent
tr.v. re·sent·ed, re·sent·ing, re·sents
To feel indignantly aggrieved at.
[French ressentir, to be angry, from Old French resentir, newspapers abroad publishing twisted or false reports about the Kingdom. Trying to set the record straight, however, is not made easy by the constant drip of stories of Saudis mistreating foreigners in the Kingdom.
They are all too common. The case of the five Ethiopians who died of asphyxiation asphyxiation /as·phyx·i·a·tion/ (as-fix?e-a´shun) suffocation; the stoppage of respiration.
Oxygen starvation of tissues. at an overcrowded o·ver·crowd
v. o·ver·crowd·ed, o·ver·crowd·ing, o·ver·crowds
To cause to be excessively crowded: a system of consolidation that only overcrowded the classrooms. detention center A detention center or a detention centre is any location used for detention. Specifically, it can mean:
None of these, however, compare in horror to the report of the Sri Lankan maid found with 24 nails and needles in her body which, she claims, were hammered in by her sponsors.
This story is causing a great stir. There have been protests outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (srē läng`kə) [Sinhalese,=resplendent land], formerly Ceylon, ancient Taprobane, officially Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, island republic (2005 est. pop. . On the other side of the debate are those who say the allegations are false, that 49-year-old L.T. Ariyawathi could not have got through airport metal detectors without being stopped. Clearly the story has to be thoroughly investigated. If her employers did this then they must be punished rigorously -- and be seen to be punished. That is crucial. Justice has to be seen to be done as a deterrent to others. But equally, if the women did this to herself, hoping to benefit financially from it, she must be punished.
The other important point is that immediate action is imperative. The longer the case drags on, the more that can damage the Kingdom's reputation. The delay will be used by those with an anti-Saudi bias as evidence that when it comes to foreign workers' rights and the way they are treated there is an institutionalized in·sti·tu·tion·al·ize
tr.v. in·sti·tu·tion·al·ized, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·ing, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·es
a. To make into, treat as, or give the character of an institution to.
b. culture of contempt.
The fact that the overwhelming majority of domestic servants in the Kingdom are well treated and well appreciated is, unfortunately, irrelevant in this situation. As for bad employers, there are bad employers everywhere: Saudis are no better, no worse than anyone else. Ultimately, the big issue here is not even what may or may not have happened to the maid. It is about justice. A horrible crime is alleged. It must not be ignored simply because the supposed victim is foreign and the alleged perpetrators Saudis. There already is a perception that foreign domestic servants are regarded as somewhat less than human, that authorities turn a blind eye to crimes committed against them. There is an opportunity here to prove that is not the case. It must be seized.
- Arab News
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