Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Saudi Back Lash

You can tell a lot a person by the company they keep. Can the same be said of countries?

I am proud to be a citizen of the United States. Sure I hate our foreign policy, and, yes, I think Dick Cheney and the president have gutted the US Constitution, and I admit that we are an oligarchy run by corporations who care not a whit for human rights or environmental sustainability, but we are still the country that brings you the Kindle.

[If you don’t know what that is, look it up. It is number two on my Christmas list. To discover what is Number one keep reading. And while it is true that I do not celebrate Christmas, I will do so if anyone sends me either the number one or number two items on my list.]

You can see just how far we have fallen from the fact that our government lacks the guts to decry what passes for justice in the homeland of Islam. (At least we are on the books decrying the illegal settlements and expansion of settlements sanctioned by the homeland of Judaism, even if we don’t do anything about it.) I am, of course, talking about the vicious justice system of Saudi Arabia that has sentenced a nineteen-year-old victim of gang rape to six months in prison and 200 lashes with a whip. This was an adjustment of her original sentence of only ninety lashes, the increase being ordered to dissuade her from continuing to appeal her sentence. Her crime? Being alone with a man that was not a relative.

Can it be that our fear of terrorism is so great that we will stay mute in the face of any injustice as long as the perpetrators claim to be on our side? Can it be that we are so cowed by our oil addiction that evildoers can count on us to see no evil unless it isn’t leveled at us? Yes, it can be.

We have to do something, and we can’t wait for the government to do it for us. So here is my sugestion: stop driving your car.

I saw an ad in a magazine today for a Vespa scooter.

[Yes, that’s my Number One! And no, I can’t afford one. And yes, I will add Christmas to by list of must observe holidays if someone sends me one. Yellow would be nice.]

It costs $3500 dollars and gets 70 miles per gallon. What if we all bought Vespas and, basing my numbers on my own 2001 Saturn coupe that gets about 25mpg, cut our consumption of gas by 60%?

I know some people worry about driving a scooter for fear of getting hit by an SUV, but if we all drove them that danger disappears. We could leave one lane for cars and trucks, and the rest for scooters. No more traffic snarls. Commutes would be a breeze. And we would help break the country’s addiction to oil that forces us to kiss the ass of these barbarians who whip women and call it justice. Next thing you know they will be excusing water boarding.

[OK, I admit it. I don’t give a damn about Saudi justice, I was just using it as an excuse to shill for a Vespa. Or a Kindle. Or both. Come on, people, it’s Christmas time: be generous!]

3 comments:

Joyel said...

Rabbi Rami,
I love you and I hope this doesn’t come off too harsh…
I’m a new fan and haven’t read old blogs – so, sorry if I’m repeating anything.

I'm a bit surprised that Toto is mostly a satirical editorial and doesn’t discuss (…what’s the word I’m looking for… only “deep” comes to mind…) deeper topics. I mean, finding a cause and fighting and speaking out against injustices, what’s wrong with people, the world, the country, etc. is all nice and good, but can be very tiring. Maybe you need more sleep. If you follow your own advice, about remembering that all is God, that 50% is good and 50% is evil, Saudi is what it is and Christmas is what it is.
It just is.
For every greedy person, there is one with genuine gift giving love and happiness. For everyone walking, riding a bike, scooter, buying green or organic, there are those who “don’t care” or more likely are just conveniently ignoring.
At least that’s my opinion, which is just an opinion and not to sound self righteous.

Maybe your satirical blogs and search for “what’s wrong” stems from… “I, Apikoros” blog,

…… I believe that Torah is a human creation reflecting the biases of its authors and interpreters, and should not replace reason as our ultimate guide for establishing a just and compassionate society. ………..


So, reason is the ultimate guide for establishing a just and compassionate society. Isn’t reason subjective? Why is your “reason” correct? To a Saudi, it is reasonable to beat a woman for being alone with a man, no matter what else happened to her. To us, it is reasonable to allow ourselves to go into thousands of dollars of debt to get our kids everything they ever wanted for Christmas.

Justice and compassion still come from somewhere else. I guess we can only look to those people who have “realized” God and have written that word down in some book…

Rabbi Rami Shapiro said...

I appreciate the comments, Joyel. Toto is supposed to be funny. Not necessarily laugh out loud funny, but at least "He is so nuts" funny. Yes it is satirical.

The only thing I want people to take seriously about this post was my desire for someone to gift me with a Kindle or a Vespa. Or both. Or two of each so I can gift one of each to others. Or more.

Joyel said...

Ok - good. I feel much better knowing that it's a light hearted satirical editorial, rather than a red faced angry activist editorial. Maybe I'm the one who needs more sleep if I impulsivinly apply such a negagtive tone.

I'm surprised I don't see more comments...

I thought the world was moving toward intelligent conversation with idealistic compassion... at least the wi fi places I go are....