Friday 14 September 2012
Last Update 15 September 2012 4:28 am
We ought to reflect seriously on what a few stupid people can accomplish with a hand-held camera and a few words of dialogue. Do the people of Libya and Egypt — let alone the whole Islamic world — really think that America is responsible for a few pieces of granola: Fruits, nuts and flakes?
People in America don’t hate Islam. But neither are they well informed about it. But killing an ambassador or storming embassy compounds over a few idiots doesn’t reflect well on the public mood in those countries.
What can we say for sure? Only that Americans may not agree with what any bunch of nuts want to say but we will defend to the death their right to say it — even if it is patently offensive. Why? So that political speech may not be controlled or limited. Only in a few cases may the right to self expression be limited by American law: Overthrow of the government by force of arms, threatening someone’s (including the president’s life), shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater, etc. The point is that people in the Islamic world cannot reasonably blame an entire nation of people and their representatives for the acts or words of a few (very few) misfits who do not share our values.
We all must be willing to take time and get it right rather than act first and only later find out our justification was wrong. That is the right path. Patience, mutual respect and humility are words to live by, not words we can ignore anymore; the world is too small for that. Who will now come forward and restore the life of the ambassador? Since we all lack that ability, we ought to be doubly careful of our actions. The actions of those in Libya and Egypt are against the laws of man and of God. Let us pray that God grants them mercy. (J. Fred Riley, Dallas, Texas)
Visa violation law
This is in response to the report “Visa violators face punitive action.” It is a very welcome step taken by Shoura Council to enact the law regulating the control and use of visas issued to some foreigners through irresponsible sponsors who exploit the system for their personal profit using illegal and irregular employment practices. This infraction of existing regulations and guidelines has been going on for so many years, that foreign workers who were attracted to work in Saudi Arabia, legally, found themselves not only without jobs but also breaking existing rules with or without knowledge. Such expatriate workers, instead of contributing positively to the economy and welfare of this country, were becoming a burden and nuisance for the authorities to control and catch them. In fact, due to financial, social and other pressures, some such elements turn to soft crimes to get by and earn money through underhand means, adding to the woes of an already burdened regulatory system. It is very essential now for the authorities to form a high-powered coordination cell comprising the officials of the concerned ministries to implement this new law through well planned enforcement cells in all cities, where the problems connected with such visa violations can be handled and people involved punished, if found breaking the law. The decision on this matter by the Shoura Council is very timely and needs to be supported by all locals and expatriates, who want to work in Saudi Arabia in a secure and lawful environment. Government should be thanked for taking such important steps, which will not only help the country meet its Saudization goals, but also give genuine expatriates, respect and dignity in the eyes of the communities they work with. (Muhammad Arshad, Alkhobar)
Bilingual radio station
As Riyadh is rapidly becoming a true metropolis in terms of heavy traffic especially during peak hours. There are a couple of suggestions that should be taken into account to solve the traffic problem. One, like all the major cities Riyadh should have a bilingual radio station which updates everyone on the road about the traffic jams so that people can take alternate routes to their destinations if they could. This will not only help the drivers to be a bit stress free during the busy hours of the day but can also improve the quality of driving on the road. As most accidents happen because people are in a rush. Also constant reminders to drive safely and to follow the rules can be aired on the station for the unruly drivers. Lastly, I think the traffic police vehicles should be patrolling on every exit and on every major road here, as one of the main reasons for traffic jams is due to the long wait for the police to come on an accident site irrespective of the magnitude of the accident. So if there is a heavy presence of traffic police the disputed parties don’t have to wait for long resulting in an easy flow for the traffic. (Durre Fatima, Riyadh)
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