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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Saudi Family Values: In 50 years, Saleh Al-Saieri, a Saudi businessman has married 58 women, including his cousin and (just a month ago) a thirteen-year-old, and then divorced 54 of them.

As soon as Al-Saieri gets the itch to marry again, he draws lots between the current four wives to choose which one will be divorced. Under Islamic Shariah, he is not allowed to marry more than four wives at a time. Al-Saieri said, “I first got married to my cousin when I was 14 years old because of my father. The ceremony took place in Sharura, southern Saudi Arabia. A few months later, I divorced her even though she gave birth to my first son, Omar. He is now 50 years old and works as an engineer and a businessman.”

“Six months later, I married my second wife. I loved her because I had known her when we were young. I started my marriage campaign immediately after the second marriage,” he added.

He said, “My wives only meet each other occasionally. Each lives far away from the other. Some of my sons only found out that they were brothers through similarity of names at school.”

“I married university graduates and illiterate women. The oldest wife I am married to is 40 and the youngest is 13, who I married just one month ago. She lives in southern Saudi Arabia,” he boasted.

“I will stop when I reach wife number 60,” he concluded.

Wow. Can you say “state sanctioned misogyny,” er, “true love”?

Oh, and dig this: I was reading a piece in Arab News by Barbara Ferguson and was struck by how oddly familiar it sounded. Compare and Contrast the first two paragraphs of these two news articles: Ori Nir, writing in the Forward’s March 12th edition in an article entitled Groups Back Bill To Monitor Universities:

Risking a clash with civil libertarians, major Jewish communal organizations are lobbying the Senate to approve a bill that would tighten federal monitoring of government-funded Middle East studies programs at universities.

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly, is pitting the Jewish organizational community against professors associations and leading international studies scholars as well as against traditional allies such as the American Civil Liberties Union.

Barbara Ferguson, writing in Arab News one week later, in an article entitled US Jewish Groups Back Congressional Bill to Monitor Universities (sound familiar?):

Major Jewish organizations are lobbying the Senate to approve a bill that would authorize federal monitoring of government-funded Middle East studies programs throughout US universities.

The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives and is now before a Senate committee, would establish a federal tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel on American college campuses.

Déjà vu, nu? And besides, uh, paraphrasing from the Forward (and, yes, Ferguson, we use a “the” when referring to the Forward), Ferguson also manages to quote from the revolting, conspiracy mongering American Free Press:

The American Free Press newspaper is more critical: “In other words, it would be another federal ‘blue ribbon’ panel akin to the Warren Commission that ostensibly investigated the JFK assassination and the now highly-suspect federal commission looking into the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”

You can read more about Willis Carto and the American Free Press here.

And note that Ferguson’s AFP quote is from none other than Holocaust denier Michael Collins Piper .

Hmmm, and speaking of Ferguson’s piece sounding oddly familiar, please note that Piper writes: “One other group has lent its support: the U.S. India Political Action Committee, an Indian-American group that has been working closely with the Israeli lobby now that Israel and India are geopolitically allied.”

And Ferguson writes: “Another group supporting the bill is the US India Political Action Committee, an Indian-American group that has been working closely with the Israeli lobby now that Israel and India are geopolitically allied.

Déjà vu all over again, nu?

Piper explains that “the primary individuals promoting this effort to control intellectual debate on the college campuses are known for having a political axe to grind: they are all prominent and outspoken supporters of Israel and harsh critics of the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

And Ferguson explains that, wait for it, “the main promoters of this effort to control intellectual debate on the college campuses are all prominent and outspoken supporters of Israel and harsh critics of the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

Piper: “Two members of the board would be appointed by the Senate, two by the House, and three by the Secretary of Education, two of whom are required to be from U.S. federal security agencies.”
Ferguson: “Two members of the board would be appointed by the Senate, two by the House, and three by the Secretary of Education — two of whom are required to be from US federal security agencies.”

And all this in an article about academic matters…

One is always amazed at the stupidly high standards of journalistic integrity and professionalism employed by Arab News.

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