WTF Friday (Sunday), 9/29/2013

Late breaking WTF-ery, guys:

Saudi cleric Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan has revealed a new and important reason why women should not drive cars: defective babies.

If that went by you a little fast, here it is again. According to Lohaidan, “medical studies show that [driving] automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards”, and “[t]hat is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees”. Obviously, the internet is going insane over this.

Now excuse me while I go blame all my problems on the fact that my mother callously operated a Ford Taurus while pregnant with me.

WTF Friday, 4/19/2013

Am I the only one who thinks we should just cancel the third week of April from here on out? Yeesh.

But amidst the horror, some welcome absurdity from the Saudi government: Three Emirati men were forcibly removed from a festival in Riyadh this week, then deported, for the offense of being “too handsome.” Apparently, authorities feared that “female visitors could fall for them.” God forbid.

H/T: Paul in Lusaka, plus everyone else who passed this one along.

WTF Friday, 5/27/2011

Can we please do away with the term “man crush”? Otherwise this article is gold. “In between discussions of tiger poaching, Ernest Hemingway and the fragility of human existence…avatar of manliness…You’re going to have to remind me who [Dmitry Medvedev] is…” Fucking gold, dude.

Some really insightful thoughts on North and South Sudanese relations from U.S. envoy, Princeton Lyman: “This is not a marriage made in heaven. The two may not kiss on the cheek but they do have to shake hands.” Ah, metaphors.
Hm. Re-ignition of protests against the female driving ban in Saudia Arabia occurs right around the same time as the re-ignition of a certain Summer blockbuster series. Will the history books cite the Arab Spring or Diesel Summer as inspiration?

WTF Friday, 6/25/10

  • A female Nigerian student was tortured and beaten into a coma by four policemen in the Ekiti State of Nigeria for “having the effrontery to challenge them when conducting a stop and search.” Sounds like a bit of an overreaction.

  • From Slate: “Aimé was different when I returned to Goma for a new job with another aid agency after two months away…I now trusted Aimé more than I had before; he didn’t act like a callow youth, but like a responsible young man. The sad beanie hat was gone, and his shirts were always tucked in.” I think we finally found Africa’s panacea. And wtf is a “sad beanie hat?”

  • In a follow up to a post from a couple weeks ago, Saudi women are turning the tables on the fatwa that makes men their son if they feed them their breast milk. They are demanding the right to drive, and if they do not receive that right, they are threatening to breast feed their foreign drivers, thus allowing them to be alone with them under Islamic law and move freely in automobiles. No word on how the drivers feel about this. Also imagine hearing this quote out of context: “We will either be allowed to drive or breastfeed foreigners.”

WTF Friday, 6/11/10

  • In weird and creepy news, Saudi Clerics have issued a Fatwa suggesting that men drink women’s breast milk so they can be alone with them. Oh that doesn’t make perfect sense to you? Well apparently, if a man does this, the man becomes a relative of the woman, and can therefore be alone with her in necessary situations such as at work, and they can both avoid lashings. I guess fewer lashings, no matter how discomforting the means, is a good thing. (Hat tip to someone named “Kate Cronin-Furman”).

So, If She Weighs the Same as a Duck…

Earlier this week the Bush administration announced that it would be pursuing the death penalty in the cases of 6 Guantanamo detainees before the so-far-unbesmirched-by-actual-litigation military commissions system. This was met with a lot of resistance, and a lot of questions like “hey, what about due process?” and “wait a minute, you’re not sure whether evidence gained from torture will be admissible or not???”

But check out the competition: In Saudi Arabia, a woman named Fawza Falih has been found guilty of witchcraft (which is, incidentally, not defined under Saudi law) and will be beheaded just as soon as the King gets around to approving the execution order. In the course of convicting her, the court declined to establish any elements of the crime of witchcraft, preferring to rely on a coerced confession and the accounts of witnesses who may or may not have been turned into newts.

Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the King today, gently suggesting that perhaps allowing verdicts that rely on confessions obtained through torture following trials in which the accused is not permitted to offer evidence in his or her own defense is not the best way to get other countries to take your legal system seriously. Given that Saudi Arabia is already handicapped in their quest for legal credibility by the lack of a written penal code, they really can’t afford to flout their few codified fair trial guarantees.

In Fawza Falih’s case, she was not permitted to attend every session of her trial, to cross-examine witness against her, or to have access to an attorney; all rights guaranteed by the Law of Criminal Procedure (which, unlike the penal code, someone took the time to write down). She was also detained for 35 days by the religious police, in violation of a royal decree. Now, admittedly, that’s not five and a half years in Camp Delta, but I’m thinking the sentence of death by beheading for a nonexistent crime more or less evens the score.