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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Youssef Ibrahim: Saudis Continue Steaming Toward the 7th Century

Here's an official plan submitted to invigorate tourism in Saudi Arabia: Marry four women, domicile them in corners of the kingdom, travel to visit each during the year, and -- boom -- you've stimulated airline business, hotel occupancy, and car rentals. This was submitted by none less than Hassan Alomair, director of self-development in Saudi Arabia, at a Jeddah conference for the development of internal tourism.

The project combines piety with efficacy by uniting Sharia's entitlements to multiple wives with economic stimulus, Mr. Alomair argued. Sharing the dais was the female dean of the school of literature at King Faisal University, Dr. Feryal al-Hajeri, who remained silent as he prescribed his harem-induced economic scheming.

Not so with the readers and bloggers on the Saudi daily Al Watan's website, which lit up on February 12 with commentary. "Why not make it four cows? He can fly around to milk them," one said. "If that is the mentality of our director of self-development," another asked, "how are the others in that department?" There was plenty of accord with Mr. Alomair too. Some saw his idea as a "pillar" for building a true Islamic society, a "refuge" for unmarried Saudi women, and a "cure" for a widening spinster phenomena...


1 Comment

This official plan was, of course, written by men. I think they were just looking for a pretext...that is, a pretext for the Saudi male to allow himself extra wives without angering the wife he already has ("but, my dear, it's for the good of the country!").

Theoretically, you could instead have women traveling between multiple husbands in different cities. That would boost the economy just as well.

Anyway, there's one silver lining...at least they'd marry the women. In France, they'd probably cure the problem by having four mistresses. Wait! Is this a step forward or backward? I'm confused now. I know! Let both men and women have lovers in different cities, if they so choose. Then there'd be even more traveling, and the economy would boom twice over. OK, that problem's solved.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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