When I read the first breaking news on BBC on that “the case of a Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes has been referred to the Supreme Court by the king’s office”, I shared it with my little group of personal friends on FaceBook immediately, and just adding the word “Thanks!!!” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-30856403).
Referring to my previous blog entry “Je suis Charlie – Je suis Raef” I then thought about the issue a little more in depth.
Since the horrible attack and murders which began in Paris in the offices of the magazine “Charlie Hebdo” January 7, the world saw outrage and intense discussion. Millions gathered in Paris and elsewhere, demonstrating under the logo “Je suis Charlie”. Public discussion saw a wide range of positions, across various communities, including communities of faith. I find it noteworthy that important moderate voices came from everywhere, including, sometimes, from where I would not have expected it. Here is an example: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6443530.
Friday, January 09, the Saudi blogger Raef Badawi received the first 50 lashes from a sentence of 1,000 lashes. The public outrage was immense. I referred to some in my recent blog entry, and I wrote “Je suis Charlie – Je suis Raef”.
January 14, the media began to report about a new cover illustration of Prophet Muhammad in the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo (http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/01/15/world/middleeast/new-charlie-hebdo-muhammad-cartoon-stirs-muslim-anger-in-mideast.html?_r=0&referrer=).
Again, there was a wide spectrum of opinions flooding the blogs. Again, I also want to note that there were serious concerns offered in moderation, across the whole spectrum of communities. The above link serves as an example.
What I want to draw attention on here is the fact that, in my personal view, the decision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia carries remarkable signals, and I would hope that this is supporting a dialogue which I find extremely important. The world faces a lot of antagonisation right now. This escalation of antagonised, often radicalised, and very often very emotional expressions of outrage supports that views become polar. Polar views support a selective perception which makes us looking for more of the bad news, as we seek support for the position that each of us holds.
Meaning: Dialogue becomes more difficult.
So, here is my take on the news on Raef Badawi: I hope this goes widely noticed. I hope it’s not used in a triumphant manner. I hope it’s used as an example for that listening to each other really works.
And that is what we need more than anything else, right now. So, trusting that this decision is based on including the understanding that dialogue and willingness to understand are so important, I say “Thank you!”. The world never is black and white only, what ever some would want to suggest.