” قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ “
Remember when I penned a post here in February on Internal Exile used by Arab regimes to punish those who displease them? I called it an Arabian Gulag here.
Yesterday I read a tweet from back home. Two Salafi leaders of the so-called political opposition were tweeting. They have been making noisy allegations for a couple of years about their “lack of freedom” of speech. Even as they insist that others should be denied the freedom of expression. Even as their goal is to establish a Wahhabi type of government: they almost did it in 2012 but it was vetoed by the Emir. Even as they praise serious violent repression in neighboring states.
What these two Salafist former parliamentarians were demanding in their tweets was that the government should ban another parliamentarian, one who is from another sect, from travel abroad. They said he might feel free to ‘speak freely’ outside the country, which they clearly think is a bad idea: he might criticize the dismal human rights situation in neighboring Gulf states.
What this Salafi former parliamentarian is saying in Arabic is that: “This D—- should be immediately banned from foreign travel so he will not use his being a member of the Assembly to besmirch the brothers in Saudi and Bahrain abroad….”
The other one, his comrade in Wahhabi Salafism, absolutely agrees with him. They are both asking the government (which they claim to oppose for allegedly restricting their freedom) to restrict someone else’s freedom of travel and speech. A kind of repression they always support when applied by regimes in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, but not at home.
Now I don’t know this man they are targeting, and I most likely disagree on at least some things he espouses (FYI: I disagree with almost everybody back home on the Gulf on most political, social and economic and any other subject or matter). But this falls within the usual pattern reflecting the fact that loud talk of freedom of speech by most Islamists, especially Salafis, is for media consumption, especially for foreign media. They do not believe in freedom of anything: speech, religion, expression, and even thought.
Long live freedom of speech, Wahhabi style, with a dash of Salafi hypocrisy.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Prominent Egyptian activist and lawyer Gamal Eid has said that security officials prevented him from travelling from Cairo to Athens early Thursday morning amid what he describes as a campaign against rights campaigners critical of authorities. “A late decision was issued. I’ve been prevented from travelling and I’m returning from the airport! What a law-respecting country,” Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights, wrote on Facebook early Thursday. Eid was barred from leaving on a dawn flight bound to Athens after his name was found on a no-fly list, airport officials told Aswat Masriya news website. Eid said that he was not provided with a reason for the ban.…………”
This is not new. Across the Arab world and the rest of the Middle East tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands are banned from travel abroad for political reasons. It is not called Internal Exile, but that is exactly what it is, a form of forced exile within a country. What Arab officialdom and media term as “man’a min al-safar“, Banned from Travel (Abroad). It is done to punish people who criticize a regime or displease it.
Every Arab country has tens of thousands of these Internal Exiles, and so do non-Arab Middle East countries as well. The computer age has made this cruel form of punishment easier to enforce and expand and monitor. From Bahrain to Riyadh to Cairo and beyond, those whom the regime deems loudly unfriendly to it are “Banned from Travel Abroad”.
No, it has nothing to do with terrorism, this form of punishment preceded the age of Wahhabi terrorism, but it has expanded now and “terrorism” is occasionally attached to placate some Western governments and NGOs.
Mostly it is below the international radar, this huge Arabian Gulag of internal exile. An internal prison. If they are not in an actual brick and mortar prison, then they probably do not exist to the outside world. Most are not charged with any crime. But there are probably as many or maybe more of these forced internal exiles as there are political prisoners kept in cells.
Other advantages to the regimes: these forced internal exiles, the “banned from travel abroad” are cheaper to maintain than formal prisoners and not as ‘obvious’, and they are below the international radar. A cruel Arabian Gulag that is ignored by most of the world.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday
“The CIA paid torture teachers James Mitchell and Bruce Jesser more than $80 million. As they now live out their wildest dreams, their barbarity has cost the U.S. far more. Call them the houses that torture built: Two sprawling luxury homes purchased by the CIA-contracted psychologists at the center of the scathing Senate report. James Elmer Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen are not the first Americans to employ waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” against our enemies. But they are almost certainly the only ones to get rich doing it. They did so by employing what is widely dismissed as “voodoo science”…………..”
And I had almost come to think that we are among the last barbarians left. Some of us, a few actually, behead others, a few slit throats, some blow themselves up among others (mostly the victims are of us) and kill hundreds, some sentence dissidents to public flogging. All rather primitive methods of inflicting death and/or pain by both Jihadi terrorists and repressive regimes. But these are old tried and true methods dating back deep into history, to long before Rome, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Islam. The cruel but unimaginative methods of execution and inflicting pain of the Muslim and Arab worlds.
Then we have the more imaginative, or more scientific methods of inflicting pain and causing death. That is the more civilized method. From the Nazis of Germany/Austria to the French in Algeria to Abu Ghraib and to the alleged CIA and the private contractor Gulag that spreads across the globe. From rectal (or anal) feeding to waterboarding to lengthy sleep deprivation to psychological torture to gas chambers to forced starvation, all the way back to the burning of people alive and to the fires and knives of the Inquisition. The more civilized methods of the non-Muslim West. I should not mention the odd questionable prison injections that cause convicts to die slowly and unusually painfully in some God-fearing states. But I just did.
Houses of glass are everywhere………..
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum