To veil or to die, that’s the question

niqab-4

Yesterday a student at the women only campus of a Riyad university collapsed and died of a heart attack. Allegedly the male paramedics had to wait for an hour before they were admitted due to ”modesty concerns”

The student, now identified as Amna Bawazir was known to suffer from heart problems.

Okaz newspaper said administrators at the King Saud University impeded efforts by the paramedics to save the student’s life because of rules banning men from being onsite. According to the paper, the incident took place on Wednesday and the university staff took an hour before allowing the paramedics in.

king saud university

However, the university’s rector, Badran al-Omar, denied the report, saying there was no hesitation in letting the paramedics in. He said the university did all it could to save the life of Amna.

Professors at King Saud University are demanding an investigation. “We need management who can make quick decisions without thinking of what the family will say or what culture will say,” said Professor Aziza Youssef.
One staff member, who witnessed the situation, said paramedics were not called immediately. She said they were also not given immediate permission to enter the campus and that it appeared that the female dean of the university and the female dean of the college of social studies panicked. The staff member spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from university management.

Al-Omar said the staff called campus health officials within minutes of Amna Bawazeer collapsing and that about 25 minutes later they called paramedics.

The students insisted that the officials who refused to allow the medical team into the college on the pretext they were men should be held accountable for the incident.
”Islam is a religion that facilitates practices, and the religious rule, in exceptional situations, are relaxed,” some of the students told the daily. “We do not see any necessity that is more pressing than rescuing the life of a human being from imminent death.”

Amna Bawazir’s death sparked a debate on Twitter by Saudis who created a hashtag to talk about the incident.  Thousands of Saudis vented their anger online. In the debate, many Saudis said the kingdom’s strictly enforced rules governing the segregation of the sexes were to blame for the delay in helping Amna Bawazeer.

In 2002, a fire broke out at a girl’s school in Mecca, killing at least 15
girls. The religious police would not allow the girls to escape, actually chased them back into the burning school, because they were not wearing headscarves or abayas.

Petition: Save my life, then my Modesty
Read more:

Al Arabiya

ABC news

Gulf News

Saudi Arabia: Alcoholism in the Kingdom

alcoholic

steadyhealth.com

 

Alcohol is legally forbidden in the Kingdom and against Islam.  Possession of alcohol or public drunkenness carries strict penalties.  Yet that being said, there are individuals in Saudi Arabia, both Saudis and expatriates, who have alcohol addiction problems.  Expatriates may have had their addiction prior to arrival in the Kingdom and some Saudis may acquired their addiction while outside of the Kingdom.  However, there are also individuals actively battling against an alcohol addiction within the Kingdom.

There are Saudis with WASTA who are able to acquire alcohol.  Foreign Embassies and diplomats have an exemption and are allowed set quantities of alcohol. There are also a number of bootleggers who illegally bring alcohol into the Kingdom’s borders.  These bootleggers believe the high risks, which can include the death penalty, is worth the ultimate gain in profits.  In addition, there is a wide “home brew” market in the Kingdom where others make their own spirits within the privacy of their homes.  Last but not least, many Western compounds which prohibit Saudis from being on the property, will have a bar which will also sell “home brew.”

Alcoholism is a disease and while alcohol is illegal in the Kingdom, treatment for the disease is available.  This is not a topic that is widely discussed and some individuals battling with an alcohol addiction in the Kingdom may not know where to turn for help.

This link  takes one to the web site for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in Saudi Arabia.  Meetings take place in the cities of Dhahran and also Al-Khobar (Eastern Province).  In addition there are meetings in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Although the website Alcohol Rehab does not contain factual information in regards to the availability of AA in Saudi Arabia, it does contain good background  information on illegal alcohol in Saudi Arabia and the dangers of “home brew.”

Saudi Arabia: Hippocratic Oath – Ethical or Compassionate

hippocratic oath

americanrtl.org

 

The decision of a Saudi judge to order the surgical paralysis of a 24 year old Saudi man as retribution for an incident that occurred ten years ago has made global headlines.  The majority of the World is outraged by the inhumane decision of this judge.

At the same time, there is another case pending in Saudi courts where an accident victim wants to see the guilty party surgically paralyzed rather than accept the six million SAR she had been offered as retribution.  However, the Jeddah judge who heard this case deferred on a ruling and instead urged the woman to accept the “blood money.”

Not only do these two incidents raise questions on the authority and boundaries of Saudi judges but the issue goes beyond what is viewed as just in the case of an “eye for an eye.”

While one judge made a ruling which basically sanctioned the surgical paralysis of a human being, doesn’t such a directive contradict the international Hippocratic Oath taken by all physicians?

“The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically and honestly.  It requires a new physician to swear upon a number of healing gods that he will uphold a number of professional ethical standards.”

How could a doctor who has taken the oath to preserve life willingly agree to surgical paralyze an individual?

This also brings up questions about other practices which continue to take place in Saudi Arabia.  A thief may have his right hand removed.  Other charges may result in amputation of both a hand and a foot.  In cases of murder, narcotics, heinous crimes and even proselytizing, the penalty can be death by beheading.  In all of these cases, a physician is involved.  When the accused is expected to survive the punishment, such as an amputation, a physician will administer anesthesia and drugs to prevent infection.  In the case of an execution, the accused is administered drugs to not only dull the pain or reality of what is happening but to make the accused more docile when the act of beheading is carried out.

In such cases, would the physicians role be categorized as ethical or compassionate?

Saudi Arabia/USA/WORLD – The War Against Cancer

I’m usually not a person who will have multiple posts on the exact same topic, however, I have made an exception.  I have personally experienced so many benefits from American Cancer Society that I am one of their strongest advocates in their annual Relay for Life fund drive.  Since my own battle with cancer began in 2008, there have been new drugs and treatments made available from which I have personally benefited and which are extending my projected life span.  My late Saudi husband, Abdullah, also benefited from American Cancer Society services when he was receiving treatment in the United States.

Any contribution you are able to make will support the horrid War Against Cancer…and it is a war.  A cancer patient must prepare themselves as if they were going into to battle when fighting this hateful disease.

This post is purely personal and from the heart.  I’m a strong advocate of theAmerican Cancer Society and its annual Relay for Life program.

Relay for Life is an annual fundraiser which allows individuals like me, for example, to receive various useful services during my War Against Cancer.

This month, Relay for Life, is having a contest to see who can raise the most funds through online donations.  I’m not only one of Relay for Life biggest advocates, but competitive too.  Therefore, I am reaching out to YOU and asking if you can make a contribution.

my desert boy

Abdullah before cancer entered his life

 

There are multiple options.  You can make a direct online donation in any amount or you can also purchase a luminary for US$10 which also counts as an online donation.

DSCN2337

Luminary in memory of Abdullah 2010 from a friend (please disregard that she misspelled his name.  The love and thought was there)

 

Let me explain about the luminary.  A luminary is a white bag with the logo of the American Cancer Society and a square which contains a personal message.  First one will select whether the luminary is either “in memory of” (one who has passed on from a battle with cancer) or “in honor of” (one who continues a War Against Cancer.  Next you type in the name of the individual as you want it to appear on the luminary (such as American Bedu, Carol Fleming, Abdullah Al-Ajroush or some other name).  Last but not least you then can add an optional personalized message in the square.

DSCN2339

Luminary in honor of me from a friend, 2010

 

 

Luminary’s are arranged on either side of the Relay for Life track which all local participants walk around.  The luminary is filled partway with sand and a candle is placed within the bag and lit.  It is very moving and emotional to walk around the Relay track after dusk has fallen while guided by the large circle of luminary, each representing someone loved whose life was impacted by cancer.

circle of luminaries

circle of luminaries

 

I know many of you have already provided a donation.  I’m asking from the heart that if it is possible to place another donation during this time or to purchase a luminary.  I can’t stress enough how worthy is the cause and the many benefits and services cancer patients may receive thanks to events like the annual Relay for Life.

You can also read more about why Relay for Life is so important to me here.

Saudi Arabia: AlNahdi Medical Company Launches ‘Kolna Amal’

al nahda 1

اطلقت شركة النهدي حملة  بداية الشهر بعنوان “كلنا أمل” لدعم أطفال السرطان

وضعت الشركة منصات في عدة مراكز تجارية في جدة حيث ان كل شخص يتصور عند المنصة، سيتم التبرع بمبلغ قدره خمسة ريالات لمؤسسة سند لأطفال السرطان.

والجدير بالذكر أن النهدي تعاقدوا مع عمر حسين، مقدم البرنامج الشهير على اليوتيوب “على الطاير” حتى يكون سفيرا لهذه الحملة.. وقرر عمر حسين أن يحلق شعر رأسه كليا حتى يظهر تضامنه مع أطفال السرطان.  أيضا بدأت الحملة هاشتاق على تويتر وهو #كلناـأمل حتى تصل الى أكبر قدر ممكن من الناس.

اليوم، ٣ ابريل ٢٠١٣، ستكمل الحملة طريقها في مجمعات جدة المركزية.. . نتمنى من الجميع مشاركتنا في نشر الأمل.

al nahda 2

AlNahdi Medical Company has launched a great campaign called “Kolna Amal” to support children with cancer around Saudi Arabia in line with launching their new brand identity.

 al nahda 3

Starting this month, the campaign rolled out in different big malls in Jeddah. Where they have set up stands in each mall, inviting big influencers in the society to encourage people to join and take pictures next to the stand, and for each picture taken, AlNahdi will donate 5 riyals to Sanad, the children cancer association.

 

Last week, AlNahdi collaborated with the Saudi influencer Omar Alhussein, in order to be the ambassador of this campaign. Where he went to the stand to encourage people to take pictures. To add more buzz to the campaign, Omar AlHussein shaved his head to support the cause.

al nahda 4

The hashtag    #كلناـأمل  was also created spread and support the campaign even more

 

Today, April 3rd, ALNahdi stand are set up around Jeddah malls, you can go and join such a fun, and great cause.

 

USA/KSA/WORLD: YOU Can Make an Immediate Difference

carol getting chemo

getting chemo, February 2013

 

 

This post is purely personal and from the heart.  I’m a strong advocate of the American Cancer Society and its annual Relay for Life program.

Relay for Life is an annual fundraiser which allows individuals like me, for example, to receive various useful services during my War Against Cancer.

This month, Relay for Life, is having a contest to see who can raise the most funds through online donations.  I’m not only one of Relay for Life biggest advocates, but competitive too.  Therefore, I am reaching out to YOU and asking if you can make a contribution.

my desert boy

Abdullah before cancer entered his life

 

There are multiple options.  You can make a direct online donation in any amount or you can also purchase a luminary for US$10 which also counts as an online donation.

DSCN2337

Luminary in memory of Abdullah 2010 from a friend (please disregard that she misspelled his name.  The love and thought was there)

 

Let me explain about the luminary.  A luminary is a white bag with the logo of the American Cancer Society and a square which contains a personal message.  First one will select whether the luminary is either “in memory of” (one who has passed on from a battle with cancer) or “in honor of” (one who continues a War Against Cancer.  Next you type in the name of the individual as you want it to appear on the luminary (such as American Bedu, Carol Fleming, Abdullah Al-Ajroush or some other name).  Last but not least you then can add an optional personalized message in the square.

DSCN2339

Luminary in honor of me from a friend, 2010

 

 

Luminary’s are arranged on either side of the Relay for Life track which all local participants walk around.  The luminary is filled partway with sand and a candle is placed within the bag and lit.  It is very moving and emotional to walk around the Relay track after dusk has fallen while guided by the large circle of luminary, each representing someone loved whose life was impacted by cancer.

circle of luminaries

circle of luminaries

 

I know many of you have already provided a donation.  I’m asking from the heart that if it is possible to place another donation during this time or to purchase a luminary.  I can’t stress enough how worthy is the cause and the many benefits and services cancer patients may receive thanks to events like the annual Relay for Life.

You can also read more about why Relay for Life is so important to me here.

Saudi Arabia: Etiquette of the Saudi Toilet

dysontoilethose

dysontoilethose

 

 

For those who have not used a toilet in the home of a Saudi should be prepared for some distinctions that would not necessarily be found or take place in the home of a Western expatriate.

To begin with, the washroom may have a western style toilet with or without a toilet seat or among some families or men-only areas, the toilet may be a “two stepper” or squat toilet.  In addition, there may be a bidet.  In 99.9 per cent of cases there will be the toilet hose.  There is only a small chance that there would be toilet paper.

Prior to entering the washroom, there may be sandals outside of the door.  That is a sure signal that the floor will likely be wet and anyone entering should put the sandals on their feet before going in to the washroom.  The reason for all the wetness and the waterproof sandals is that instead of toilet paper, individuals will use the faucet hose to clean.  In many cases it may appear that the hose is alive for water will be on the floor, the walls and of course the toilet seat itself.

While I would never complain or express dissatisfaction to the state of someone’s toilet, I would not travel without a small roll of toilet paper in my bag so I could wipe down wet toilet seats and use as necessary.

In addition to using the washroom to relieve oneself, the washroom is also used to perform wudoo or abolitions prior to prayer.  This process also results in more water being sprayed around the entire room.

A housemaid is usually kept very busy with continual mopping and wiping down of the Saudi toilet.  Some washrooms do not have a window so the room has a continual wet and musty smell.

Upper class and upper middle class homes will be more likely to have a Western style washroom with little evidence of wetness or dampness.  However in middle class homes, lower class and villages it is very typical.

Saudi Arabia: Why Won’t Saudi Men Use Protection?

use a condom

There has been greater global coverage in the press and on different blogs and other social media about Saudi men getting a foreign woman pregnant and then abandoning her and the child.  The fact that so many young Saudi men are unwilling and not ready to be fathers makes me wonder why they (obviously) chose not to use protection such as a condom?

I know from my own experiences in Saudi Arabia that there is little to no sex education taught in the schools or Universities.  Most young Saudis learn sex education from friends or trusted family members and exactly what or how much they learn is debatable.

Additionally, growing up in a gender segregated environment does have an impact that Saudi youth will have many curious and arousing thoughts about the opposite sex.  The lack of contact seems to magnify the allure and temptations.

Therefore, when the young Saudi man has the opportunity to travel outside of the Kingdom whether for schooling, business or pleasure, many take the opportunity to engage in sexual relations.  Once they find themselves in a  more open society without segregation it is not difficult for them to find a woman to charm and engage in an intimate relationship.

Sadly, most of them are probably thinking of only the self-gratification and not the fact that a sexual encounter can have long lasting implications such as a pregnancy.  It probably does not occur to them either that engaging in relations with an individual also poses the risk of a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Why does a Saudi man choose not to use a condom as a protection for himself and for the prevention of an unwanted pregnancy?  Because Islam promotes and encourages large families, a Saudi man probably does not think about a condom.  If anyone is going to take care of birth control, it is usually the woman.  In private discussions with either women or Saudi men, the most common phrase on why the man does not use a condom is that “he wants the encounter to feel natural.”  Others have stated that using a condom is too confining or just an annoyance.

It seems that the Saudi man most likely to use a condom when having intimate relations is the man who chooses to use the services of a prostitute.  Additionally, some married Saudi couples have chosen the condom as a birth control mechanism.  However, the single Saudi male who wishes to have intimate relations is the most likely not to use a condom or seem to think about consequences by not taking appropriate protection to avoid an unwanted pregnancy or STD.

Saudi Arabia/USA/World – YOU Can Help Support American Bedu in the War Against Cancer

carol getting chemo

 

Dear Friend,

 

I am participating in the Relay for Life in my local area sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  As one who continues a battle against Stage 4 cancer and also lost my late husband to this insidious disease, it means a lot to me to help raise funds which help myself and others.

 

This link provides my personal testimony in addition to allowing one to make a donation.  I’d be very grateful if you would be able to assist me towards making a difference in the War Against Cancer.

 

http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=52977&pg=personal&px=28094792

 

Best Regards,

Carol  (American Bedu)

Saudi Arabia: The Effects of Westernisation on Dietary Habits in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

saudi diet

greenprophet.com

 

Contributed by Lily Lowton for American Bedu blog

The modern people of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are descendants of ancient nomadic goat-herding tribes whose traditions have filtered down through the centuries but are becoming diluted by western culture and influenced by rapid economic development. The traditional diet in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabiaconsists mainly of food readily available in rural areas; unleavened bread made with barley flour, chicken, lamb, spices, yoghurt, milkand dates. Diet is strictly governed by Islamic tradition and it is forbidden to eat pork or consume alcohol in Saudi Arabia. Islamic principles are unlikely to be diluted by western culture but aspects of diet not related to religion are changing rapidly in the region and continue to do so. Meat is consumed in larger quantities than it is the western diet and must be prepared according to Islamic principles and tradition. Tea and coffee are the preferred drinks but this may change as western influences increase.

There are many different varieties of bread in the traditional diet, the most common being Fatir which is a barley-flour flatbread eaten with most meals. A traditional blend of spices known as Hawayij and consisting of peppercorns, caraway seed, cardamom seed, saffron & turmeric give Arabic cuisine its distinctive flavour and aroma. Chicken is widely consumed and makes up a large proportion of the traditional diet. Lamb is also popular but tends to be the meat of choice for special occasions and family celebrations. It is rare to find a vegetarian in Saudi society but, with the massive influx of westerners into the region, that fact is likely to change. Western influence and rapid economic development, especially in urban areas, will lead to a continued move away from traditional cuisine and the possibility of more Saudi citizens adopting western attitudes towards food. Rural areas tend to be more traditional and remain largely untainted by western culture but this is also likely to change.

Changing diet

Following the discovery of oil in the region in the late 1930s and the rapid growth and development of the Saudi economy since that time, the diet of the people has changed and continues to do so, mostly in urban areas, where populations have become more cosmopolitan and the influences of western cuisine are causal to a shift away from traditional foods for younger generations. Fast food restaurants are becoming common-place in the cities and the food they serve is dramatically different from traditional Saudi cuisine. Nutritionists are worried by this shift as disease related to the consumption of westernised foods is rapidly on the increase. In recent years the incidence obesity in Saudi adolescents had increased due to a shift away from traditional foods & an increase in the consumption of saturated fats, sugar and carbohydrates. The rapid development of the economy in the Kingdom has brought with it a more modern lifestyle in young Saudi Arabians who are increasingly following a more sedentary way of life than their ancestors were used to.

Health considerations

In 2006 a study carried out by The Saudi German Hospitals Group amongst adolescents in Jeddah discovered that almost half of those studied were overweight. The study concluded that this was due to a move towards western cuisine and a tendency towards a more sedentary lifestyle much like their western counterparts. The study recommended the promotion of a healthier lifestyle within the age group studied as a counter-measure against future incidences of diabetes and other diet-related diseases. There can be beneficial effects on health due to western influences; a possible increase in vegetarianism could result, however, extremes in diet, be it towards an unhealthy increase in consumption of carbohydrates and saturated fat, or towards extreme diets promoted in the western media can lead to problems. Balance is required in diet to promote a healthy population and less strain on health resources.

It is clear that the influence of western society upon Saudi Arabian lifestyle has had mixed effects, both detrimental and beneficial. Diet is one of the areas in which the effects on Saudi culture are marked and obvious. Younger generations in urban areas are affected most as their exposure to non-traditional influences is much greater. Globalisation will continue to dilute the differences between cultures the world over, however, there are some aspects of society, governed by strong tradition and religion, which will stand up to this apparent shrinking of the world and preserve the identities of countries such as The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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