You may not remember his name (Raif Badawi) but you have heard of this 32-year old Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced in 2012 to receive first 600 (increased now to 1000) lashes over 20 weeks, and who has already suffered the first “installment” of 50 lashes, for “blasphemous” statements on his blog. International outrage and the physical condition of the “criminal” have postponed continued execution of the sentence.
Up till now I always associated flogging with the scourging of Jesus but also with the punishment inflicted on convicts on their way to Australia during the 19th century. Robert Hughes’ book, “The Fatal Shore”, contains such graphic accounts of this prolonged, often fatal, torture that I was incapable of completing the reading of Hughes’ seminal work on Australian colonial history. Flesh torn from bloodied backs exposing the bone was more than I could take. What must it have been for the poor bastards who actually suffered it ? What must it be for Raif Badawi ?
Such a crime against humanity today deserves universal condemnation of fascist States like Saudi Arabia which practise it. To inflict it on a blogger for simply expressing opinions contrary to those held by a theocratic government is an outrageous violation of the basic human right of freedom of expression. Tolerance of such barbaric behavior is unthinkable, but unfortunately a reality. The Islamist wahhabite fanaticism which justifies it, of itself merits this Blog’s mantra :
D E L E N D A R E L I G I O