Wishing you all a peaceful and prosperous Eid, enjoyed with your family and friends. May Allah accept your deeds and forgive your lapses.
The picture in the background is a view from the top of Gara Mountain in al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia.
I don’t like going to weddings. But in every summer I get to go to more than my fair share of them. It’s just one part of the social obligations that come with the ties we talked about before. And with the high number of young single men in the family, it seems there is always a wedding around the corner. We had one last month, another this week, and we have three upcoming weddings in one household scheduled for later this year. Below is a short video I took during a family wedding two days ago.
Although I have previously complained about the vagueness of some articles in Saudi Arabia’s newly implemented E-Crimes Act, my conviction was that having a flawed law that could be rectified later is better that not having a law at all. Today, Arab News runs this story about a man from my hometown of Ahsa who has been prosecuted according to the new law.
A court in the Eastern Province city fined the man SR50,000, sentenced him to 22 months in jail and 200 lashes for breaking into an e-mail account of a young woman and getting personal photos of her. The man was found guilty of blackmailing the woman by threatening to disseminate her pictures online and to her parents if she did not agree to have an affair with him.
However, there is something here that I don’t understand. I have read the E-Crimes Act and I can’t find any mention of lashing as a punishment for committing any of the violations there. Under the new law, people found guilty of using computers to commit crimes could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to SR5 million, but lashing is not one of the punishments the law stated for these crimes.
How come that this man is being sentenced to a punishment that can’t be found in the law? How can this happen? Are the judges free to add any punishment they think is appropriate for a crime even if it is not part of the law on which the accused is being prosecuted?
My family used to live in the heart of Hofuf, the Old Kout neighborhood. My grandfather and his two brothers owned small adjacent houses in those narrow allies, before they moved out to newer areas of the city over 40 years ago. My grandfather passed away when my father was only six years old, and my grandmother had to work to provide for the family, but they could not even afford to have electricity.
The financial hardships have caused my father to think of dropping high school and get a job, but his mother firmly refused and insisted that he continues his education. He studied under the dim light of a kerosene lamp, and went to become teacher. May his soul rest in peace.
Roba’s recent post about her fascination in abandoned spaces has encouraged me to do something I have always wanted to do. I wanted to go downtown and take pictures of the old houses, although I have never lived in them but something about them just kept pulling me. Maybe it was the stories my family have told me, maybe it is something else, but I have finally decided to go there with my new camera.
Sadly, most of the muddy houses have been destroyed by rain and fires. Despite going there many times with my father when I was younger, I could not recognize the houses. The rest of the neighborhood is mostly deserted except for a few houses occupied by poor workers.
My beloved hometown of Ahsa (aka Hassa) has entered the race of candidates for the New 7 Wonders of Nature Nominees. This is the second campaign for the New7Wonders Foundation after their first campaign to choose the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Jordan’s rose-red city of Petra has won in the first campaign, and they are also present in the new list with Wadi Rum. Now I don’t think Ahsa will make it to the final nominees (it’s in the 47th place right now), but hey, please do me a favor and go vote. It will cost you nothing and you will make me happy :-)