In this FOXNEWS story, American businesswoman Yara (who doesn’t want her last name revealed because she of “safety concerns”–i.e. she fears the Saudi government), confesses to having bragged about womens’ freedom to none other than Neil Bush–one of the president’s brothers.
The article quotes her as saying, “I was boasting about Riyadh, telling him it doesn’t deserve its bad reputation…I told him I never experienced any harassment. I’d had no trouble as a woman. It was business as usual…,” then “When I was arrested, it was like going through an avalanche,” she said. “All of my beliefs were completely destroyed.”
I hate to say this Yara, but you got what you deserved. As do any Americans that do business in Saudi Arabia or any other thoroughly irrational culture and get burned.
Recently, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia blamed the lack of rain in the country on the sinfulness of the people. (Read that story here.) If that isn’t a sufficient cultural barometer, consider that there are no democratic institutions in the country or the infamous case of the Girl from Qatif. Mysticism and despotism are rampant.
That there are some thirty Starbucks in Riyadh may have contributed to Yara’s delusion of normalcy, but the truth is you have to be incredibly evasive to leave America to work in a place like Saudi Arabia–kind of like Starbucks, which has removed “Saudi Arabia” from the list of international locations that it admits to working in (as of today, February 10th–a mistake by a misguided technician, I’m sure.)