March 13, 2002
SubLilliputian Saudis

Amygdala reports a horrible story from Saudi Arabia about a girls' school that burned down, killing 68 (or 14, or 15, depending on whom you ask) students, while members of the Commission for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice held back bystanders who "rushed to the scene carrying water buckets", since the CPVPV "did not want males to enter the school".

This reminds me of one of my favorite passages from Gulliver's Travels, the one I quoted here a month ago today. Apparently Saudi bigotry goes beyond even Swift's fertile (and for that matter bigoted) imagination. Petty as they are, his Lilliputians do at least allow Gulliver to throw buckets of water on the fire in the queen's quarters. It is only his other, less orthodox and more efficient, method of fire control that puts him in danger of his life. (Sorry about that 'fire control'. I can't resist a pun, and, to judge by the outcome, Gulliver does have a good aim.)

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 13, 2002 10:10 PM