International

Solidarity vs. sword-dancing

The Washington Post reports:

A group of Saudi activists is planning the country’s first public hunger strike to draw attention to the detention without charge of a dozen political reformists. The participants, who include lawyers, university students and relatives of the detained, could face arrest for their protest in this authoritarian kingdom.

The 48-hour strike is planned in several Saudi cities on Thursday and Friday, a weekend here. Organizers said they are demanding that the government grant the prisoners fair and public trials or set them free.

“To the government, we want to say that you can’t put prisoners of conscience in jail without facing consequences,” said Walid Abu-Alkhair, a writer and lawyer in Jiddah. “And to the activists, we want to say, you are not alone. We want to show that when you put human rights activists in jail, a new wave will come and take their place.”

May the next American president devote at least as much time to expressing publicly his solidarity with the Saudi prisoners and their hunger-striking supporters as he does to sword-dancing with their oppressors.

Update: A brave Saudi student named Ahmed Al-Omran, who produces a blog called Saudi Jeans, has more about the hunger strike.

(Hat tip: habibi)

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