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Compulsory Arabic for Israeli pupils 25, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Authorities in Israel are introducing a programme making it compulsory to study Arabic in state schools. The test will run in 170 schools in Northern Israel.

It is hoped that it can foster something of a ‘cultural bridge’ to promote tolerance between Jews and Arabs. The BBC further notes that Arab students are required to learn Hebrew.

Kuwaiti MP wants subsidy for second wife 25, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait.
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In a country with subsidies for gas, electricity, water, medical care, fuel, food, loans, education and housing where the state guarantees jobs in the bloated public sector where wages have gone up 22% per year since 2000, one might think that there are no other possible benefits that a Kuwaitis could bleat for. However, one would be wrong. A Kuwaiti MP has put a proposal in front of Parliament for Government subsidies for men to get a second wife.

This proposal, which is designed to reduce the “problem” of the number of unmarried women would beĀ  – presumably – in addition to the $14,000 that men get for marrying in the first place.

What’s next? Subsidies for having sex?

Saudi nails maid as punishment 25, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia.
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Reports have emerged of a Sri Lanken maid in Saudi Arabia whose employers hammered 23 nails into her body as punishment for not doing enough work. Not too much else to say about that particular story, really.

Whilst this example is particularly extreme, the torture and abuse of maids and other domestic servants is a thoroughly endemic problem in many Gulf States. As I have said before, pick up a Kuwaiti newspaper are you are guaranteed to find examples of Maids running away from their employers brutality or clippings of maids having killed themselves.

When I returned to Kuwait in August 2009, the first newspaper I saw had three such stories. The first maid killed her self by jumping off a balcony. The second maid killed herself by swallowing bleach. The third maid attempted to kill herself by taking a massive drug overdose.

I think it’s worth repeating: these stories are daily occurrences in Kuwait and, I suspect, Saudi Arabia.

Just try to imagine for a second just how atrocious her life must have been where swallowing bleach seemed to be the better option.