The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Every now and again.... 

.....I see something that makes me feel slightly optimistic. It shows that the good guys, for the moment at least, are in the ascendency over the bad guys. In this case, it's a very slight example of the Arab News and the arabic-language Eqtisadiah actually reporting some minor corruption.

Traffic Chief’s Son Arrested for Driving Without License

It's basically the story of an official telling a string of lies in order to get his son off a criminal charge, but being "found out". Mild stuff, you may think. But in Saudi Arabia it's "pushing the envelope" just that little bit. Why?

- because in the normal course of events, the Traffic Chief father would have got away with it, the officials would have closed ranks.
- the newspapers would not normally report such a story of official corruption.

So maybe there's hope. On the other hand, it could just be someone settling a score.

It also illustrates the nature of corruption in our country. Of course we have financial corruption, but probably less than in most arab countries. Our main corruption is the favor shown to family, extended family, and tribe.When you want some government approval or licence, choose your official carefully, make sure he's "one of yours", then go and see him personally, it'll sail thru, regardless of merit. But if it ends up with a guy from the wrong tribe, forget it. You'll wait months and years.

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