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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Two more get the chop 

Saudi Beheaded for Slaying Acquaintance

This is most unusual. Not beheading drug smugglers, but doing it on a Tuesday. They’re supposed to do it on a Friday, after Friday prayers. You go to Friday Prayers in the main mosque of a large city, and if you pray piously, Allah rewards you with a public execution in the square outside. But there’s nobody around on a Tuesday.

The thing we should face up to as Saudis is that Public Executions are “showbiz”. So we should do them properly. If we were the USA, with their “by invitation only” executions, we could afford to be low-key about the whole thing. But we’re not ashamed of having ours in public, so let’s do it with style.

At the moment what happens is that a couple of guys put down a big polythene sheet. Then the executioner arrives. Then the van arrives with the prisoner and his guard. They lead the prisoner to the center of the sheet and make him kneel. If the relatives of his victim want to pardon him, now is the time for them to shout, and he’s released, pays blood money instead. Otherwise the sword swings, head comes off, lots of blood, people faint, someone pukes. Body and head are taken away. Polythene sheet rolled up. All over.

That’s not really showbiz, is it? It’s obviously a ceremony designed by civil servants. It needs more “pazazz”. It needs to be more “Hollywood”.

1. It needs a compere. Someone sleazy, an arabic Jerry Springer

2. Then we need a “trailer-trash” audience. Oh, we’ve got that. They’re called “Bedu”, come in from the desert where they live in tents. So that’s OK.

3. There should be a warm-up act to get the audience going. Belly-dancers from the Lebanon would be good.

4. Then we need some mascots, like a European soccer match. Little boys, dressed up as executioners, with miniature swords, come on and have their photos taken. Their parents look on proudly with moist eyes.

5. Then, like a big boxing match, there should be some lesser events first. A couple of public floggings, for example, 100 lashes each, would go down well.

6. Then the compere should interview the families of the criminal and his victim. Cue poignant photo of criminal as young toddler playing with stuffed camel, home video of victim sitting with family. Sit them next to each other, maybe they’ll fight, like Jerry Springer’s show.

7. Then when the victim is marched in, they should play an appropriate song. Like the one by Gentle Giant
I lost my head, it was not easy,
unknown, unread, it wasn't easy,
and each day, each night,
wasn't wrong, nor right,
I can't remember what I said
I lost my head.

Something the audience can clap to.

8. Then the audience can vote on whether the family will pardon the criminal. Then they can try and influence the family with their shouts – cries of “take the money!” and “chop the bastard!” build up to a crescendo.

9. Assuming no pardon, there’s a battery of stroboscopic lights and the sword swings. It’s magnified on a massive screen. There are endless replays from different angles. Then in slow motion. Two commentators, retired executioners, discuss the finer points of the swing. Sombre music plays as the corpse and head are removed. The lights dim. That’s it until the next time.

10. However, we’ll be showing highlights after the 9 o’clock news… Then there’s the “Executioner of the Year” awards in May. …..And don’t forget to watch “Favorite Execution Bloopers of all time”. ……….Buy “The 52 Executions of 2003” DVD Compilation……………..Visit the Executioner Hall of Fame…………………………..

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