I wish I could report that human rights in the Magic Kingdom had risen to the status of African wild dogs, Longhorn fairy shrimps, or any other endangered species facing extinction. Unfortunately, it's a cold fact of life that something must first come into existence before it can be taken out.
The phantom seed of human rights was planted in the Kingdom last year in May, when the stroke-stricken King deigned to allow the first-ever independent human rights organization on the Arabian Peninsula.
Seven months later, on October 15, 2003, this phantasmal seed germinated into the Magic Kingdom's first human rights conference. Dignitaries from fifteen countries, including the United States, flocked to the occasion. After much hoopla and diplomatic hobnobbing, the conference delivered the divine "Riyadh Declaration": a cornucopia of warmth and sunshine guaranteeing freedom and respect for all things, including the planet. Following a lengthy introduction, 23 items are emphatically "declared and stressed." For those inclined, you can read the entire document at the Saudi Embassy website.
Item three of the "Riyadh Declaration" caught my wandering eye:
The illegal curtailment of freedom and violation of man's sanctity and morale is unjustifiable and is prohibited in Islamic law.
The more I read about Saudi Arabia the more I think that nice smiling Saudi Spokesman must be on some kind of drug. If you have watched the news much, you have seen this guy. He wears a suit. He looks right into the camera and smiles. Then, he lies. He says things like "there is no oppression in Saudi Arabia." This guy's the new Baghdad Bob.
On a more serious note, it looks like things are just getting worse in Saudi Arabia. They apparently believe that no one is going to call them on it, and there probably right, at least for now. But countries like the US, UK, France and Germany should be calling them on these abuses no matter how much oil they have. If they don't, it just going to get worse, and we will be dealing with a war in Saudi Arabia or Iran part II.