Saudi Arabia: Expatriates Should Not Take Advantage of Sympathy or Generosity

public laundry


There was a recent incident which took place in Jeddah.  A Pakistani couple claim they were accosted by a Saudi couple in a public place of business.  However, all anyone has to go on is the expatriate’s account of the incident.  We all know there are always two sides to every story.

The incident, from what the expatriate couple are stating, seemed to stem from an initial altercation between the Pakistani woman and a Saudi woman.  The altercation intensified and the husband’s became involved.

There have been no accounts from any witnesses of the incident.  Yet the incident as it was relayed evoked shock, outrage and sympathy for the Pakistani couple.  Senior officials from the place of business were made aware of the incident and contacted the Pakistani couple.  A well known English language daily in the Kingdom even carried an article about the incident with an apology to the Pakistani couple.

Yet since the incident has taken place, instead of responding with grace and a positive outlook, the Pakistani woman seems more intent on raising ire with Saudi nationals, expatriates in the Kingdom and her own homeland.

As a result, support and sympathy for the couple is dwindling.  The Pakistani woman even created a specific Facebook Page for further discussions about the incident and demand for change to occur within the Kingdom on Saudis attitudes of expatriates.

American Bedu was part of the Facebook Group but found herself unceremoniously removed from the group when declaring that what the Pakistani woman was now doing and saying was not appropriate.

I can live with being declared persona non grata of a Facebook Group.  But I will restate what I believe was sound advice to the Pakistani woman.  If one is dissatisfied with action or lack thereof from an incident in Saudi Arabia, do not continue to talk badly about your host country.  Even –if- (which is now questionable) she has a valid complaint, she remains a guest in the country.  Both she and her husband are under the sponsorship of a Saudi employer.  Secondly, it is not appropriate to post private correspondence between her and her country’s Consulate in a public Facebook Group.  In addition, although she is not satisfied with the response from the Consulate, she should not mock her country’s role in Saudi Arabia and its relationship with the Kingdom.

Okay, enough of what should not have been done.  Instead she should have filed a report with the manager at the place of business where the incident occurred.  The police should have been called immediately.  Statements should have been collected from witnesses.  She did notify her Consulate.  She did speak with senior officials at the place of business.  However, rather than complain and make a mockery of the positive that took place, she should instead have delivered a comprehensive –and realistic- action plan of what she wanted to see in the way of restitution and resolution.  Details of which should remain between her and the officials involved, rather than share in a “dissing” manner on a public Facebook Page.

It is American Bedu’s assessment based on her own years of experience that the Pakistani woman, more so than her husband, is enjoying her “15 minutes of global fame” and trying to prolong the attention to herself.  Instead of reaching a positive resolution her husband may very well receive unwanted pressure due to his wife’s inappropriate actions.

Wrongs can be righted but it must be done within the parameters of an established procedure.


38 Responses

  1. Carol, I applaud you! I totally agree with you. As I mentioned before, my husband was attacked in the states by two marines who had a little too much to drink, it was said to be a hate crime. We never once thought of accusing Americans or the country for that matter. My husband literally told me while I was crying hysterically “Thank God it was me, and not someone else.” One must always look at the positive side of any misfortunate event. So much hate crimes are committed EVERYWHERE in the world. I don’t understand why Saudis are being bashed for any incident committed by one Saudi individual. I don’t want to speak ill about any country, but Pakistan has “many” issues and hate crimes against foreigners as well, maybe she should focus some of that energy towards something positive in her own country.
    Would be nice if we all had a little John Lennon in us!! 🙂

  2. Whose dirty laundry are you protecting? Tired of Saudis getting a pass. Air it and let them be judged.

  3. Sorry Bigstick…that’s not the way to obtain a positive outcome in Saudi. I guess you’d have to live and work there to understand.

    On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 3:59 PM, American Bedu

  4. Saudis positive outcomes are being declared a witch and beheaded or burnt to death while escaping a school without covering girls dirty awrah best to have a negative outcome which could get you removed from the kingdom of hate, slavery, religious make believe vile delusionalism which still is the gulug of women aka chattle. At least just about any other country has a better human rights history and women will be allowed to drive or leave a burning building.

  5. good advice

  6. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post which talks about a sensitive topic in the Kingdom and cites a very recent positive example. Bigstick – We know you are always anti-Saudi and therefore predictable in your responses.

    On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM, American Bedu

  7. When Saudi incorporates human rights then I will become neutral until then yes anti-saudi.


    Four founding members of a nascent human rights group in Saudi Arabia have been interrogated and intimidated in their attempt to get their organization off the ground, Amnesty International said.

    In recent days, the four men who founded the independent Union for Human Rights in late March have been called in for questioning by the Saudi Arabian authorities and threatened with further interrogation. They remain at risk of being detained at any time.


  9. I agree 100% ! I had the same thoughts but I did not want to comment on that post on fb. I also saw how the woman got her 9 year old kid to write about it to get some sympathy ! Ridiculous !!

  10. I won’t encourage revenge like behavior but having been the recipient of bad behavior from Arabs for over 20 years …I can understand that sometimes you just had enough and want to do something. In a country like Saudi, where going to the police might not always be the best choice…venting on Facebook hardly seems like going too far. You are already in a country that goes to far when it comes to actual victims..and not the aggressors. I say let her say what she wants. Who cares? Either people will tune her some here have done…or people will agree with her and get on her bandwagon. How could she possibly hurt the reputation that Saudi has worked so hard to ensure is not very good to begin with?

  11. I thing bigstiick reverts to old stereotypes and soundbites. What he writes does not happen to the majority of people in saudi arabia along with most people in the usa are not electrocuted or given a lethal injection. You can argue that the usa was built on slavery and the recent shootings in schools etc.. I could say more my friend. All societies have problems including yours. I have lived here nearly 3 years now and have seen change for the better. The fact that we can write about things more publicly is testament to that change. Reverting to the old argument about women drivers does not help your argument. Institutional change is happening at saudi pace. The usa was not born in a day it took 100s of years to establish ‘democracy’ so give saudi time. You also seem to forget that your government turns a blind-eye to some of the things you talk about in the name of oil. So stop your informed ranting, irritating soundbites and inform yourself. You sound like an intelligent big stick!!

  12. Well to begin with, it seems like you have a certain thing against this woman since she removed you from this Facebook group because she obviously did not agree with your advice rather than having an issue with what she is actually doing. Otherwise you would have left it at that and that is it. Whether your advice was heeded or not is really not of anyone’s concern.

    The way you keep stating ‘Pakistani woman’ rather than the woman in question or the ‘so called victim’ shows somewhat disdain in your speech. It doesn’t matter if she is Pakistani, American or an astronaut-she believes she was a victim of abuse and that’s how she should be known.

    Yes there are two sides to a story and most adults already know that. I’m sure the Saudi couple who have been accused of this assault are aware of the media attention that this incident has created and i am sure most people would like to hear their version of this incident.

    All that aside, as Muslims we believe that Allah (swt) created the universe and every single tiny thing in it. Therefore, Saudi’s may ‘own’ this country but in reality for Muslims the whole world belongs to Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) alone which means that we all behave kindly and decently to each other. Religion aside, no one is superior to another based on religion, race, colour, status etc. and everyone deserves to be treated the way they would like to be treated.

    I have also lived in this country now for quite a while now and have never been treated badly by a Saudi or anyone else for that matter but that does not mean these incidents do not occur. Lets just say, it was just this one occurrence where a man assaulted a woman in a public place, that alone should not have happened. This victim in question will never walk into a supermarket with ease again and that is completely unfair to her.

    Saying that, no one should go about tearing up the reputation or tar everyone with the same brush in any country. I do not think this lady in question is doing that. What she is doing is bringing up awareness of basic human rights, and yes in a country like Saudi Arabia. Will it make any difference to people who think they can just push in where ever they like, assault women in public, tell them to leave this country…I doubt it but it is worth a try!

  13. What exactly happened to the Pakistani couple? The post is extremely disapproving of them but it doesn’t make clear what really happened. Any link to the Facebook page or the article in the Saudi newspaper?

  14. I applaud your attitude and thank you for bringing this to out attention, Carol. Facebook is too anonymous and lets people hide behind that. They even say things just to inflame a situation they know nothing about; things they don’t believe but will say just to get a minute in the spotlight. I believe nothing I read on FB! (except my own posts)

    Bigstick, get over the hate. Every country in the world has idiots who do hateful things. Don’t wrap all Saudis in that hate or you must wrap ALL Humans in the same hate. I don’t know your home country, but America has had more than its share of hate filled people. There are good Saudis and bad Saudis, there are good American and a whole lot of bad, there are good Pakistanis and there are bad. Don’t condemn any group based on a few bad!

    Look for the good in all people. When you find something you don’t like, walk away!

  15. Reality Check – if you google using key words, you’ll find more details. I did not think there was a need to site individual names or group names.

    Kat – Bigstick is American and two of you were in the same profession.

    On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 9:38 AM, American Bedu

  16. Coolred – it is not so much that she would hurt the reputation of Saudis but of herself and expats.

    but of course, it is her right and choice.

  17. Be Fair – I think it is kind of humorous to be removed from a FB group actually. That does not bother me in the least!

    Since the individual brought her nationality and then specifically her country in to the dialogue on FB, I think to tell the story her nationality needed to be identified.

    I don’t think she is presently in the right direction of a successful resolution and that’s why I wrote this post.

    I lived in Pakistan at two different periods for extended times as well as in Saudi. I am aware of the culture and how both countries think.

    What happened to her is probably generating more awareness through my blog than her FB page anyways. If you look at the number of visitors in the upper right corner, this blog has exceeded 5 million visitors with more arriving each day.

    She knows that she had the support of some influential individuals who were sympathetic to what happened to her. However, as her and other individuals comments escalated, that support started slowing down. She’s smart … she removed a lot of those comments from the FB page which is a good thing. Let’s hope it was not too little too late for her.

  18. Kat: truth is truth not hate.; know the difference. Next Saudi as a country commit numerous human rights violations, force belief or adherence in vile religious hate mandates which includes embrace make believe theology that enforces discrimination , murder , torture , rape , slavery, racism, superstition , gender apartheid, child abuse, etc.

    Again truth is truth not hate.

  19. And it is everywhere, just more underground here. I hate that evil humans hijack religions and cultures. We can fight it with compassion and education. I think Carol is trying to do that with info like this.

  20. By the way, Bigstick,you remind me of a LT. I worked with. We disagreed about this same subject. He was also one of the best supervisors I ever worked with and a good friend.

  21. It is okay to disagree on points as long as the big picture of improving human rights and dealing in reality is the goal. I disagree that human hijacked religion or culture though,…….. I believe they created both to serve their needs and interests however we as humans can reject both if they are built upon violations of human rights.

    I agree that it exists everywhere but some cultures are dealing with it to where when it exists then it does so in a manner that is hidden least it be confronted. Religion is losing ground in almost all Western countries to the nones.

  22. I agree with you wholeheartedly Carol! I made the same reminder when the group started. In a nutshell if someone as an expat (in any country) wants respect, they must be ready to respect the host country as well.

  23. Does that include Saudi expats too?

    A State Department official said the McLean house is the home of the Saudi military attaché.

    The two women, who are from the Philippines and currently work at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, claim they were mistreated, according to the State Department official.

    The women are charging, according to a different State Department official, that the Saudi attaché kept their passports, made them work extremely long hours and did not pay them. The source said they had not seen anything to indicate the women were physically harmed.

    The official also pointed out these allegations are similar to several other cases they heard from domestic workers who work for diplomats from the Persian Gulf.

  24. @Jemma, you speak about human rights violations and human trafficking..what about Guantanamo? The drone attack on a Yemeni village, killing innocent women and children, US soldiers admitting to torturing, killing and raping young girls in Iraq. Stuart Hall (British sports anchor) admitting sexually abusing young girls, as young as 9. Who could forget the CIA agents who were caught with prostitutes during their visit to Venezuela..Did you forget about former President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? Or the men who work as United Nation officers who were caught at the red light district in India, sleeping with minors!! The list goes on and on.. I am aware this is a blog about Saudi, but if you are going to post about how upset and concerned you are about human rights violations in Saudi, I wanted you to be aware it also happens in yours…therefore you might be able to form a group against these violations and maybe make a difference…Good luck!

  25. I’d just like to clarify that it was NOT CIA agents in Venezuala but rather Secret Service.

    On Fri, May 3, 2013 at 12:42 PM, American Bedu

  26. To all: Head out of the sand, this is going on in every country of the world and yes, it happens in America. Its not a Saudi thing, or an Asian thing, or an American thing, or a Gang thing, it is evil humans doing horrible things to their fellow humans. When someone figures out a way to defeat evil we will all live better. Responsible reporting of all incidents of human rights abuses will help up us all keep cool heads.

  27. I am sorry but how does Clinton’s romp with Monica Lewinsky rate as “human rights abuse”? There is no minor in this situation and Lewinsky was of age and more than happy to oblige. Norma, I think you overdid the examples here. LOL. I think they were dying to encroach upon each other’s territory and nobody raised a protest.

  28. @Norma–

    As you rightly pointed out this blog is primarily about Saudi Arabia and pro-Saudi at that. I am fully cognizant that human rights abuses happen all over the world.

    As Carol pointed out the “CIA agents” were in fact Secret Service agents and it was in Columbia not Venezuela.

    Most of my comments are quotes with links to said source. That said rushing to judgment and assuming facts not in evidence can lead to a slippery slope.

    FYI: ad hominem is an attack of the person not their argument.

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”–Edmund Burke

    In the wake of the allegations, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who’s been a champion of cracking down on human trafficking, is holding a long-planned forum on the subject in McLean, less than a mile from where the alleged incident occurred.

    Wolf says it is often mistakenly assumed that human trafficking occurs only in foreign countries, but it is happening in American cities as well.

    Read more:

    “Saudi man assaults expat woman in supermarket- Humiliation on rise”

  29. Norma…none of what you mentioned, though disgusting…uses religion as an excuse to do such things. Human rights violations occur in Arab countries almost always because of religious convictions…along with culture thrown in to the point where it’s nearly impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. Saudi’s have this holier than though attitude because they are the chosen people of god to receive the last message through their perfect prophet. A lot of the abuse they show others (especially where women, non muslims, and foreigners are concerned)…stems directly from that belief. Get rid of the belief..maybe things will improve…but I doubt it.

  30. @coolred, I was righting to the response of Jemma commenting about a post how Saudis Diplomat was accused of human trafficking. How in the world does that have anything to do with religion. This is my point, when a Saudi commits a crime or indecent action, even if he claims it is in the name of Islam, it is not so. Any person regardless of race or religion can do something awful and claim it is in the name of their belief, but we know better that this person holds no base of truth, why can’t you do the same?

  31. I believe it falls under what your right hand possesses; thus it fits under islam. It is right up there with witchcraft beliefs , death to apostates; rape; murder; apartheid; deception; and mafia tax that Islam also sanctions.

  32. Saudis treat domestic help horribly, some but far too many, because the slave mentality is still alive and well in the kingdom. It was only outlawed n the 50s due to international pressure but the mindset still exists. And where do Saudis get the idea that its ok to own slaves?

    And you may know better about what belief is based on…but I have read the Quran…Hadith…and many other Islamic texts…far too many to doubt for a second that what many of them do they do precisely because of what is in those texts.

  33. It was outlawed in 1962.

  34. One of the Admins has an attitude problem which impacts the Page in a negative way…

  35. You are absolutely correct Carol, they were Secret Service. I apologize for that. I initially thought it was secret service, but when I went to check a post, they wrote CIA and then further down the article switched to Secret Service..but I am all to familiar with bad reporting. It was also in Colombia not Venezuela. 🙂 Oops!!

  36. Whatever Americans have or have not done in Colombia or Venezuela or any part of the world, their behaviour is always considered a VERY shameful event by everyone, including the American media. I don’t think the Saudis would consider such news about themselves a great shame. They know that the world will disapprove but they consider it their right to treat people horribly just because they are far from their families and any safety net. It is in their book and their tradition, and they feel protected by their oil.

    Don’t forget that the Americans who raped an Iraqi girl and killed her entire family were prosecuted publicly in front of the entire world and for the record Abu Ghraib would never become notorious if Americans weren’t willing to speak about it. We had pictures, names and many articles about the perpetrators. I don’t think the Saudis would be so open if they committed the same crimes. Most probably that would have been swept under the carpet or if hiding it was impossible, it would have been explained nicely with “Let’s not make any generalizations about an entire nationality – these are a few bad apples that are in no way representative of the whole.” The GCC people are far more forgiving of such things when they are committed by GCC people. There would have been no public trial of there would have been a mock trial with no serious sentences at all.

    Back in 2007, a French 15-year-old, Alexandre Robert, was gang-raped by three Emirati men in Dubai. If it weren’t for his family’s friendship with President Sarcozy, the case would have never had the publicity it got worldwide. The forensic doctor (an Egyptian) who examined Alex the night of the rape tried to get him to admit that he was a homosexual. Then, when Alex refused to comply, he wrote in his legal report that he had found no evidence of forced penetration – an assessment that could hurt the case against the rapists. The rapists, one of whom was HIV-positive, received a laughable sentence of 15 years each.

    First of all, no American forensic doctor would have tried to convince a victim that he was a homosexual anyway, so what the hell. Secondly, an American court would have taken the abduction and gang-rape of a kid far more seriously than an Arab court. It is as if the Arabs are afraid to hurt other Arabs with too much justice because of some “unlucky” foreigner who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When I was in the Gulf, I heard the word “unlucky” too often to think it is a coincidence. The victims of any crime or injustice were always “unlucky” as if the locals tried to shift part of the blame to them.

    It is the difference in attitude to crime (and the victims of crime) that makes the West a far better place than Saudi or any country in the Gulf.

  37. This is a blog specific to Saudi Arabia and it would be appreciate to have comments get back on track.

    On Sat, May 4, 2013 at 7:36 AM, American Bedu

  38. I feel that your article is quiet biased and is completely based on your dislike towards certain type of response by that pakistani lady. Saudi is not a safe heaven and the way xpats are treated are truely disgusting. When I was teased by a group of saudi guys, my husband went to complain in police station and the response was damn horrible. In few weeks we left that bullshit country.
    Saudis are savages(except few countable educated people) and generosity or sympathy is not there in their dictionary. To live in a country you need equality and fair treatment not generosity or sympathy.
    Saudis should stop behaving like brats, no need treat expats as their honouable guests but they need to learn to treat them as human beings. Anyhow their day of reckoning is fast approaching.

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