Monday, 26 November 2007

A bear called Mohammed...

... is offensive, in Sudan. Not a pig called Mohammed, you could see their point about that - maybe. But a teddy bear.

A British school teacher called Gillian Gibbons is being held in a Sudanese police station because she allowed a primary school class to name a teddy bear 'Mohammed'. She didn't name it herself; didn't force it on them: they chose it.

In a country CIA World Factbook describes as suffering from "inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification and periodic drought", not to mention a life expectancy of barely 50 for women and 48 for men; a literacy level for women of barely 50%; unemployment nearly 20%; per capita GDP of $2400 and 15% of the population are refugees, do you laugh or weep at the authorities' sense of priorities?

Well, I weep. I weep that the authorities there follow the hateful beliefs which have led to brutal oppression of Christians and other minorities; I weep that human life means so little to the evil regime of Ahmed al-Bashir; I weep that, as always, it is innocent victims who suffer.

UPDATE 2245: The British Embassy in Sudan is reporting that Gillian Gibbons faces 40 lashes for blasphemy. This is savagery. Until 1956, Sudan was a British colony - can anyone seriously argue that independence has been a good thing?

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