Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A Saudi value system

A Saudi value system: "The life of a local beauty pageant contestant came to a tragic end recently, when she died after a fall into an open pit in the middle of the desert outside Ahsa. In the land of “blood money”, the victim’s “family” is seeking compensation to the tune of $250,000 USD for their loss.

Forget that the contestant was a three-year old black camel, somebody’s going to pay!

Yep, a camel, and the only claim put forward by the owner is that it had competed in local beauty pageants. (Not sure if they keep records of such things but might be worth a look-see.)


Now, call me cynical, but are those dollar signs I see reflected in the guy’s eyes? Because the owner of the pit, just happens to be Aramco. You know, the world’s largest energy supplier.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Seriously? I mean seriously! Anyone who has ever been out in the desert knows there are hazards all over the place – half-buried bunkers and cement barricades, abandoned cars, steel rods which seem to spontaneously grow out of the ground like some bizarre Arab truffle.

And that doesn’t even include the natural hazards out there. Sand that disappears under your feet (some might call it quick sand, tho I’m not sure that’s an accurate term), collapsing sand dunes, slick dune faces, boulder fields and sink holes.

A quarter of a million dollars because a camel fell into a pit?

I don’t care how pretty the darn thing was, that seems a little…gee…let’s say, litigious!

And reminds me of an older post I did on the price of humanity here in Saudi Arabia.

The life of a Muslim man is worth $26,222 USD, while the life of a Muslim woman comes in at just under 13 grand – a 50% discount based solely on gender.

The life of a Christian man is worth as much as the life of a Muslim woman, some $13,333 USD. And again, the life of a Christian woman is about half of that of a Christian man, or $6,666 USD.

And here’s where things get tricky – and telling.

In Saudi Arabia, the life of a Hindu man is worth just $1,777 USD.

The life of a Hindu woman, on the other hand, is worth only half that, or about $888 USD.
Oh, and the life of a camel is -apparently - worth $250,000, as long as she was pretty!

How do you determine the value of human life? How should we -if we should? What value is there to...well putting a value on life?


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