Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The terrible story of Gillian Gibbons has been headline news for days now.

The Liverpudlian teacher, 54 had the idea of having her class of 7 year old children name a class Teddy Bear at the fee paying Unity school in Khartoum, Sudan. The children would be allowed to take the Teddy home and be encouraged to write stories during their time with him. This practice is fairly widely used in Primary school teaching. The children decided on the name "Muhammed"

The offending Teddy, actually named by the class of 7 year olds because of one of their classmates 'Muhammed' will see Ms Gibbons suffer 40 lashes at a public flogging, a fine, or up to six months incarcaration.

In a statement, the Sudanese Assembly of Ulamas said: "What has happened was not haphazard or carried out of ignorance, but rather a calculated action and another ring in the circles of plotting against Islam,"

How moronic. You could well reword that: "She's obviously a witch, throw her in the water, and if she floats, she's a witch - if she drowns then...... er..... she's a witch"

A Sudanese spokesman said that the same punishment would be applicable if Jesus or any other prophet were insulted. Really? Pardon my sneer. I read this and this and this. There are countless more.

I've heard byte size media report the story as "worrying" and not wanting to cause a "diplomatic row"

My byte size media in relation to those in authority in Sudan would include the words "savage" "backwards", "medieval", "lunatic" and "vermin". It's a good job I don't work for the BBC, and better still I don't work for Fair Trials Abroad as I'm sure I'd be beheaded.

It must be my simple, frank and ADD driven thought process, but I cannot understand why people are sometimes so diplomatically generous to the likes of tyrants in Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Sudan. What sort of vile, xenophobic society would consider such a punishment for a woman?

Do the people of Sudan live in constant fear of their bullying, spiteful Government? I honestly don't know, as I'm not cogniscent of Sudanese society, but I can hazard a guess.

All sane sections of society appear to be shaking their head in astonishment at this dreadful story.

It seems that others share my outrage and disgust. Of course, I'm sure elements of diplomacy need to be involved, but why don't people generally just say it as it is?

Hats off to the Muslim Council of Great Britain for demanding Ms Gibbons immediate release and to Secretary-General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari for issuing the following statement so quickly :

"This is a disgraceful decision and defies common sense. There was clearly no intention on the part of the teacher to deliberately insult the Islamic faith,"

Sudan is obviously not on my list of holiday destinations and I hope that the plight of Ms Gibbons ends both well for her and shines a spotlight on the savagery of Sudan.

I can gripe about the rising cost of petrol and tax, but I thank God, quite literally that I'm living in a free society - no matter the monetary cost.

No comments: