The west applies hideous double standards in its attitude to middle eastern nations. Iran are rightly considered to be pariah states, Iraq before the questionable invasion was ruled by an evil dictator by any standards. But there is one repressive state in particular that is feted as an ally, despite being run as a misogynistic despotism (don't foget the support its citizens give to international terrorism - how many of the 9/11 atrocity were citizens of this state?). The country in questio is of course Saudi Arabia.
Anyway, today's Torygraph carries a report which highlights which gives a small example of what a vile little state it is. The Saudi education ministry is undertaking an investigation of into a number of girl's schools which committed a terrible crime - that of holding a sports day...
On December 8 event six Jeddah private high schools broke ministry rules against girls' sports in schools by holding a sports day involving 200 pupils.
"We don't have any regulations that say that it's OK for girls' schools to hold sports classes or training," said Ahmed Al-Zahrani, director of girls' education in Jeddah. This tournament was held by these schools, something that has now led us to know about their illegal activities," he said.
Women's access to sports overall is tightly constricted in Saudi Arabia. Women cannot participate in the Saudi Olympics team, and are not allowed to attend public football matches.
While a few women-only private clubs and private women's universities offer sporting possibilities, sports are prohibited at primary and secondary schools for girls.
I know that this is not on the scale of Saddam's gassing of the Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war but it does give an indication of the nature of that nation... And still they are our friends.
Isn't oil (and arms sales) swell!