In a society where political leaders and their lackeys are given every material possession a person could desire and corruption rears its ugly head in every government across the world, it is practically common knowledge that men of power and wealth are almost always embroiled in political scandals just waiting to be caught and plastered all over the news. If it is a serious government, the perpetrator in question is dismissed from office and forgotten – if not, the case is normally dragged on and on until the public forgets and things can be properly covered up by another distraction (whilst said perpetrator either acquires a different form of power or gets to walk away without facing any repercussions).
However, the more time passes the more institutionalised corruption gets. At this point, it has become a network of greased palms and synchronised deals, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand why and how it’s all being done. Specifically, today I would like to discuss the fact that Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva has been chosen to chair a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council (said Council will have the authority to ‘select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on Human Rights’).
Allow me to elaborate – the United Nations, whose main purpose is to promote human rights amongst other important pillars of society such as peace, security and social development, has appointed a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world as its centrepiece in the Human Rights Council. Saudi Arabia is ruled by an oppressive, iron-fisted monarchy that is notoriously well-known for its ruthless treatment of any who are deemed ‘dissidents’ of the Islamic faith. The list of rights violations committed by the kingdom is practically endless – torture, corporal and capital punishment, human trafficking, sexual segregation and gender apartheid (women aren’t even allowed to drive), sectarianism and active and unscrupulous censorship of anything that hasn’t been approved by the authorities are just a few of the worst parts of living in Saudi Arabia.
Perhaps one of the most terrifying examples of Saudi Arabia’s oppression of its people and its neighbouring countries is the imprisonment and torture sentence of 1,000 lashes given to pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi after he wrote about the importance of free speech. Some of you might now be asking yourselves why the hell would anyone in their right mind even think of giving such a responsibility to a country that executes and beheads anyone that does not comply; the answer is simple. Saudi Arabia has the second-largest hydrocarbon reserves in the world, and is simultaneously the world’s largest oil producer and exporter. As a nation, Saudi Arabia has an estimated GDP of $1.668 trillion, and over the period of 2010 – 2014 was the world’s second largest arms importer.
It is this unholy trinity of oil reserves, military expenditure and totalitarianism that has allowed Saudi Arabia to corrupt and destroy the United Nations from within and desecrate everything the UN is supposed to stand for. In its demonic alliance with the United States, it has covertly funded and shaped terrorism as we know it in the Middle East today (think of Saudi Arabia in the so-called Arab world as you think of America on a global scale), and is also essentially the world’s biggest advocate for our dependency on oil. Most importantly, as the Maltese population, we should especially criticise the country for being one of the richest nations in the world whilst simultaneously being completely unreceptive to the pleas of its neighbouring, war-torn countries to take refugees. It is an absolute disgrace that a country as brutal and intolerant as Saudi Arabia is allowed to do as it pleases whilst innocent people are bombed and murdered every day. Oil should never trump human rights.