The Saudi leadership was humiliated at the news of a woman being sentenced to lashing for the "crime" of driving a car earlier this week. That story made headlines all over the world and was being used as another stick to castigate the Gulf monarchy's medieval rule.
King Abdullah reversed the sentence for an obvious reason. Because it being publicized was an embarrassment. Not because of some trend towards liberalization going on in the Wahhabi kingdom.
But you wouldn't know that from reading Patrick Martin in the Globe and Mail. Martin seems to view his role as a columnist as being a press agent for terrorists and tyrants. Prosecuting and beating a woman for driving is a gross violation of human rights, and a minor act of clemency for an infraction that the civilized world was mocking is described by Martin as an indication of "just how serious the Saudi ruler is about enhancing the civil rights of women in the Kingdom." Or it could be an indication of how serious the Saudi ruler is about trying not to look bad in the international press, and it's a good thing he has boosters like Patrick Martin to help spread that message.
This comes in the wake of the Saudi leadership giving women minor enfranchisement privileges. Yet the Globe and Mail didn`t seem to have much to say about how that move came only a couple of weeks after Saudi embarrassment over the exposure of how they tried to suppress `Ethical Oil` ads which highlighted the abusive, unfair treatment of women in Saudi Arabia.
The one thing that keeps the Saudi rulers in place is the wealth they derive from oil, and Canada illustrating how their product is the equivalent of `fair trade`` petroleum was bad for Saudi business.
That`s what is going on in Saudi Arabia right now - not a blossoming of a women`s rights movement but some press releases by one of the world`s largest oil producers.
This is not the first time Martin has acted as an apologist for the worst elements in the world. In a`radio interview in which he discussed a Globe and Mail series on Gaza a few months ago, Martin dismissed Hamas rocket attacks on Israel as being `firecrackers.` This vapid, hypocritical comment shows the level of analysis Canada`s``national newspaper` is giving its readers. Or if I`m wrong, Martin might be willing to demonstrate it by standing in a room while a few of those `firecrackers`that can level a house are lobbed in his direction. I wouldn`t bet on him volunteering for that any time soon.