Thursday, November 4, 2010
What CAN You Do Today?
This is the family of Rizana Nafeek, a girl sentenced to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia for a crime she did not commit. And those little girls want their big sister back.
Rizana was born into one of the poorest castes in Sri Lanka. Her village has long been decimated by war, and children are expected to earn their keep. Girls are usually sent to foreign nations as unskilled labourers or sold to barbarians. It would seem that Rizana was lucky- sent as a maid to Saudi Arabia on a forged passport to work for a wealthy family. However, the 17 year old's dream became a nightmare shortly after arriving.
Shortly after securing a job with the Khalaf family, they left her in charge of their baby. Having been employed as a maid (Saudi Arabia has separate requirements for childcare providers.), she didin't know what to do when the baby began choking. She called the child's parents and did what she could to try to safe the infant, but he perished. The family claimed that she killed their baby and had her arrested.
After being interrogated and abused and not given a translator or attorney, Rizana Nafeek signed a confession that she couldn't read- one that claimed she choked the child to death. She was forced to repeat the confession in court before she was given a Sri Lankan representative, whom she could finally explain the situation to. In court, the judges attempted to persuade Mr. Khalaf to pardon the girl. (fathers of crime victims can pardon the accused) However, Mr. Khalaf refused, and the judges reluctantly sentenced Rizana Nafeek to death by beheading.
Naturally, this case has caused a stir amongst caring people in the Arab world. As such, newspapers have been told to say that Rizana Nafeek poisoned the infant. Last week the death sentence was confirmed and Rizana Nafeek will die by the sword after Eid, which is 2 weeks from now. The only man who has the power to stop this injustice is King Abdullah al-Saud, who has been known to grant justice via persuasion.
So what can you and I, the little people, do to save an innocent girl from the blade?
To begin with, read and sign this petition to Sri Lankan president Rajapakse. It is the hope of SafeWorld and myself that if he receives enough response, he will appeal to King al-Saud for a pardon or retrial with competent representation. -----> CLICK ME <---
Next, get the word out- the more people who become aware of cases like this, the more incentive that nations like Saudi Arabia have to change. It is in the interest of nations that want to participate in the Global Economy to behave in a civil manner.
While the world seems huge and her problems overwhelming, we can make it smaller by not reducing people to statistics. Through seeing the faces of those who are at risk and their families, it makes us more human. We cannot save the world at once, but if we can save one life today it will matter not only to the people you see above, but it will be a building block in the house that humanity built.
Posted by Michel-Exildas Galipeau at 09:17