Paul in Saudi: clarification, please

It caught my attention when, in this post, you said:

I believe you were talking about cold medicine.

In this post, you previously had boasted about breaking Saudi law:

And yet here, you tell the story of one of your guys, “an idiot”, who brought Arabic Bibles into the country.

When I followed up by asking whether you seriously advocated a jail sentence for possessing illegal books, you responded unequivocally.

You went on to complain that the young man hurt your reputation — on purpose, and that he did what he did knowingly, and with disregard for the law, for people, and for society.

May I just ask, please, what the fuck?

(Gosh, I thought I was going to be pitted for serious asshattery, not simple hypocrisy.)

You are right, my positions are sometimes inconsistent with my actions. If I am caught I will face my punishment like a man. Many of the things I do violate the law of the places I find myself. I suppose this is true of most of us.

Each of us chooses our own morality, I guess. Mine includes never passing a beggar without giving something, and smuggling in Nyquil.

I have nothing mush else to say in my own defense.

Oh, maybe one more thing. Years ago Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital produced a study on the criminal mind. For some reason it ended up on my desk, it was really neat. It said that a criminal denies in his own mind that he is doing something wrong. Ever since then, I have tried to be honest with myself and with others when I am doing wrong.

Further (you know how thoughts always come to you too late), I would like to say that I am impressed by the number of favorable things people on these boards have said about me over the years. I really appreciate all the kind words.

I very much apologize if my words endangered or damaged my reputation.

I think that in these cases, neither one of you did anything morally wrong with respect to the law. A government that bans books and medicine is Neanderthal in its conception, and deserves only contempt. I just think that you might show more mercy to the other guy. At the very least, don’t wish upon him the fate of a Saudi prison.

Mercy is always to be respected and usually to be recommended. Still, I must admit that I am still angry, enraged at that guy.

(Just as well I never entered police work, I suppose.)

Holy cow. Well, you know, the real benefit of forgiveness is that it heals the forgiver.

Speaking the truth such as this hardly hurts one’s reputation. Perhaps the opposite.

See, i don’t understand this at all. It goes beyond mere hypocrisy (saying one thing and doing another) and seems to enter a realm of cognitive dissonance or some similar psychological malady.

I just don’t understand how you can get so angry, even enraged, at someone whose behavior is virtually identical to your own. I’m trying to imagine a situation where i could get angry with someone for behavior that was identical to my own, and i literally cannot construct a scenario in which this might happen.

As far as your actual behavior goes, i’m with Liberal regarding the idiocy of the Saudi laws. I have no problem with what either of you did. But i’m truly gobsmacked at your attitude towards the other guy.

Are you still angry at him only because of that one act, bringing Arabic bibles into the country, or are there additional reasons? Is that what you feel ruined your reputation or did he cause additional offense?

I have a feeling he’s so angry not because of the law-breaking aspect, but perhaps due to his own personal animosity towards aggressive Christian prostylization?

I believe it’s a matter of degree. I’m guessing smuggling in a bottle cold medicine will get you yelled at and your medicine tossed in the garbage. Smuggling one Arabic Bible into an extremely Muslim country would probably earm the same response. Smuggling in MULTIPLE Bibles would indicate that you were planning to distribute them, which is a crime against the state in Saudi. It’s like how American law distinguishes between being arrested with a joint or a pound of marijuana. The first is assumed to be for your personal use while with the second it is assumed you intend to sell it. The first gets a slap on the wrist and the second gets jail time. As an employer I would view the first with some lenience, though my respect for your judgement would drop. With the second, any respect or trust in your judgement would vanish and I would fire you, and that does not take into account that the Saudis would consider you one of the “usual suspects” and make your ability to work there difficult if not impossible.

According to Amnesty International

There are reports of executions for possession of drugs, Bibles, and pornography.

Yup. Got off easy with a measly two grand fine.

Let us hope that Paul, if caught, gets off as easy.

Your reasoning is quite sound, but i’m not really prepared to accept it in this particular case. Take a look at the second quote in Lib’s OP. It seems clear from that quote that Paul has multiple bottles of these illegal drugs and that he (or his, uh, friend) might be willing to sell some of them for a profit.

Amen to that. Being expelled from The Kingdom is most certainly not the worst thing that they could do to me.

What really bugged me about the Bibles was that the guy wanted to convert Saudis to Christianity. Don’t you know how bad that would screw up a kid’s life? His family? His chance to get a good job and get married?

Apostasy is capital (capitol?) crime here. This teacher was trying to tempt some of the locals onto some darn thin ice.

(In truth it would be unimaginable that a Saudi would get a Friday Haircut over such a thing. He would just be talked back into the fold, but still the threat is real. This guy was willing to ruin lives.)

(What do you we say we let this thread die and if you want to discuss the guy with the Bibles we do it up in GD? Besides I suppose we are all pretty bummed out about this London stuff right about now.)

The problem with Dropzone’s reasoning is that he is applying Western conventions to Saudi law, when it is in fact a dichotomous society: either behave in accordance with how they interpret the Qur’an, or else risk imprisonment, dismemberment, and death.

I see your point. I’m glad for Paul that nobody in Saudi Arabia speaks English and knows how to use a computer.

Paul, screw the hypocrisy, since we all have our imperfections in that regard. What I want to know is why you, a seemingly intelligent man, would admit to a felony on a public message board?

As previously stated, this thread really isn’t about either the guy with the books or the guy with the drugs per se. It’s about the guy with the drugs wishing the guy with the books had been thrown in a Saudi prison, and the possible reasonable reconciliation thereof.

What’s the punishment for posession of illegal drugs? What’s the punishment for selling illegal drugs?