Defend Liberty? Tell the Saudis (and Trump) to Release Women’s Rights Activists

Some disgruntled Americans are protesting in various states because they must “social distance” and wear a face mask and not visit bars and restaurants and gyms and sports arenas due to coronavirus restrictions imposed by state and local governments. These protestors, protected by our First Amendment, sometimes even feel the need to defend their freedom (and anti-science stupidity) by brandishing assault weapons and other military-esque gear, as if only the Second Amendment can defend the First. Well, such protestors are confused and a threat, in more ways than one, to public health.

There is, fortunately, a much better way for defenders of democracy and freedom fighters everywhere to make their liberty-loving presence known: tell the Saudi government to release all the women’s rights activists it has imprisoned on trumped-up charges. You can sign the PEN America petition calling for the writers’ release right here.

And while you’re at it, tell the Trump administration to put pressure on the Saudis and withhold all military aid (especially the secret, “emergency” arms sales) until all Saudi human rights activists and dissenters are released from prison.

Eman Al-Nafjan and Loujain Al-Hathloul (Photo from PEN America website)

Lina Al-Hathloul, the sister of one of the imprisoned writer/activists, Loujain Al-Hathloul, is now very worried about the health and well-being of her sister because the Saudi prisons have been effectively closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. You can read more about Al-Hathloul and Saudi human rights violations in this recent Newsweek article.

The United States and other nations nominally democratic have for too long tolerated and supported the Saudi dictatorship in the name of oil, economics and Middle East foreign relations. Trump, with known business ties to Saudi Arabia, will likely do nothing to pressure or anger the Saudi regime. But should Biden win the White House this November, he and his administration have a chance to prove just how liberal and liberated from an often shameful human rights record our new federal government can be.

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