Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Punishment by lash?

When in the seventies a huge number of immigrants arrived in Rochdale the education authority lost no time in setting up a centre for the teaching of English as a second language.

I taught there for ten years. It wasn't just Pakistanis , there were often other children over the ten years from different communities...I taught children from Hong Kong, Brazil, Croatia , Italy and several other places...

We had a high teacher turn over...and many different religions and customs were represented on our staff...some only stayed a term but there was a hard core of those of us who'd joined early.

One feature was that some came, taught for a term, left to go abroad for a term or two and then came back.

Amongst this group were two young men who would go off to teach in Saudi Arabia for a term and return home when they needed to.

They talked freely of the rules they had found in place there and they also spoke openly of the way they got round some of the rules...the main one was that there was no alcohol permitted. If they took bottles back with them disguised as lemonade they were invariably found and discarded...the whole thing had become almost a game...getting booze into the country safely was confined to those who were very rich.

My young colleagues were not in that category...so they tried making their own beer and wine .. They knew that if their dreadful mixtures were discovered they would be sent home ...or worse caned and imprisoned...

Listening to them I realised that the whole thing for them had become a game...with appalling consequences if discovered...

So on hearing of this poor man sentenced to a huge number of lashes I feel a certain inevitability as well as horror.

If you chose to live abroad you have to live by the rules imposed by whoever governs but I am still appalled by the savagery of the prospect of this punishment of three hundred and sixty lashes after a year waiting in prison . It could well kill the man or leave him disabled...is this what God would want?


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