British government mourns Saudi King Abdullah, MPs critical


This video says about itself:

Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drive

14 June 2013

There’s no actual law against women driving in Saudi Arabia. But it’s forbidden. Two years ago, Manal al-Sharif decided to encourage women to drive by doing so — and filming herself for YouTube. Hear her story of what happened next.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Whitehall’s King Abdullah half-mast flag tribute criticised by MPs

Decision to mark Saudi royal’s death at parliament and Westminster Abbey called ‘extraordinary misjudgment’

Andrew Sparrow, political correspondent

Friday 23 January 2015 14.35 GMT

A decision to mark the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia by flying flags in Whitehall at half-mast has been criticised by MPs.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it had asked government buildings to fly the union flag at half-mast for 12 hours in line with protocol that says this is appropriate following the death of a foreign monarch.

The Ukip MP Douglas Carswell said it was an “extraordinary misjudgment” in the light of the kingdom’s human rights record.

The houses of parliament and Westminster Abbey are among the buildings in London where the government guidance has been followed after King Abdullah’s death early on Friday.

The tribute was paid even though the sentencing of a Saudi blogger to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam has thrust Saudi Arabia’s dismal human rights record into the spotlight in recent weeks.

Carswell said the “Sir Humphreys who run British foreign policy” were to blame for the tribute and that they were out of touch with public feeling.

“It is an extraordinary misjudgment by the out-of-touch elite in Whitehall who think it is appropriate to do this,” he said.

“On the day that flags at Whitehall are flying at half-mast for King Abdullah, how many public executions will there be?”

Labour MP Paul Flynn said the tribute was “liable to bring infantile fawning over royalty into disrepute”. It was evidence of the establishment’s “extraordinary subservience” to foreign royals, he added.

In a statement, the DCMS said that it learned of the death of King Abdullah “with great regret” and that government buildings were “requested” to fly flags at half-mast from 8am this morning until 8pm.

It continued: “Any other UK national flags flown alongside the union flag when it is at half-mast should also be at half-mast. If a flag of a foreign nation is normally flown on the same stand as the union flag, it should be removed.”

A DCMS spokesperson said: “In line with long-standing arrangements, the union flag is flown at half-mast on government buildings following the death of a foreign monarch.”

One Westminster source said the decision to fly flags at half-mast, which was widely criticised on social media, was taken at the behest of Buckingham Palace.

Asked to justify its decision to fly its flag at half-mast, Wesminster Abbey said in a statement: “We always fly a flag. It is at half-mast because the government has decided to fly their flags at half-mast today.

“For us not to fly at half-mast would be to make a noticeably aggressive comment on the death of the king of a country to which the UK is allied in the fight against Islamic terrorism.

“Nor would it have done anything to support the desperately oppressed Christian communities of the Middle East for whom we pray constantly and publicly.”

January 23, 2015 – Washington, D.C. – Today, ADHRB released a report assessing the reign of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who died today after more than a decade of rule. Despite his adopted status as a reformer and peacemaker, King Abdullah’s reign was marked by deterioration in civil, political and human rights in the kingdom: here.

Hypocrisy Dressed Up as ‘Realism’ Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship: here.

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