By Lamia Baeshen
A BIZARRE incident that took place in Corpus Christi, Texas, recently resulted in a smear campaign against Saudi Arabia, which is normal in the Western media. On Feb. 11, some passersby saw an infant sleeping in a car next to a cinema.
Such a scene is shocking to the Americans. For them, this is a serious violation of the child’s rights, which requires the perpetrator to face extreme consequences. Obviously, the Americans decided to call the police. The cops arrived instantly, inspected the car and checked on the infant’s health. They found the infant sleeping soundly in the car, strapped to her seatbelt.
The cops called the ambulance service to ensure the infant is in good health. The infant was fine. So the cops looked for her parents and found them inside the cinema along with her four-year-old sibling, watching a movie while their infant slept alone in the car. Anguished as we were about the irresponsible behavior of those Saudi parents, the ignorant excuse they gave to the cops would shock us further. They gave a shameless excuse: “We are not aware of the American law that prevents parents from doing such things. We come from a different culture and in Saudi Arabia, we are allowed to leave our babies in closed cars”.
Did their ignorance really reach this level? How dare they justify their stupidity by blaming the entire Saudi nation? It was as if they were saying Saudis do not bother or care about the safety of their children.
How many offenses have they committed in a short period of time: carelessness, cruelty, irresponsibility, selfishness, lying and distortion of their country’s reputation?
The reckless and ignorant action by this 29-year-old man and his wife was a hot topic for the American media to be used against us as a nation and to trash the Kingdom’s reputation.
It is enough for the media to just mention the name Saudi Arabia and the readers will share the negative report on all media platforms.
In this particular incident, when the cops inspected the car, some people who were around filmed them and posted the clips on social media, mysteriously adding the title “Saudi Arabia”. Surely the clips went viral all over the Internet.
For their part, the cops took what the careless couple said at face value and released them with their two children, obviously because they considered, like many others, Saudis an ignorant people.
However, the leniency of the policemen toward the parents caused confusion among the rest of the people who considered it as an act of a serious violation of the law.
Those innocent children are a blessing and need to be taken care of. Therefore, the authorities should interfere to protect them, they thought.
When the police replayed the surveillance cameras at that location, they realized that the infant was left closed inside the car alone for 46 minutes on that night. This might have choked her to death but for the timely interference of the passersby. Subsequently, investigations started with the officers treating the incident as an act of criminal negligence. The organization responsible for child protection immediately summonsed the parents for questioning. If the parents are found guilty, they will face two years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
But who will punish those careless parents for a lie that resulted in the misrepresentation of an entire nation? Their action corroborated the negative image of the Islamic Kingdom portrayed in the Western media.
Do we realize that when we travel abroad we represent our country? Do we realize our individual behaviors reflect on the whole nation? Do we really take into consideration all these factors when we set foot in a foreign land? Or do we just enjoy our lives in Western countries we visit without bothering to take the responsibility of representing our country?
Let us say that those parents were sent for the sake of education and they were really not aware of the American law. Then where are the specialized authorities to educate and enlighten the students of the laws of the country they are heading to before their departure? Aren’t they supposed to teach them before they get trapped in serious offenses that would result in severe punishments and land them in jail?