Imagine if, back in 1985, a delegation from South Africa set up camp at the Ottawa Congress Centre, in order to showcase the country’s wine, cuisine and culture. Imagine it displayed images of beautiful national parks, where tourists gazed at lions, giraffes and gazelles gambolling in the setting sun, while glossing over the fact that more than half its population lived in a state of brutal racial repression, known as apartheid.
This would never have been tolerated. Back then, prime minister Brian Mulroney was steadfastly denouncing the apartheid regime. “If there is no progress in the dismantling of apartheid, our relations with South Africa may have to be severed completely,” he said in a speech to the United Nations.
Mulroney pushed the British and the Americans to impose stiffer sanctions. Countries, including Canada, boycotted South African products. Celebrities organized concerts demanding that Nelson Mandela be let out of prison. And in a span of less than a decade, Mandela was freed, became South Africa’s first black president and oversaw the dismantling of apartheid.
In 2016, there is another state that brutally oppresses half its population. If you’re a woman in Saudi Arabia, you might as well be living under South African apartheid in 1985. You cannot leave your house alone, you cannot have the job of your choice, you cannot drive a car, you cannot own property and you cannot walk about in public unless you are cloaked head to foot in black cloth. Your children can be taken from you, your husband can divorce you by saying the words, “I divorce thee” three times, and if you are raped, you can be stoned for committing “adultery.”
Read the full article in the National Post here: Stop supporting Saudi apartheid