New Age Islam
Wed Aug 05 2020, 06:45 AM

Middle East Press ( 9 May 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Anti-Semitism vs. anti-Zionism: New Age Islam's Selection, 10 May 2016

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

10 May 2016

Anti-Semitism vs. Anti-Zionism

By Ramzy Baroud

Aleppo like Grozny, Syria unlike Chechnya

By Marwan Bishara

Ashraf Ghani's War Strategy Will Fail

By Aimal Faizi

Mistakes Committed In Yemen

By Jamal Khashoggi

What Are Iranians Doing In Syria?

By Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

The High Price Of Hiring Housemaids

By Nabeela Mahjoub

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


Anti-Semitism vs. anti-Zionism

By Ramzy Baroud

10 May 2016

There is a witch-hunt in the British Labour Party. Britain’s Opposition party leader Jeremy Corbyn is being hounded for not rooting out alleged anti-Semitism in his party. Those leading the charge are pro-Israel Zionists and their supporters within the party, members who are mostly allied with the former premier, the largely discredited pro-war Tony Blair.

The Blairites are quite unhappy that Corbyn, who won the party’s leadership election, last September with a landslide victory is a non-elitist politician, with a deep-rooted grassroots activist past, and, yes, a strong stance for Palestinian rights.

Corbyn has been subjected to all sorts of attacks and ridicule from his own party, many members of which have been busy plotting to push him out, but remained hesitant because of his popular appeal. The Labour Party had, in fact, lost much of its credibility since the days of Blair’s “New Labour” and following the US lead in waging an immoral and illegal war on Iraq. Blair’s supporters changed the priorities of the party, which was “labor” by name only. Corbyn’s advent galvanized young people around fresh ideals and renewed the shaky faith of the party’s traditional supporters. But since he became a leader, the man’s agenda of anti-corruption and greater equality in Britain has been slowed down, or even entirely halted, by some most bizarre controversies. He was attacked over such things as his supposed poor sense of fashion, his alleged lack of patriotism, and more. The attacks have been so ridiculous, yet omnipresent, that they became the subject of popular memes and much satire. And when it all failed, he was hit with another manufactured controversy — alleged anti-Semitism within his own party.

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis known for his strong support of Israel joined the fray, charging that the lid has been lifted on bigotry within Labour and that investigation into anti-Semitism must be more than a “sticker plaster.”

The investigation and the preceding outcry of anti-Semitism, however, targeted those who were critical of Israel, not Jews, in general, or Judaism. Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who was suspended from Labour for suggesting links between the Nazi party and early Zionists, was not making any reference to Jews per se, and certainly not to Judaism. Arguably, if he was wrong, then it is a mere question of history, not race. In its coverage of the controversy, even the BBC, delinks both concepts: “Anti-Semitism is ‘hostility and prejudice directed against Jewish people,” while “Zionism refers to the movement to create a Jewish state in the Middle East.”

Indeed, the first is a racist ideology, while the latter is an entirely political and historical question, especially since early Zionists were largely atheists. Israel’s Zionist-Jewish contradiction was phrased skillfully by Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, when he wrote: “The secular Jews who founded the Zionist movement wanted paradoxically both to secularize Jewish life and to use the Bible as a justification for colonizing Palestine; in other words, they did not believe in God but He, nonetheless, promised them Palestine.”

But the Rabbi, and many of those who unscrupulously joined the charge against Labour pretend that Zionism, a late 19th century political movement is the same as Judaism. However, there is nothing new here, and the manufactured “controversy” is hardly limited to Britain or the Labour Party.

Many independent Jewish voices, too, have found themselves on the defensive, although within a different category. The classification of a “self-hating Jew” has been ever so popular these days, especially as many Jewish activists have righteously joined the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS). The once-marginalized voices are now a large and growing crowd.

Unable to defend Israeli action based on logical arguments, international law or common sense, Israel’s supporters use other means, threats, smears and vilifications, and also by fabricating non-existing controversies. And no one is immune.

Daniel Greenfield engaged in a bizarre diatribe in the Jewish Press on March 8, in an article entitled: “Bernie Sanders is NOT a Jew.” In the same familiar tone of distortion and self-pity, Greenfield theorized: “While Bernie Sanders invoked his last few drops of Jewishness and the Holocaust in support of a Muslim anti-Semite’s cry bullying, he didn’t feel the need to do so for the Jewish State when it actually stood on the verge of destruction. Instead, he had called for denying arms to Israel before the Yom Kippur War.”

How about the United Nations, which has failed to enforce a single resolution of the dozens of resolutions, passed to demand justice for the Palestinians and accountability from Israel?

It is an “anti-Semitic circus” according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The novel designation followed the recent UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) decision to compile a list of international and Israeli companies that do business in illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Despite the fact that the UN is yet to reverse the worsening plight of the Palestinians or advance their cause beyond symbolic gestures, one rarely hears the accusation that the UN is anti-Palestinian, or anti-Arab.

On the other hand, for merely censuring Israeli action by words only, the UN, according to Jennifer Rubin writing in the Washington Post on Feb. 16, “tolerates and, by its silence, condones, anti-Semitism.”

The US government has blindly and unconditionally given credence to that notion, marching to the drumbeat of the Israeli government on every occasion and boycotting international institutions whenever Israel raises the frequently false flag of anti-Semitism. The matter is not only pertinent to Israel and Palestine. Anyone who dares go against Israel’s interest in the region and around the world is a candidate for the manipulation of Israeli terminology.

By completely shutting the door on any form of criticism of Israel, Zionism, and the censure of its military behavior in the region coupled with the daily violence meted out against occupied Palestinians, Israel has expanded the definition of anti-Semitism to include whole countries, governments, international institutions and millions of independently thinking individuals the world over.

However, not even such deliberate distortion should prevent us from making the differentiation loud and clear: Anti-Jewish racism should be condemned as loudly and decisively as Islamophobia and any other form of racial discrimination and bigotry. However, criticizing violent political movements and the behaviour of any state that violates international law and human rights is a moral duty. Israel will not be the exception.



Aleppo like Grozny, Syria unlike Chechnya

By Marwan Bishara

09 May 2016

"The most dangerous place here is the hospital. You arrive, and it's the first thing they tell you: if you want to feel safe, stay at the front," wrote the Italian journalist Francesca Borri in the opening of her book, Syrian Dust, reporting from the heart of the battle for Aleppo.

In her witness account of the Syrian war, Francesca reports: "Assad's planes are suddenly strafe bombing, rushing at you in maelstroms of wind - wind, and dust and flesh. But they are so imprecise that they never bomb the front lines: they'd risk hitting the loyalists instead of the rebels."

That was then; Borri published her book in 2015. Today, it's MORE of the same. Nowadays, as the world looks on passively, Russian fighter jets are lending a hand to Syrian firepower, causing ever more death and destruction.

The Meaning of the Escalation

The ceasefire arrangements reached between Presidents Obama and Putin at the end of February have been violated more than 2,000 times over the past two months.

Syrian-Russian bombings have picked up on April 22 despite agreement to ceasing of hostilities, truce or "peace talks" in Geneva.

Or perhaps they picked up precisely because of these talks. The timing couldn't or shouldn't be missed. This is "jetfighter diplomacy".

Unless Washington pressures Moscow to abide by its own agreements, the ongoing escalation is sure to torpedo the talks altogether.

Unless Washington pressures Moscow to abide by its own agreements, the ongoing escalation is sure to torpedo the talks altogether. 

Alas, Putin and Assad remain determined to use military force to attain their objectives in Syria. 

The only difference between the two men revolves around Putin’s insistence on bombing the opposition into submission at the negotiations, while Assad prefers bombing the Syrian opposition into total and utter defeat.

But since the Kremlin reprimanded Assad for undermining attempts to restart the diplomatic process, Putin has dictated the pace and intensity of the use of force to force a favourable solution to Moscow in Geneva.

But is it working?

Failed Talks

Judging from the third round of Syrian Talks in Geneva, Putin has thus far failed to translate Russian military aggression, notably the recent bombing campaign around Aleppo, into diplomatic gains.

The Syrian opposition has refused to negotiate under fire and walked out of the talks until the escalation stops, the sieges end, and the political prisoners are released.

The opposition also rejected Russia's attempts (at times with American complicity) to change the basis and objectives of the peace talks. Namely the removal of Assad, and the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, which could include members of the government and opposition.

And, predictably, it rejects Russia's proposal for cosmetic changes to the constitution, and the establishment of a unity government under Assad.

But if you thought Putin's failure to dictate his conditions would nudge Moscow to reconsider its strategy; it's time to wake up. You’re dreaming.

When force doesn't work, Putin uses more of it. Clearly, his claim to withdraw forces is a ploy.

And so Russia has escalated the siege and bombings. It once again insists on treating Jaish al-Islam and, more notably, Ahrar al-Sham - the principle rebel group represented in the Geneva Talks - as terrorist groups that must be defeated.

It might be a question of time for Putin to embrace Assad's preferred choice of total war.

Parallels to Ponder

The Syrian and Russian regimes are not the first to bomb their way into a diplomatic solution, if not the total submission of their enemies. They're taking their cue from the bombings of Beirut, Belgrade/Sarajevo, and Baghdad, to name only a few. I'll spare you the mention of Hiroshima at this time.

But as the escalation takes a turn for the worst in and around Aleppo, the more instructive parallel to consider is Grozny. There, Putin showed the world in the Second Chechnya War what his regime is capable of doing to a city, even if it considers it one of its own.

After two consecutive wars, sieges and bombings, the United Nations called Grozny "the most destroyed city on earth"; not a single building in the city was left undamaged.

Once it was completely levelled, Moscow began to rebuild it to erase any trace of death or destruction.

This was Putin's way of sending a message to the rest of the world that Russia was resurging and reasserting its claim to the title of a superpower.

Chechnya paid the price. Putin became Russia's strongman. The war propelled him to the presidency.

Then as now, Putin has exploited the US obsession with Al-Qaeda (and ISIL, also known as ISIS) to fight his own wars. Like the Chechens, Syrians rebels are all "terrorists" to be crushed. Aleppo, like Grozny, is to be "liberated" at any cost.

Will Putin Succeed?

The Russian president's attempt to repeat the Grozny "victory" in Aleppo seems to be working. This second largest Syrian city is being levelled to the ground.

In the process, Putin is exacting an unbearable price on Syrians in the hope of expanding Russia's influence in the Middle East. And it seems to be working as more regional and international leaders try to work through Russia to end the Syrian war.

But Syria is not Chechnya and the Middle East is not Russia's front or backyard.

It Putin continues to reject compromises and escalate the war, Syria, as Obama warned in October last year, could become Russia's (or America's) Afghanistan. Not Chechnya.

Such a contrast is not to be made gratuitously or taken lightly. The ramifications would no less disastrous for Syria and the region alike.

Meanwhile, and in contrast to the (failed) US counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, "Clear, Hold, Build", Russia's strategy of "Bomb, Clear, and Hold concerts" doesn't seem to be working either.



Ashraf Ghani's War Strategy Will Fail

By Aimal Faizi

09 May 2016

Aimal Faizi is an Afghan journalist and former spokesperson for former Afghan President Hamid Karzai from 2011-2014.

Suffering from a frenzied response to the increasing terrorist threats emanating from Pakistan, President Ashraf Ghani has hardened his position on war and peace in Afghanistan.

Under a recent presidential directive, the Afghan security forces are ordered to use an unprecedented level of force against the Taliban in the country.

But Ghani's ill-advised war policy is trapping the Afghan national armed forces in an enduring foreign war, which itself has become a more fearsome enemy to Afghans than the terrorists it is supposed to fight.

Intensifying military operations in Afghanistan against enemies who are "based in and operating from Pakistan", and who are motivated to die as martyrs, is not the solution to the problem.

It has become the problem. It is imperative for Ghani to urge Washington to end its inaction against the long-existing problem of sanctuaries for the Taliban and the Haqqani group in Pakistan. The US must fix or capture the Taliban leadership in Pakistan.

Owning A Foreign War

Since its establishment, the Afghan national unity government has owned the US military strategy by doing everything in its power to Afghanise the US' unending so-called "war on terror" in Afghanistan.

According to Ghani, over the past 13 months Afghan national security and defence forces have conducted "more than 40,000" military operations and more than 16,000 resolute operations within the country.

Under Ghani's national unity government, the US forces have a total free hand in conducting their military operations in Afghanistan, from drone strikes to unlawful house search.

It is about 100 combat operations and 40 resolute operations every day, all carried out on Afghan soil.

Since the escalation of fighting, from 2015 onwards, there have been reportedly around 4,000 Afghan detainees held in Bagram prison without any legal process, despite concerns raised by the human rights organisations.

Ghani signed a decree last year which, according to international human rights groups, allows the detention without trial of Afghans suspected of planning acts of terrorism and "attempts to end-run the legal system".

Under Ghani's national unity government, the US forces have a totally free hand in conducting their military operations in Afghanistan, from drone strikes to unlawful house searches.

US Designs

But implementing all these US designs has not helped Ghani to improve the deteriorating security situation in the country. Rather, it has been counterproductive.

The violence and the suffering of the Afghan people continue to linger on more than ever before.

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, the war in Afghanistan has caused around 2,000 casualties in the first three months of 2016. There were more than 11,000 civilian casualties, including 3,500 deaths in 2015. The figures are the highest of the past decade.

In his symbolic speech to a joint session of the houses of parliament on May 25, after a deadly terrorist attack in Kabul, Ghani pointed a finger at "Peshawar and Quetta" from where, he said, the "enemies" send terrorists to shed blood and destroy the people of Afghanistan.

Although Ghani mentioned the Haqqani group and "some Taliban" as the enemies of Afghanistan, he fell short of naming the enablers and those who nurture them in Pakistan.

He asked Islamabad (for the third time publicly since becoming president) to take military action against Taliban's "centres inside Pakistan and whose leaders are residing inside Pakistan". The demand was not new.

Last August and earlier this year, after some deadly terrorist attacks in Kabul, Ghani made similar calls, pointing out that Afghanistan no longer wanted Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the peace talks, but rather wanted it to eliminate their sanctuaries on Pakistani soil.

But the problem is that Ghani wants to "stand against" the Haqqani group and the Taliban militarily in Afghanistan.

How can Ghani and his strategic ally, Washington, have an effective military campaign in Afghanistan if the origins of the terrorists' threats and the sanctuaries are in Pakistan?

The answer is simple: any military efforts to eliminate the enemy militarily in Afghanistan will have no effect.

War Will Go On

Secondly, if there is a continued reluctance by the US to genuinely pressure Pakistan's military establishment and to address the political dimensions of terrorism in the region, why would Pakistan give up on its "strategic assets", the Haqqani group and the Taliban?

The 18-month-old rapprochement between Ghani and the Pakistani military leadership proved to be one-sided.

The war will certainly go on. War as a formally declared state of affairs is a thing of the past. Therefore, as Ghani has echoed in the past, Pakistan is in a state of "undeclared war" with Afghanistan.

In this "undeclared war", as Rudyard Kipling once said, "the odds are on the cheaper man" and Pakistan has no shortage of the "cheaper man". The Taliban and the Haqqani group are low-cost and easily available tools of foreign policy for the Pakistani military establishment.

The 18-month-old rapprochement between Ghani and the Pakistani military leadership proved to be one-sided.

As Frud Bezhan, a Kabul-based journalist, puts it: "Ghani banked nearly all his political capital on his controversial outreach to and appeasement of Pakistan - who many in Afghanistan and the West see as the driving force behind the Taliban insurgency. Not only has the president got nothing to show for his misguided efforts, but also he has wasted months of costly diplomacy during which time the Taliban have made gains and thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed."

The prime minister of Pakistan again signalled cooperation on the peace process after Ghani's April 25 speech by sending an envoy and a message to Kabul. But Afghans believe that the situation in Pakistan does not allow the civilian governments to hit upon an independent Afghan policy.

Its intention is to carry on inflicting massive damage to Afghanistan and intimidate Kabul for its political objectives in the region year in and year out.

Afghanistan is caught in the nets of a foreign-imposed war, in which the more it strives for fighting it, the more entangled it becomes. Therefore Ghani should break all vicious circles in the "war on terror".

As the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged the national unity government in a recent statement, Ghani must direct all resources towards the foreign drivers of the war. Otherwise "inciting hatred and violence" within Afghanistan will only make the country slide further into "an endless conflict".



Mistakes Committed In Yemen

By Jamal Khashoggi

10 May 2016

Let us imagine that the Houthis and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh are defeated and leave Sanaa. Let us imagine that a new agreement is reached between Yemeni belligerent parties, and President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his ministers return to Sanaa. By then we would be back to the starting point, when Yemen was already in the midst of turmoil caused by Saleh. However, we would not be at war.

Let us go back to May 2012 when the late Abed al-Karim al-Aryani, the Yemeni politician who headed the national dialogue committee, announced that the Houthis were accepted to participate in the committee tasked with setting up the famous roadmap that aimed to elect a new president, constitute a new parliament, pass a new constitution and build a civil state. That was the first mistake committed by Yemen and Gulf states sponsoring the initiative.

Houthis were not, and are still not, considered a political party. They did not even participate in the popular revolution that toppled Saleh because they did not believe in its goals. They wanted their own project based on a fundamentalist Zaidi legacy that Yemen had eliminated in the aftermath of the 1962 revolution.

One can say every political regime has its own way of ruling, and that the Houthis cannot be rejected even if they still carry the same project. How, then, can the new roadmap help Yemen build its civil society while they are still present? How can Yemen carry this out while Houthis still have weapons and cells inside the state, and are increasingly tightening their grip over the country, its civil institutions and its army in coalition with Saleh?

The Houthis are hoping we will repeat these mistakes, leading to the failure of the political transition process, and enabling them to lead another ‘divine’ coup


Four more mistakes led to the current situation in Yemen, including the rejection of the Arab Spring in Yemen, and dealing with it as conspiracy and a chaotic plan. It reflected the aspirations of the Yemeni people, especially the youth, to equitable governance that was pursued by the country since the launch of the 1948 revolution that rejected tyranny claiming legitimacy by divine right.

This divine right is a pillar of Zaidism, which kept power in the hands of Hashemite families for 1,000 years. Their reign was associated with injustice, poverty and ignorance, especially in the era of Hamid al-Dine. This injustice triggered the bloody revolutions of 1948 and 1962. The one of 1962 turned into a civil war that lasted eight years.

Subsequent military rule under Saleh did not bring fair governance, yet his example was repeated by Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and other Arab republics.

It is impossible to expect a breakthrough in the negotiations in Kuwait, as they are taking place between Yemenis who want a fair state based on partnership, and Saleh, who represents the old regime. Any party against the Arab Spring and its demands in Yemen after the war must be rejected, including the Houthis.

Taking Advantage

Another mistake was that the Gulf States and Yemen were hesitant about the political transition process, which caused stagnation that enabled the Houthis and Saleh to carry out a military coup. This has led to Western powers seeking non-democratic solutions in Yemen.

Yemenis have been circulating a project, said to be American, which would lead to the “Iraqisation” of the country, dividing it into quotas between the Houthis, reformists, the southern separatist movement, and forces affiliated with Saleh. It is enough to look at Iraq to reject this bad idea.

Another mistake was the immunity granted to Saleh as part of the deal that saw him step down. This enabled the coup against the legitimate government. We must help Yemen build state institutions with new leadership that has nothing to do with the former regime. One more mistake was the marginalization of the reform movement, without which a modern Yemeni state cannot be built because it is one of the main engines for fair governance.

The Houthis are hoping we will repeat these mistakes, leading to the failure of the political transition process, and enabling them to lead another ‘divine’ coup.



What Are Iranians Doing In Syria?

By Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

10 May 2016

When I was a child in 1980, Iran and Iraq were fighting each other in one of the 20th-century’s bloodiest wars, which left almost half a million dead on both sides. Images of returning coffins, funerals and emergencies are not easy to forget, and not an experience one wants to see again. Although Iran was dragged into the war, I am sure it was painful and difficult for both sides.

Today, however, the presence of Iranians in the Syrian conflict for almost three years now has no justification. It is claimed that they are military advisors, but the number of casualties is clear evidence that they are fighting.

On Saturday in the strategic town of Khan-Touman, 13 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were killed and 21 injured, according to officials. So far, more than 300 IRGC members have been killed in Syria, but Saturday’s incident marked the biggest single casualty figure. This has angered Iranians, who have been expressing disapproval of involvement in the Syrian conflict - even by volunteers - on social media.

Iranians have been complaining about the cost of their country’s close ties with Syria and Lebanon. So much money has been spent to buy support and influence, including free oil to Syria, investing in Shiite holy sites, and reconstructing southern Lebanon following the 2006 war with Israel. I am not sure that this has paid off in Lebanon or Syria.

Iranians have been complaining about the cost of their country’s close ties with Syria and Lebanon

Last week in Beirut airport, I saw Syrians who were picked up from a refugee camp by an Italian charity to be taken to Rome. When I told them I am Iranian, they gazed at me silently with eyes like fireballs. What they saw when they looked at me was their destroyed homes and their destitution.


Helping Syrians must be at the core of this disaster, rather than sacrificing to keep someone in power or guard a site. Also, solving the political deadlock in Lebanon - which for the past two years has not had a president due to competing domestic and regional factions - should prioritized.

If the current ceasefire between Syria’s government and opposition continues, and the world finally feels the urge to forge a sustainable peace, there is some hope for a reduction in violence. No one can afford the cost and insecurity of this war any longer, from the Middle East to Europe.

It is time for diplomacy and peace, no matter how difficult that is.

Despite the Iran-Iraq war, these neighbours now have good relations. Time is the best healer of wounds - Syria is no exception.



The High Price Of Hiring Housemaids

By Nabeela Mahjoub

May 10, 2016

I have never expected the price for recruiting a housemaid to reach exorbitant rates that ordinary people cannot afford. Only millionaires and billionaires will be able to pay such huge amounts because for them the money is peanuts and they will never hesitate spending it.

I never believed when my friend told me that she had to pay SR17,000 to hire a maid, who does not know how to cook, from a recruitment company for a six-month period. My friend was forced to hire the maid when her own maid had to travel back to her country on short notice.

Often we read advertisements by recruitment companies, which claim the maids they supply would not run away from employers and even if they abscond the employer would get a substitute. This was an attractive offer after Saudi families suffered immensely due to runaway maids.

On the basis of the new law, recruitment companies have to supply substitutes when maids run away from employers. But the prices charged by recruitment companies are much higher than what Saudis in the middle-income group can afford. They charge between SR4,000 and SR7,000 for the substitute.

A maid may continue with a Saudi employer for years if the latter behave with her decently. The recruitment company supplies maids and drivers and the luckiest among us would be able to keep them while the unlucky would lose their maids as well as the money they spent on recruitment.

After the crisis created by Indonesia and runaway maids, it was better for all of us to solve the problems caused by such situations and take action against defaulting recruitment agencies. The government should change the policy of preventing individuals from recruiting Indonesian maids.

Saudi families have been comfortable with Indonesian maids albeit there were excesses from both sides. Only a few incidents of violence have been reported involving housemaids from that country. The exaggerated incidents should not be used as a pretext to force Saudi families to recruit Ethiopian and Kenyan maids who are not good in household works.

A lot of problems have been created because of the failure of these Ethiopian and Kenyan maids to acclimatize with Saudi families. Of course, our families had to put pressure on these maids to get the required service for the money they had paid.

I cannot understand the logic behind preventing individuals from recruiting Indonesian maids while allowing recruitment companies to supply them. I believe that this is one of the reasons for the skyrocketing recruitment fees.

The government has not taken any measure to protect Saudi families with middle income from the craziness of recruitment companies. My friend paid SR17,000 for an Indonesian maid who cannot even cook. She decided to keep that maid, although the company agreed to send another. She thought it was better to keep that maid instead of trying another who might have other drawbacks.

My friend thought it was better for her to accept the reality in the absence of a monitoring authority that has left consumers to become prey to greedy traders.

The black market for maids will continue so long as the authorities follow the same policy. Appointing a maid is no longer the sign of prosperity and lavishness of a family as even some poor families would require them to take care of their handicapped children and sick parents.

These families may not possess even SR1, 000, forget about SR17,000, to hire a maid for six months and pay the same amount again for another six months.

The problems facing recruitment of maids can be added to various other problems faced by Saudis, which include housing and skyrocketing rents.

People should look at those around them instead of looking at those in the highest echelons to see the poor condition of their compatriots having low salaries with unlimited expenses. They live among us shouldering various family responsibilities and huge financial burdens.