Letter to the King of Saudi Arabia
Your Majesty, King of Saudi Arabia,
A few months ago, I read Amnesty International’s campaign for the release of Raif Badawi, a Saudi national. I was shocked by this sentence. For blogging on his website 'Saudi Arabian Liberals', Raif gets 1.000 lashes, 10 years in prison, a travel ban for 10 years and a fine of 1 million Saudi Arabian riyals. When he will finally be set free, he’s restricted from using media for sharing his thoughts.
As a blogger, I write for a website that can be literally translated as ‘for the world of tomorrow’. On this website, I was able to share my interview with Amnesty International on Raif Badawi’s conviction. Knowing that Raif has been sentenced for doing exactly the same, although he wrote on different topics, moves me.
I’m writing you from the Netherlands, where I was born and where I am currently residing. My right to write what I see as fit and appropriate, is a great gift. On this day, International Human Rights Day, I appreciate this right even more – more than ever. Raif Badawi has the right to share his thoughts too.
There are many cultural differences between Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands, which have always intrigued me. Communicating with people from other countries in today’s world is easy, but in a way, it’s also not. Cultural differences also exist within countries, which lead to disagreements. Communication is crucial to expressing thoughts.
The place where a person decides to share his or her thoughts, should not affect this person’s freedom. After all, we are all people on the same planet. We’re simply born in different countries, with different customs and habits. Something we share, is a human right: freedom of expression.
Madelon de Lepper
Deze brief schreef ik in 2016 aan Koning Abdullah bin Abdoel Aziz al-Saud, de koning van Saudi-Arabië. Ik deed mee aan de jaarlijkse schrijfmarathon van Amnesty International. Daarmee kwam ik in actie voor mensenrechten. In mijn blog over de situatie van Raif lees je wat Amnesty nog meer doet om voor zijn rechten op te komen.