Innlegg merkte med ‘punishment’

The Thief and the Orphan

Posta: Tysdag, 31 mars, 2009 under Ymse
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A British observer, a Mr. C. C. Lewis, tells us two stories from Arabia in the early 1930s, a few years after Ibn Saud conquered the Holy Cities Mecca and Medina. The two stories are supposed to be examples of «punishments ferocious to European eyes»:

«Not long ago a wretched Hadhrami stole a piece of the black stone from the Ka’ba in Mecca, because he thought that it would be lucky, but he discovered that any luck coming his way would have to be in Paradise, as his head was chopped off.»

«A Hejâzi who murdered his father and mother and then appealed to the King [Ibn Saud] for clemency on the ground that he was an orphan, was executed at the same time.»

[Source: «Ibn Sa’ûd and the Future of Arabia», an article by C. C. Lewis, July 1933]


In Michael B. Oren’s newest book, Power, Faith and Fantasy – America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present, he quotes what Thomas Nicholson witnessed after he and 14 other American seamen had been enslaved by corsairs in the Mediterranean in February 1809. The corsairs had taken them back to Algiers where they had mistreated them badly and paraded them down the street and sold them as slaves at auction. Oren quotes Nicholsen’s description of what happened if anyone tried to escape:

After they had stripped the sufferer naked, they inserted the iron pointed stake into the lower termination of the vertebrae, and thence forced it up near his back bone, until it appeared between the shoulders, avoiding the vital parts. The stake was then raised in the air and the poor sufferer exposed to the view of other slaves, writhing in … insupportable agony.