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Many Saudis have stopped expressing their opinions in such public forums as Twitter and Facebook and have chosen instead more guarded options, such as Whatsapp, Telegram and Path. The stranglehold on expression of dissent makes the future of Saudi Arabia more difficult to read. Diminishing freedoms and security to publicly discuss issues facing the country has made the reality on the ground more volatile.

Al-Nafjan, Eman.  “Saudi activists ‘hibernate’ after series of arrests.”  Al Monitor, May 15, 2014.

Eman Al-Nafjan also edits Saudiwoman’s Blog, where the above quotation and the article that conveyed were found.  In fact, I had been looking for something else: comment on the confinement and starvation of these two women, daughters of King Abdullah:

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The silence of the world is deafening, as they issued orders to starve us. We were prevented from going out to buy food and water on March 17th, our heavily guarded bimonthly outing. They prohibited home delivery as well; the person trying to deliver food and water was threatened to be jailed should he attempt to return. Food will soon run out. We are on one meal a day, surviving on some expired food and distilled seawater.

Wickham, Daniel.  “An Interview with the Imprisoned Daughters of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.”  Muftah, June 2, 2014.

Related: Finley, JC.  Saudi princesses held captive in royal compound for 13 years appeal for release.”  UPI, March 13, 2014; Brown, Stacy.  “‘We are hostages’: A Saudi princess reveals her life of hell.”  New York Post, April 19, 2014; CAMERA.  “Saudi Games of Throne, and Slaves.”  June 3, 2014.

Eventually, of course, one wants to see the compound, the women, and the King in person.  🙂  The UPI story (March 13, 2014) begins with appropriate ascription: “The ex-wife of Saudi King Abdullah is claiming the king has imprisoned her four daughters — Saudi princesses — in a royal compound for the past 13 years.”

The ex-wife: Al-Anoud Daham Al-Bakheet Al-Fayez.

At the moment, the tweets are flying across the Twitterverse, and even though this post has been viewed from Saudi Arabia about 16 times since publication (update: June 5, 2014), one worries over the fate of the women involved.  In fact, I’ve been asking myself, where are the (conservative, humanist, liberal, progressive) feminists?  They should be all over this story.

Update February 23, 2015

Was the story ever true?

Is it not true now?

I can’t make that call from a remote computer; nor, perhaps, could the call be made where political life is influenced by show business, “political theater”, deception, put-ons, appearances.

As happens with blogs, there are many of these now on BackChannels, links disappear (“link rot”), and videos once useful become inaccessible.  Accounts close.  Somebody changes their privacy rules.

Feudalism gains sway riding the back of darkness.

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