Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What's in a Name?

Quite a lot apparently, if you are in the Sudan. A teddy bear innocently named Muhammed has cost British teacher Gillian Gibbons her freedom and potentially could mean an extremely severe corporal punishment and further incarceration.

The worst thing she is guilty of is naivety. I don't believe for one second that she actually meant any disrespect to Islam, the Prophet Muhammed or anyone else. She repeated a simple activity that is loved in classes here all the time. It seems clear that the children she taught in the Sudan liked her too - and the little boy whose name was given to the teddy in question has spoken up on her behalf.

Personally, in that environment, I would have erred on the side of caution and gone for another name, but not everybody has that sort of awareness of a political situation. In fairness, none of her colleagues at the school seem to have warned her that there might be a problem and the chances are that they knew about it.

I do believe its politics, not religion or the law that is keeping Gillian behind bars and I actually wonder whether it would be better for David Miliband to butt out and find someone else who can intercede on Gillian's behalf and make the Sudanese authorities see sense.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This case has made me so angry that I emailed the Sudan Embassy in London to express my feelings. Religion? Fuck it! It pisses me off that so many people die in the name of religion and probably most of them would be better off believing in a teddy bear.

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