It has been a long time since I felt fear/loathing of the Saudi “mottawa”, but here it is in the headlines of the BBC:
“The head of Saudi Arabia’s notorious religious police has told the media he will curb his force’s powers in a bid to clamp down on excesses.”
I still remember one day when a really cranky mottawa beat a woman across the street from where my wife and I were standing and then came to threaten me. He raised his stick to strike me and I moved off, not having any clue what he was shouting. “The Little Woman” followed after, grinning at my discomfort. She was pregnant with our first child and I could not have simple dodged the blow…
This is a good sign that Saudi society is maturing/modernizing/liberalizing somewhat. I am sure there’s still a long way to go but they have also come a long way in a very short period of time. They operated practically in isolation until the world came to visit looking for oil. They were living off the avails of pilgrims to Mecca, some fishing and agriculture and little different from how they lived 1K years ago. Nomads were a large part of their agriculture. Camels were huge. Dates were huge. What a difference a century has made.