increasingly tangled ties
The movie cautiously reveals some human costs of living under a repressive Saudi Arabian monarchy; a strict Shariah run world in which females cannot drive cars and must cover most or all of their faces.
It a society in which anxious married women fear their husbands choosing multiple wives. A country in which both males and females face punishment by the hyper vigilant police, known as the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
Even though the patriarchal kingdom portrayed by director Haifaa al Mansour, a Saudi born female film director, seems far removed from 21st century western culture with its emphasis on gender equality, it is a world North Americans would be wise to get to know.
Canada and Saudi Arabia are becoming inextricably entwined.
We are being tied to Saudi Arabia in tangled and potentially explosive ways and not only because the two nations are locked in savage competition over who will sell the world the most oil and at what price.
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Despite its strengths in portraying one family struggles, Wadjda does not pandora store website come close to hinting at highly militarized Saudi Arabia immense global power, as the world biggest exporter of (cheap) oil.
It does not touch on the tensions developing between Saudi Arabia and the West especially Canada over oil, rising arms sales, increasing immigrants and foreign students, religious freedom and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.
The birthplace gold pandora bracelets and charms of Muhammad and home to the holy pilgrimage site of Mecca has often been called one of the world biggest exporters of extremist Islam, often known as Wahhabism or Salafism.
In that way, well off Saudi Arabia is a challenge to conventional wisdom in the West, which generally argues that fundamentalist religion is embraced mostly by the poor and oppressed. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and others of financing global Islamic extremism and of, until recently, supporting Islamic State, with which Canada is at war.
In the wake of online beheadings by Islamic State and the massacre of journalists at Charlie Hebdo magazine for alleged blasphemy, Saudi Arabia is being globally condemned for cutting off the heads of more than 70 prisoners in 2014.
It also being lambasted for sentencing young blogger Raif Bedawi to 1,000 lashes for Islam (with Bedawi Canadian based wife leading the outrage).
It hard to keep track of the contradictions, moral and otherwise, contained in Canada relationship with Saudi Arabia, population 30 million.
The country itself seems to have multiple personality disorder; with its rigid form of Islam, incredible oil wealth and approach avoidance conflict with the West, with the Saudi elite often embracing jet set lifestyles.
In the midst of all this, Saudi Arabia is trying to polish its image abroad.
King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz (who died this week) had cheap pandora charm bracelets named after himself a liberal sounding, well connected, Vienna based worldwide interfaith initiative, called KAICIID, which is growing influential.
And the country rulers are sending tens of thousands of the country elite students to study in English speaking democratic countries particularly Canada. In Metro Vancouver, the fastest growing group of new arrivals has authentic pandora beads been Saudi Arabians. Their numbers grew by almost 150 per cent between 2006 and 2011.
There are now 25,000 Saudi born people living in Canada, with most residing in Toronto and Metro Vancouver.
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The number of Saudi young people coming to Canada suddenly tripled around 2010. They now make up the country fifth largest group of foreign students, with roughly 5,000 arriving each year. A large number are in medical programs, funded by the Saudi government to the tune of $75,000 each. show photos of young men and women socializing and wearing stylish Western clothes.
It hard to get a handle on the complex positives and negatives of the relationships that Canadians, particularly the Conservative government, have developed with Saudi Arabia.
Business analysts say a key reason the Bank of Canada lowered its interest rate this week and thousands of people are being laid off in the Albertan oilsands, and in North America fracking industry, is Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia refusal, with other Gulf States, to limit oil exports has caused prices to plummet, which makes it uneconomic for North America to finance its more expensively extracted oil.
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