Roger’s Rules

It would be funny if only it weren't true

A couple of days ago, I commented on the preposterous arrest in Sudan of the English schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons, whose crime had been to allow her 6- and 7-year-old students name a Teddy bear “Muhammad.” At the time, it seemed as if poor Ms. Gibbons, a 54-year-old mother of two, might get 40 lashes or six months in jail for “insulting the prophet.” In the event, she was sentenced to a 15-day prison term, better than feared, though just think how much you would enjoy spending two weeks in a Sudanese jail. It was disgusting that she was arrested at all, of course, but today I see that the Sudanese racaille (if I may poach a French word from Nicolas Sarkozy) have taken to the streets in droves to protest the “lenient verdict.” According to an English paper,

“Thousands of Islamic fanatics wielding clubs and knives are marching through the streets of Khartoum demanding the execution of teddy bear teacher Gillian Gibbons.”

“Shame, shame on the U.K.,” protesters chanted,” as they called for Miss Gibbons’ execution, saying, “No tolerance: Execution,” and “Kill her, kill her by firing squad.”

Others shouted: “Those who insult the Prophet of Islam should be punished with bullets.”

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Nice, eh? It used to be that British navy would intervene to protect its citizens. Earlier this year, when the Iranian navy kidnapped 15 British sailors, England showed the world that it no longer had the spine to defend even its military personnel, let alone civilians. I hope Gillian Gibbons survives her ordeal without harm. I hope that she then has sense enough to return home. Whitehall has made it clear exactly what they will do to protect British subjects: absolutely nothing.