The other night I went to a music shop to purchase a few CDs for my son, Adam, AKA Captain Kabob, who just loves music. He comes by his love for music honestly. I have always loved to sing and I like all kinds of music. Listening to music brings me much joy. My hubby used to love music too. He used to love music back when I first met him, back when he says he was "stupid." Stupid for doing sinful things back when he was young and in college, like, among other things, loving music. In fact, he had quite an impressive record collection and could name a lot more of the artists than I could. But as Hubby grew older and "wiser" and got back in touch with his religious side, he realized how "stupid" he had been. So now he thinks that music is a worthless waste of time, and he tries to discourage Capt. Kabob from loving music so much. But the more Hubby puts down music, the more adamant Capt. Kabob is about loving it.
But this post isn't about the confusing issue of how some Muslims believe that music is haram (forbidden) and how other Muslims believe otherwise. This post deals with the censorship that is imposed on all residents of Saudi Arabia.
One of the CDs I got for Capt. Kabob is called "One of the Boys," by a female artist named Katy Perry. Ok, I have to admit here that 16 year old Capt. Kabob thinks Katy Perry is pretty hot, but he really likes her music too. When he opened up the CD, we were both astonished however. I hadn't noticed when I bought it, but the tightly sealed plastic wrap packaging had been removed and had been replaced with a clear plastic resealable envelope-type wrapper. The front cover of the little booklet tucked inside serves as the front of the CD cover. This little booklet insert has photos of the artist, a list of the songs and lyrics, as well as the artistic credits.
This is what the real cover of the CD should have looked like:
And here's what the actual CD cover that I purchased looks like:
Here's what a photo on the INSIDE of the CD booklet should have looked like:
And this is what that same photo actually looks like on the CD I bought:
The back cover had also been doctored as well. Here's what it should have looked like:
And here's what the back cover of the CD I purchased really looks like:
Now those of you who have purchased CDs know how much trouble it is to take that plastic wrap off. And then to remove the front insert and especially removing the back insert from the CD case without breaking the plastic case can be tricky. So what it all boils down to is that the Saudi government is actually paying religious police members of the Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CVPVP) to remove the plastic wrap from these CDs, open up the CD cases, remove the front and back inserts, and carefully and painstakingly color in with a marker any photos baring exposed female flesh that is deemed objectionable. Hence, while the general public is protected from such vulgarity, the CVPVP members get to view photos with women's flesh abounding and then get to stroke on colored markers over the exposed women's skin. I wonder what they are thinking or how they feel as they stroke those markers onto the smooth female flesh in the photos. I wonder if it makes them feel good that they are shielding young teenage boys from such crude displays of the nubile female form.
But I also wonder if they are sometimes overcome with desire and cannot control their feelings or actions when they see such immoral things like this day in and day out. After all, they are only men and only human. Certainly seeing all that tempting erotic skin, and coloring in all those feminine body parts must have some kind of perverse effect on these men who have been entrusted with keeping the entire country out of harm's way. These poor men are charged with the monumental task of seeking out sexual connotations in every aspect of life here and turning innocence into filth. It's a dirty disgusting job but somebody has to do it. What supreme sacrifices these noble men make for the sake of their fellow Saudi man!
For further details about the extreme role that this controversial government agency takes in "protecting" the good citizens of Saudi Arabia, read my previous post about the CPVPV. You can read even more by clicking over to an in-depth blog post on the same topic by my fellow blogger Sand Gets in my Eyes, and a very recent accounting of a disturbing incident in Riyadh about how the CPVPV overstep their bounds by another fellow blogger, Saudi Woman.