…And Free Hugs For All

From Will Brown. A place where “free hugs” are an act of rebellion.

Nomad Sun

This Times of India article prompted me to wonder what Onion-style satire would look like in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi religious police arrested two young men offering a “free hug” to passers-by in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom’s capital, local media reported on Thursday.

The arrests were made in the main Tahlia Street where the two men were waving banners marked “Free Hug” in English, according to news website Sabq.org.

Free Hugs Campaign is a movement for individuals to offer hugs to strangers in public places, especially in big cities, “to brighten up their lives”.

Then I realized that my imagination isn’t powerful enough to conjure up a scenario where “free hugs” are illegal but politically subversive satire isn’t.

The Independent (UK) spoke to Abdulrahman al-Khayyal, one of the brave young men arrested by the Saudi Mutaween (the religious establishment’s fanatical vice squad).

According to the report, he said that “[d]espite [having been…

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