Nailed woman
Posted on September 2nd, 2010


The recent news about the nailed woman is – to say the least – atrocious. But have we wondered what we are going to do about it? That is other than shouting about Saudi.

Saudi, of course since it is a Muslim country comes under fire. But we must realize it is not the country which did the nailing – but a person there. Any country can have Mervin silvas, sakvithis and lalith kothalawela. Does not mean the country is promoting it. Not that Saudi always is right. No country is.

But the problem is totally ours – the Srilankans’. How longƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  – or how many ariyawathys will it takeƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  for us to realize sending the women to work abroad is not fruitful? That it is detrimental to the familyƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  specially and to the country as a whole? A long long time indeed, for it has not sunk in after thousands of cases of abuse, injustice and losses.

As long asƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  a society does not value itsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  mothers, does not recognize the importance of their presenceƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  in the family and turn them into simple money making machines, we would be having many more Somawathys andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Wimalawathys coming back withƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  – not just nails – but much more cruelties inflicted upon them. But then do we care? except perhaps a few letters to the media, a few horrified conversations in common places – and then we will move on. More Somawathys andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Wimalawathys will keep going and more will be returning maimed – but life will go on in our paradise island undaunted!

15 Responses to “Nailed woman”

  1. Ramanie Says:

    Dr Refai,

    Her name is not ‘nailed woman’- she is Ms Ariyawathie. It is disrespectful to think that she can be called any stupid name just because she is a victim of mindless torture by a barbarian from Saudi.

    She did not leave small children and go to Saudi to work- her children are very grown up.

    Yes, any country can have Mervin silvas, sakvithis and lalith kothalawelas and even ‘kudu’ Nawazs but civilized countries use the long arm of the law to make the wrongdoers accountable for their actions- just as Sri Lanka does. Saudi Ambassador should take full note of this case and investigate back home and have the culprit punished – if instead he tries to come up with smoke screens and deflectors like how he has done so far- he should be kicked out.

    Saudi is not coming “under fire since it is a Muslim country” but because it’s citizens have a history of abusing innocent foreign workers. Sri Lankan women should all be well-off enough so that they do not have to put themselves at risk looking for work in Middle eastern countries; but that’s the theory. In reality, women are finding it increasingly difficult to feed their children especially where the husbands are either unable or unwilling to support them. Leaving one’s children at home and going to work overseas is a desperate act resorted to by the poor of this country. The government and the civil society in Sri Lanka should work tirelessly to provide these women with the wherewithall to stay home and raise their children. Until then nobody has the right to take the high moral ground, throw the Good Book at them or to take away the the civil liberties of these women to find alternative ways of finding their upkeep.

    Not only should the poor parents of Sri Lanka be taken good care of by Sri Lanka- the Middle Eastern countries that abuse our citizens should be taken to task by the Sri Lankan/ International authories.

  2. ronetr Says:

    Dr Refai, I wouldn’t bother writing my own as it is just waste of time. Please read the following view from apparently a minority dark American lived there with his indonesian wife who describe the problem very well. The world need people like you for the important changes to the Saudi Barbarian society. (then see the following as a comment posted at the end)

    Aug 31, 2010 12:32
    Report abuse
    For the many faults of the USA, the accused would have been question already and we would know the name and face of him/her. But in Saudi, the rule of law only applies to the non-Saudi where it is guilty until proven innocent. Where as Saudi institutions want us to assume the sponsor in this case is innocent until proven guilty. There is no action from the police so we can only assume they are guilty. Saudi is looking for a way to protect their own. It would be a familiar song, but Saudi’s don’t sing.

    I do agree that this is an extreme case, but not as uncommon as defenders try to say. There is a lot of abuse, be it mental or physical. MOST OF THE WOMEN ARE BEING ABUSED! Just go to the airport and talk to them. Look at their faces. There are so many shells of a human trying to escape. With the sponsorship system, they cannot say or do anything until the plane is in the air as one word from the sponsor can land them in jail, innocent or guilty. I am sure this is why she got through the airport security. In Saudi, she is a“ non Muslim” so not a danger even if the alarms go off. The Staff at the airport are so poorly trained, can one be surprised she was able to make it through?

    Because of my black skin, I got no respect from Saudi’s until they heard my American accent. My wife with her Indonesian face had no such luck. From the very first day she was in Saudi, she was treated with disdain. When she came on her wife visa, they kept her nearly two hours interrogating her. It was not possible she was here on the correct visa in their small minds. When we went out, the other Indonesians were always afraid to talk as the glare from “master” meant some punishment would be meted out. We had to make sure our phones were topped up with credit since we would let these ladies call home. Most employers seize the ladies phones, as it is not necessary for them to have a line to the outside world. I have been asked by more than one of these ladies if it is ok for the father and the sons to touch her like “that”.

    I could go on for a thousand pages but I wont. This is not in Arabic and the people who need change their ways will not be able to read this. My almost two years in Saudi Arabia taught me that religion and faith are diametric, and way too many in Saudi have neither. And for the all the Islam haters, it has nothing to do with any of this. Every Saudi man wants to be a King. His wife a Queen. Treating people like this makes them feel powerful. It really is that simple. The idea of there being limits is a bit alien. Maybe that is why some call it Saudi Barabia. Many people have asked me about working in Saudi. I just show them stories like this and, alhamduallah, they don’t go. Saudi Arabia, the shadow of the Prophet will not protect you from the sun forever. The Jannah will be hotter than the desert if you don’t change your ways.

  3. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:


  4. M.S.MUdali Says:

    But how did she pass all the METAL DETECTORS AT THE AIRPORT? If the people work at the airport co-operated with the Saudi criminal who did the nailing only, she could board the plane. Or it is a Muslim tradition to torture the non-muslims?

    Slaves are the property of Masters. That theory was applied?

  5. Sajith Says:

    Dr Refai,

    What happens in Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Saudi, Afghanistan, Iran is called “karma”. They get what they give others. Lord Buddha preached about karma 2500 years ago. Hinduism preached it even before. How true?

    For your information, her name is Ariyawathi. It means the woman with a noble body. They nailed it and will pay for it heavily.

  6. cassandra Says:

    Dr Reffai,

    As Ramanie has already stated, you are not right when you say “ Saudi, of course since it is a Muslim country comes under fire” It is not the fact that it is a Muslim country that raises others’ concerns but the abuses that occur in the kingdom, with apparent impunity. And as you well know, whilst this is an extreme example, this is by no means the first instance of torture and maltreatment of women workers that has been reported from there. And, let’s face it; neither can the Saudi justice system or methods of punishment be described as enlightened.

    You are also not right to say that the problem is totally Sri Lanka’s. It is not. Surely, it is not unreasonable to expect those in the host nations to also behave in a civilized fashion and not inflict cruelty on those who through sheer force of circumstances are forced to work for them.

    You have said that “As long as a society does not value its mothers, does not recognize the importance of their presence in the family and turn them into simple money making machines, we would be having many more Somawathys and Wimalawathys coming back with – not just nails – but much more cruelties inflicted upon them.” Yes, there will be more women coming back in this fashion, not just for the reasons you have said, but primarily because their employers are cruel, sadistic and heartless – something that your writing shows you also accept.

    It is not only Sri Lankan society that should “value its mothers”. Saudi Arabian society should also show similar respect for the mothers of other peoples. All over the world, there are millions of women who go out to work but they don’t suffer the indignities and the maltreatment that maids have to endure in the Middle East.

    But I do agree with you that Sri Lanka should do more than “perhaps a few letters to the media, a few horrified conversations in common places”. Some meaningful steps need to be taken to ensure the safety and dignity of those who go abroad for employment. The present conditions are clearly not acceptable.

    Susantha Wijesinghe, the same thoughts went through my mind. What, indeed, are the champions of human rights doing about abuses in places like Saudi Arabia. I suppose the short answer is “Petro-dollars”!

    MSMUdali, Metal detectors at airports don’t necessarily ‘detect’ every bit of metal in your body. I know for certain that those who have had by-pass surgery and have metal wires in their chest cavities don’t trigger any signals when they pass through these devices.

  7. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    This Lady Ariyawathie said that in Saudi, the alarm was triggered, but they did not ask her anything. She also said that even at the Sri Lanka Airport, the alarm was triggered, yet, nobody asked her anything.

    I too had By-Pass surgery, and I have Stainless Steel Wire in my chest, and when I went to Nevada twice, no alarms were triggered. I concur with MSM.

    It is my point of view that it is certainly not Petro Dollars, but blatant, pusillanimous, damning, hypocracy. Saudi is no entertainer of human rights activists. Sri Lanka has over-stepped its manamity, towards these hypocrites.

  8. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Correction;- magnanimity.

  9. De Costa Says:

    Dear woman Reffai ,
    Frist thing to not is “Dr” will not make you decent. So, just drop it and if you are decent everyone will still respect you on merit of your arguments.
    My question to you on your statement “As long as a society does not value its mothers, does not recognize the importance of their presence” is,
    You are surely accusing Sri lanka here. Do not forget, this country, although still poor with very little natural resource, does not stone humans to death. Sri Lanka does will not cut your genital parts if you commit adultery, even if you are a mother. Sri Lanka pardons a number of people condemned with death penalty every year. Sri Lanka does not more kill animals during Vesak. Sri Lanka does not cut off headsof mothers or even fathers in public.
    Which country is more civilized ? Sri lanka or Saudi ? Saudi without muslim rule could have been better, but not with indecent ugly rules. This has nothing to do with Mrs. Ariyawathie who went there to earn some money.
    Sajith is another name for MS Mudali the Buddhism basher. He will be born as a Saudi woman.

  10. wickie Says:

    How about death penalty for apostacy, stoning women for being preganat following rape, and wife beating etc etc?
    Are those rules also applied by certain individuals and not the state? The decison to go abroad to work or to do anything else should rest with the person and not the state.

  11. M.S.MUdali Says:

    I am not a basher of Buddhism. Can this Portugeuse Parangiya Costa show any “evidence”?

  12. De Costa Says:

    This time I apologise to you for calling a Buddhism basher. You are not. It was “Priyantha” who was the basher.
    Sorry for this and please accept me the parangiya as your friend.
    Did not you see the “hardtalk” session with Muslim preist ? He says it is the God who expects the muslims to hate non muslims. It is their duty to inflict kamma on non-muslims. They are the Yamapallas of the world.

  13. M.S.MUdali Says:

    India, when Indira Gandhi was the PM, stopped sending Indian women as MAIDS to any Muslim country. Because a “servant” of non- muslim origin is always treated as a SLAVE by Muslims because Koran ask them to treat non-muslims as SLAVES and KAFIRS.

    Islamic countries are not civilised enough to follow any International Labour Laws. Our current government has TRADE UNION boss Alawi Moulana and a Deputy Minister of women Affairs Hisbollah. Both of them mislead the government and Sri lankans on the Islamic horrors. That is why both of them keep silence on the inhuman treatements of our women in the Middle East!

    It is shame on Mahinda Rajapaksa to have a Muslim as a Deputy Minister of Women Affairs. Cant he find a woman in Sri lanka to that position?

    Will the Sri lankan government bring a morotorium on sending woman labor to Muslim countries to save the honor and respect of our mothers, sisters and daughters?

    Muslims in the Middle East treat this “laborers” as slaves and not as “workers”. I think the SLFP now succumb to the Islamic uncivilised Koran and Sharia for getting political support of the Muslims in Sri lanka.

  14. hela puwath Says:

    M S Mudali, yours is a very accurate observation, both about the government’s misguided subserviance to Muslim politicians, and the governmenrt’s lack of care for our mothers, daughters and sisters. There is a whole department dedicated to foreign employment, what does it do to protect these poor souls?

    Look who is leading the criminal enterprise in the country. And look who appears to be getting ready to strengthen the hand of the President – Raufhakeem!?. The governing party seem to have forgotten Hakeem-Wickremasinghe-plot to bring down the government.

    Muslims hail Islam as a humane and just religion, but look at what is happening in the Arab Islamic countries. The excuse is always the, “discrimination” and “illtreatment” suffered by Muslims – a very familiar theme for us. The suffering of Muslims justifies everything, then what about the suffering of others in the hands of Muslims in Arabia?

    Somehow, we not only allow, but encourage the exploitation of our poor, all to earn foreign exchange, which are then sqandered in importing cheap plastics for the poor, and luxuries for the rich and the politicians. (this is not an attempt at government bashing).

  15. M.S.MUdali Says:

    I am happy to see at least a Sri Lankan law maker has the same view of mine. I wish Ranjan Ramanayake for his efforts to build a new home for our sister Ariyawathi who came from S/Arabia with nails in her body!

    //Only 3 men to look after 500,000 housemaids – Ranjan

    September 6, 2010, 9:54 pm
    by Denagama Dhammika Ranaweera

    UNP Ratnapura District MP Ranjan Ramanayake said there were only three males at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia to look into the welfare of about 500,000 Sri Lankan housemaids employed in that country.

    Ramanayake was in Matara yesterday to look into the progress of the work on the house being built for the Lankan housemaid L. P. Ariyawathi, who returned to the country over a fortnight ago from Saudi Arabia after undergoing immense torture.

    Ramanayake undertook to construct a house for Ariyawathi. Her Saudi employers were alleged to have driven several nails into her body. She underwent a three-hour operation in the Kamburupitiya Hospital where surgeons removed the nails from her body.

    Ramanayake told the media that Sri Lanka should follow the example of India and stop sending women as housemaids.

    He also recalled the torture meted out to housemaids under Saudi laws that protect the perpetrators.

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