Arms deal versus right livelihood

Much has been written and stated about the controversial arms deal between the Saudi Arabian government and General Dynamics Land Systems in London.

While the Saudis have an abysmal record on human rights, the federal government claims to be keeping an eye on how that country will be using the combat vehicles.

But more and more people are questioning the morality of the deal and Canada’s decision to proceed.

Sweden cancelled a defence deal with the Saudis last year and endured much criticism. So does that mean the decision wasn’t the correct one?

Jobs are at stake, reputations and there could be lawsuits.

Still, when we think about how those vehicles could be used, it’s chilling.

Should we not care about our fellow man living under an oppressive regime? What about children?

Human Rights Watch writes: “Detainees, including children, commonly face systematic violations of due process and fair trial rights, including arbitrary arrest and torture and ill-treatment in detention. Saudi judges routinely sentence defendants to floggings of hundreds of lashes.

“Judges can order arrest and detention, including of children, at their discretion. Children can be tried for capital crimes and sentenced as adults if physical signs of puberty exist.”

As well, “Saudi Arabia’s discriminatory male guardianship system remains intact despite government pledges to abolish it. Under this system, ministerial policies and practices forbid women from obtaining a passport, marrying, traveling, or accessing higher education without the approval of a male guardian, usually a husband, father, brother, or son.”

There is a Buddhist tenet that speaks to making a living in a way that doesn’t hurt others.

It’s called Right Livelihood and it suggest we find a way to earn a paycheque that does not cause harm and ideally that is ethically positive.

Now things can get really complicated when you think about Right Livelihood. Does the way I earn a living hurt others? Not easy to answer, but worth reflecting upon.


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