Is a Saudi Princess Going to Buy Her Way Out Of U.S. Law?

Once again, the questions of moral ambiguities and cultural relativism have emerged right here in the United States. It might come as a culture shock when a member of royalty or nobility cannot practice customs on American soil which would have been the norm at home. Meshael Alayban, a Saudi princess and wife of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, must face these questions now after being arrested for attempting to hold a domestic worker against her will, an action which might just force the U.S. government to look more closely at its diplomatic ties with a nation where indentured servitude is very much an everyday reality.

From the very beginning, authorities were skeptical that the princess would even appear in the American court of Orange County. After all, any amount of bail requested could surely be met by such an oil-rich family as the Saudi Arabian royals. In the meantime, coverage is calling this mishap a simple dispute over working hours. Still, there remains unrest over moral questions such as human trafficking in other countries and, most importantly, how to prevent these practices from taking place within the United States.

Moreover, this whole affair raises the issue of whether questioning Saudi Arabian social mores might affect diplomatic and, more specifically, economic relations with the oil giant. When it comes to upholding the ethical beliefs we preach or ignoring violations of basic human rights in order to avoid hefty financial repercussions, we still don't know which America will choose.

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Sarah Katz

I hold a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of California Berkeley. While at UC Berkeley, I founded the Iran-Israel Student Coalition, the first student-led Iran-Israel peace initiative. I am currently pursuing a dual Masters degree in International Management (MBA) and International Policy Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. In addition to PolicyMic, I contribute to the "Times of Israel" online news blog.

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