4 Tiny Monkeys Are At The Center Of A Fight Over Women's Rights

The counties of Sweden and Saudi Arabia are in the midst of a diplomatic fight, and four tiny monkeys are paying the price. A quartet of South American pygmy marmosets, which were due to be sent from a zoo in Sweden to the Saudi capital of Riyadh, have been sent home. But the monkeys — which are the smallest in the world, each weighing about as much as an apple — are just pawns in a bigger fight: one about women's rights. 

Last month, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom criticized Saudi's record on human rights and called for Arab nations to “focus attention on women’s rights" at a speech in Cairo. Progressive Sweden is pretty much the opposite of Saudi Arabia when it comes to the treatment of women. (In the Kingdom, women still aren't permitted to drive.)

In retaliation for the perceived slight, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Sweden. The two countries also ended a weapons deal worth millions of dollars and called off the planned monkey swap.

Jonas Wahlstrom of the Skansen Zoo in Sweden is wryly amused by the situation. “I'll just have to wait until they grant visas to Swedish businessmen again. Maybe monkeys will get visas then, too,” he told Radio Sweden, as reported by the BBC

You know, Sweden, if Saudi Arabia doesn’t want the baby monkeys, we know an office full of New Yorkers who would be glad to take them off your hands. 
Advertisement