I must say, It’s quite heartwarming to see the wave of international support Saudi women have been receiving to support this cause. Ironically, most Saudis are still very weary of anything international (especially the big bad west) and tend to question the motives of said support. Just to quote one facebook comment:
“You can’t support what you don’t understand. I don’t like outsider supporting us because they don’t understand us. what some people are protesting to have Saudi women remove hijab or something else. all I’m saying is what work for one country doesn’t necessarily work for another country. if we want something we will get it . no need to let outsider interfere. it’s not negativity it just opinions man. !!!”
The general view is that this is “our” problem. That its is an internal one and that we don’t need international interference making us look like a bunch of liberals that are out to destroy the fabric of society and westernize our women so that they go out to the streets in shorts and all become strippers.
… or something like that.
I think most Saudi are not only private, but are also very pessimistic with an overactive imagination always assuming the worst. I wonder why that is… and ideas anyone?
Naturally many people have multiple motives for doing things, but that doesn’t eliminate the first motive which is a show of support.
For example, Tesla, the beautiful eco friendly car, has released an emotionally driven ad that supports women driving in Saudi, pleading with the King to make an official decree. Tesla is also a car company that I’m sure would love to enter the Saudi market in the future. The cause also fits their identity: Eco friendly, human rights, world peace. Just because this ad might drive sales for them and gain international viewing doesn’t mean that the message is insincere or false. I personally loved it.
Another widely-reported incident was that of the Activists of Femen protesting topless in freezing temperatures in front of the Saudi embassy in Berlin. While my personal opinion is against such … erm… flamboyant shows of support, it’s still drawing international support and hopefully international pressure. Most social media comments I’ve seen from Saudis and non-Saudis living here showed outrage and disgust and such a performance. Labeling them as exhibitionists, sick, crazy, and doing more damage to the cause than anything else. While I agree that it’s not going to do us any good, I don’t think it will do any damage, and I still appreciate the show of support no matter what crazy form in takes, who am I to decide what’s acceptable and what isn’t? Here are some photos, in case you want to check it out. In the end they are only a handful of women who gave the Saudi embassy employees a free peep-show. I can’t help but wonder if they weren’t topless, would many others have joined them. Is it numbers or attention that matter, or neither?
Also on this matter, here is an article by The Sydney Morning Herald discussing accident rates in Saudi, and coming to the conclusion that maybe its Saudi MEN who shouldn’t be driving! haha
Time.com has also posted a few articles, they seem to be following this issue closely. In the first, It talks about what its like growing up in a country where you know you won’t be able to drive when you’re older, and this blog even gets a mention! (Yay so proud), The other looks at how Saudi women are trying to deal with Driving vs Civil rights.
I guess in the end, most Saudis don’t understand empathy for someone you share nothing with, don’t even know, besides being part of the human race (and maybe the same gender). They keep looking upon international input or support with suspicion, stubbornly maintaining that “This is our problem, we can handle it ourselves.”
Well hun, you belong to the only and last country in the WORLD that bans women from driving. A little support to cheer you up and maybe nudge decision-makers opinions in your favor can’t hurt.