Archive | December, 2011

Manal Al Shareef’s video submition

23 Dec asked for 90 second submitions answering the Q of whether or not the current changes in the middle east will see the drafting of laws that give women better rights- and equal rights. This video is Manal’s submition. Sorry y’all its in arabic.

Manal on the law implementing women’s rights

YES!! She said what I’ve been saying for ages: Human rights and Women’s rights should NOT be separated! I hate the label “feminist”, its just another form of gender discrimination. Probably the worst since it carries negative connotations in the west. Why don’t they call male human rights activists “maleisits” ?? haha

… and The Madness Continues

6 Dec

Remember the case of the girl who was sentenced to get lashed for driving in September? She supposedly got a royal pardon (though the only confirmation of that was a tweet by princess Amirah Al Taweel, prince Al waleed bin Talal’s wife), but it seems that that wasn’t the case.

After exhausting “the quiet” ways of trying to resolve things, Shaima Jastaniah has decided to go public, hopefully International pressure will once again save a woman wronged.

I don’t know if it’s just me, or if this online “war” has been escalating.

The Atlantic posted an article recently about this poor girl’s plight. In a place where nothing makes sense, this is just one more.

I got into a bit of an argument with a friend of mine (ok well, not an argument, I simply lost it and went mental on him), because he was trying to explain to me how the system works in saudi, trying to get to the root of the problem in a systematic, logical way. In hindsight I feel a bit bad for getting angry at him, but what a explained later after I calmed down is that I KNOW where the root is. I don’t need to be systematic and objective I’m not her lawyer and I’m not publishing a research paper. I’m venting! I’m consciously choosing to be angry and give free rein to my feelings. I want to RANT! Which is exactly what I did. I wound up wiping away angry tears, to the bewildered silence of my dear friend.

THIS is what’s wrong: Its the organization of the judicial system. One that gives so much power to a Judge. Its the mentality of a Judge that decided to let his personal contempt for women who are fighting for their rights to show in his verdict. Its his clear message of “I’ll make you an example, I will humiliate you”. Lashings, in theory, shouldn’t hurt as mush as humiliate. And there are rules that state that the person delivering the lashes cannot raise his elbow beyond a certain point, etc… to make sure that the blows aren’t too harsh. Still, Its the concept. Applying what is normally only reserved for a criminal offense to a simple act of civil disobedience at worst. In reality its a woman exercising her human right. How could someone who is supposedly morally upstanding decide to punish someone for standing up for their rights? An insecure misogynist that doesn’t really fear God. That’s who.

I realize that my posts are becoming angrier and more bitter. Injustice tends to do that to a person. Still, I promise you I’ll try to find the funny bit in all this and try to laugh it off. My heartfelt prayers go out to Shaima, and her scary situation.

Till then, take care my lovelies.

“Dr” Kamal’s Study

4 Dec

Following up on my last post, here is a link to a “shortened” version of that so-called study, again I apologize no non-arabic speakers. But for those of you who can read Arabic, you will be able to see how, contrary to his claims of objectivity and “field research”, his “studies” are not only biased, merely a summary of some interviews with people complaining about the infestation of immoral crimes, but also contained what I can only call brown-nosing.

From the beginning of the report, you can see warning signs. He might advocate “respectful debate”, but it looks to me like that’s just an excuse to say as many outrageous things as possible, then demanding “respectful, calm debate” in return. F**** that. I’d rather go for the jugular. Lucky for me I have no claim to objectivity, which I learned recently was fine when doing social research, as long as the researcher admits to being biased and has no problem keeping that in mind. Our dear “Dr” Subhi’s problem seems to start here. He did not admit to being nonobjective, therefore losing credibility at once.

His second mistake is his seriously flawed logic. Let me give a clear example from the very beginning. He start by attempting to categorize the different opinions towards women driving in Saudi in groups, the first being the Pro.

القسم الأول: قسم مؤيد لقيادة المرأة للسيارة – مع استخدام وسائل الإعلام وإحداث ضوضاء حول الموضوع ورغبة في دفع الأمور بأي وسيلة ومهما كانت   النتائج – بناءا على أنها تقود السيارة في كل دول العالم فلماذا لا تقودها لدينا؟!

He states the Pro-driving group’s logic as following:(this is a rough translation)

The first category: The group that is pro women driving, using media and noise-making about the topic and wanting to drive the issue no matter what the outcome. Their logic is: Women drive everywhere around the world so why not here?!

Now, I’ll save my comment on his ill-interpreted and over-simplified reasoning for later. And focus on his quick & instant “reply” to this group, blatantly contradicting his claim to objectivity before he even stated his so called “research”.

The next paragraph:

وبطبيعة الحال، فإن هذا المعيار يمكن دحضه من باب أن العديد من بقية دول العالم تسمح بأمور كثيرة غير مسموح بها لدينا مثل الدعارة وبيع الخمور وزواج المثليين، فهل مطلوب من دولة تقول أنها تطبق الإسلام – مثل السعودية – أن تطبق كل ما تطبقه كل دول العالم؟

Naturally, this logic can be refuted by simply saying that many of the world’s countries allow many things that Saudi doesn’t allow like prostitution and selling alcohol and gay marriage. Does that mean that a country that applies Islamic law like Saudi Arabia should allow what all the countries in the world allow?!


Oh-kayy.Wow. I don’t know where to start, so I’ll organize this in bullet points.

1- How on earth can driving be compared to prostitution, gar marriage and alchohol consumption?! He is comparing three things that are high on the nono-list of not only Islam, but Christianity and Judaism too (excluding alcohol in some cases) with a perfectly legal, human right that Islam has not banned in any way shape or form. The right to freedom of movement is both a Human rights aspect and a religious one. The idea that a woman must be accompanied at all times for not only her protection from others but also from herself is a ludicrous new addition to “Islam” that is simply tribal thinking filtered through and disguising itself as religious. The only religious use of a “mahram” or male guardian, as far as I know, is when a woman travels in the desert for over three days. End of story. No need to get excited and generalize the three days to three hours. I’m sure if any conservatives read this they’d do the Islamic version of crossing themselves, by fervently muttering astaghfirullah! repeatedly as if I’ve uttered blasphemy. Sorry ’bout that, but I’d love to have you prove me wrong. Check your sources and let me know. Remember, Only sources from the Quraan or Hadith, with a solid trace for the latter deeming it “sahih” (true) and nothing less.

Back to original tpoic… where was I… oh yes!

2- So All the world’s countries allow alcohol, prostitution, and gay marriage? lovely. You might want to check your sources on that.

In retaliation to other points he mentioned in his “report”

3- Having some “researcher” tel you that there are studies in the UNESCO that find that the percentage of adultery, premarital sex, prostitution and whatever are higher in countries that allow women to drive DOES NOT constitute as research!!! You could have tried googling that info yourself, but I’m willing to bet that since Saudi is the only country IN THE WORLD that doesn’t allow women to drive, many countries will have higher rates of whatever, and many others will have lower rates, but they will all have women driving. Women driving isn’t exactly the variable here. If he said that a study shows that Saudi has the lowest rate in the world of prostitution, porn, sex crimes… etc, then he might be able to try to link that to the reason being we are the only country that doesn’t allow women to drive. But if he DID do that I’d probably yell BULLSH**!! If anything, our sexual harassment crimes are nowhere near low.

4- Why didn’t he compare numbers and statistics? In this whole “study” you don’t see a single statistic. He has vague references to a survey that he did. He does not say how many people were included in that survey, or what the results were in a percentage point of view. He only states the questions he asked them and then quotes the few that he found fitting with his own ideas. Objective? ha!

5- He mentions doing some of his research in “a country in north africa”. Why didn’t he just say Morocco? Perhaps because just saying that name is the Saudi equivalent of saying “red light district in Amsterdam” to a westerner. (No offense intended dear Moroccans, I can’t control how people think). And if its not Morocco, why keep it vaugue? Does the name of the country he conducted his research in affect his credibility? I just don’t understand his lack of clarity. If he were objective he could have said “I went to Morocco because such and such, to check one extreme for example, then I went to Qatar because such and such”. But this lack of clarity can only be called “Dodgy”.

6- One thing he mentioned that he observed from their media and newspapers is that women have the right to give birth in a hospital even if the baby was conceived out of wedlock. And that this is considered progressive…. Need I comment here even? I’m baffled. So he would prefer unwed mother to be criminalized and be forced to risk death and give birth in an alley with a butcher or a poor doctor that is risking his career to save a life instead of her getting proper medical treatment?! wow. He probably thinks that convicts in jail have no right to a doctor either, or is that okay for men only?

I think I’m going to stop here for now… I might update this in the future, but honestly, this is just a sampling of some of the most outrageous points he makes in his paper. I don’t have the time or patience to go through everything point-by-point because then I’d have to translate and analyze his whole essay which would give me high-blood pressure or something. I find that even his tone of writing is arrogant and nerve-grating. I can hear this obnoxious self-satisfied, self-righteous nasal voice playing in my head as I read the text. It actually gave me a headache. I have no idea if his voice is actually like that or not, but that’s how it carried on. Oh, and did I mention the load of brown-nosing generously peppered throughout the essay? *rolling eyes*

In closing, I’ll leave you with the embarrassing realization that this man’s wanna-be research has made a mockery of us in the whole world… on Saturday Night Live, no less!! (oh the shame)

On a lighter note, I can’t wait to see what 3al6ayer and LaYekthar youtube shows will have to say about this. I’ll let you you know if they post anything!

For those of you who can read arabic, check out the link. Let me know which point jumped out at you as most angering or illogical.

Peace out

Can Somebody Gag Him Please?!

3 Dec

I think the definition of “scientific research” in saudi should be re-evaluated. Ever since I came to the UK, I’ve been learning about research methodology, and I think I can safely say proper research, especially in non-scientific fields is generally overlooked back home.

Before you start accusing me of jumping to conclusions or being too harsh, please give this article a read so you can understand some of my overwhelming frustration. Its basically a “study” by some twisted example of the specimens we have to deal with back home, named Kamal Subhi, presenting a “study” that shows the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, with his biased results that if women were allowed to drive, there would be no more “virgins” in the kingdom! Amongst other things naturally, like more porn and more homosexuals too.

Somebody should tell this guy to take a look around when it comes to the number of homosexuals, since the men can drive already. Its not like women driving will affect gay men in any way. But thats besides the point.

I would like to see his scientific research. I would like to see how he came to these numbers, AND I would like to know how many virgins are there in the Kingdom at the moment. Plus why is it such a bad thing? Maybe everyone will get married and we wouldn’t have the “3anes” (spinster) problem they use as an excuse for “misyar” marriage ( if you don’t know what misyar marriage is, either google it or ask me in a comment). Which brings up another question: Does this mean that since married women are not virgins, then they can drive? is that the pre-requisite? haha, prove you are married or divorced or widowed and you can get a drivers license. Oh well, at least one good thing would come out of those situations. “Yay I’m divorced but at least I can drive now!”.

I would like to know how he rates the Kingdom’s social morality at the moment. And what kind of research has he based his far-flung conclusions on. Has he interviewed gynocologists? Sociologists? Psychiatrists? Women? Have those women said they can’t wait to be let loose behind the wheel so they can start their new moonlighting jobs? His lame example in the other arab country’s cafe… is his conclusion based on one experience? Maybe he was in a brothel. I could take him to a few cafes in Saudi where women signal availability and men signal interest all the time. Is he so naive or isolated that he thinks that limiting women’s human right to freedom of movement would actually prevent that? Has no one taught him that morals cannot be enforced, they must be taught. If its a simple case of lack of opportunity that’s holding back the muslim women of an entire country from becoming sluts and whores (excuse my language), then we are in a really bad situation. That doesn’t say much about the whole institution of marriage and family building, or religion and upbringing in general.

I just find this mind-bogglingly sad. That such a “study” was allowed to see the light of day. He should be fired. Then judged for Qathf, for as far as I’m concerned, he just called every woman in Saudi Arabia a potential prostitute if given the chance. This has become a matter of honor, and he should be punished for taking these women’s honor so disrespectfully. Am I being too harsh? perhaps. perhaps not. But the least that should be done is that he is stripped of any kind of professional or academic references he might have, though you never know, he might not have any to begin with.

here is the link to a BBC article on the same topic. Apparently it made the “top e-mailed” list. how embarrassing!

* Update: Just found an interesting youtube vid from a popular Saudi TV show that discusses hot local topics. My apologies to anyone who doesn’t speak arabic. It tries to give the issue an objective look, interviewing different intellectuals about this “event”.  One academic tries to give him the benefit of the doubt, doubting his research methods and stating that he probably didn’t realize how bad what he was saying sounds (reeeallyy?!). It does however, raise the issue of whether or not “Dr” Subhi has committed Qathf (false accusations against a woman’s honor) or not.

Yahala Show

** I was also happy to see one of my favorite tweeps, Najla Hariri, express the same opinion I had on holding him legally accountable for Qathf (false accusation concerning honor) of all Saudi women.

طيب القياده,مازالوا مختلفين عليها,لكن القذف العلن,الا يوجد حد شرعي له؟نطالب بتطبيق الحد الشرعي على كل من قذفنا في اعراضنا,وهم معروفون بالإسم
 ***For those of you on twitter, a hashtag was created for this topic. Some tweets are in arabic, others in english, but I’m finding most pretty funny! Sarcasm and mockery are always valid ways to deal with such ridiculous claims, in my opinion. #DrKamalStudy