Archive | October, 2013

International Support: From Tesla in CA, to Topless in Germany!

31 Oct

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.

“No Woman, No Drive”

26 Oct

Gotta laugh at these guys. Satire is sometimes the best way to emotionally deal with these situations.
Alaa wardi, Hisham Fageeh and Fahad Albutairi lighten the air once again.

This should be enough of a reason!

25 Oct

An article posted by AlArabiya.net on the 9th of October about three female members of al Shoura council presenting the case of women driving in Saudi drew my attention. The article is in Arabic, and it states that the motion they put forward included facts and figures, studies and research, not prose. One of these studies shows that as many as 60% of children in Saudi Arabia are exposed to molestation by household help, mostly drivers. 60%???!!!!!! HOW IS THAT A NUMBER YOU DROP CASUALLY AND MOVE ON??!!!!!

“وأشار إلى أنه في المجال الاجتماعي، فقد كشفت الإحصائيات عن تعرض حوالي 60% من الأطفال في السعودية للتحرش الجنسي من العمالة المنزلية وبالذات من قبل السائقين”

I’m hoping that the reporter writing the article is an idiot and meant to say that 60% of registered molestation cases are by household help, mostly drivers. But either way, that figure IS WAY TOO HIGH! That figure alone should be the catalyst to allowing women to drive!! OUR CHILDREN!!! Our future generations!!!! How was that not the headline of the article??!!

And to make matters worse, they published another article on the 10th, saying that the motion was rejected because it was presented under the topic of transportation and the ministry of transportation when it is completely unrelated. WHAT JERKS! So they are splitting hairs and using red tape to tangle an issue that is a basic human right and to make matters worse, ignored the underlying and connected ramifications to this ongoing ban.

I’m completely bewildered and disheartened….

Why can’t history repeat itself TODAY?

25 Oct

1383904_10153462176175425_363450102_nThere was an announcement today on Sabq.com (who I personally find very biased and has dodgy “sources”) that said that the ministry of interior has warned against women going out to drive tomorrow and that the “muroor” (traffic police) were given orders to crack down on any female drivers. Al Arabiya has also published an article along the same lines, clearly quoting an official saying that Women’s driving is “Banned”.

I’m personally VERY disappointed. After all the silent and not-so-silent support of the official entities of government about this issue, I really had more hope than I ever have before. That maybe in my lifetime… Was it too much to expect an official decree of support??

muna copySo the Question becomes: What will happen tomorrow? What will happen the day after that?? And the day after? They can’t stop us forever.

 

UPDATE

The Washington post has published this article about the driving issue in Saudi. In it they also say that those who have been promoting going out to the streets and driving are legible for arrest under “electronic crimes”.

….

..

wow

What a difference in official opinion can one day make.

I don’t get why they seemed so open to it in the beginning and then suddenly, the night before, switched sides.

Are We Watching History In The Making?

24 Oct

A recent article I read in the Saudi Gazette gave me high hopes that I might actually witness this amazing change in the near future. I had almost given up. Hussein Shobokshi wrote an article titled “Driving Time!” that is both supportive an hopeful of an impending change. I really hope that’s true.

 

On a side note, my cousin (who lives in Riyadh and can be called quite conservative) sent me a joke on whatsapp about the car she’s getting when women can drive. It was a one-seater so no one asks her for a ride. I felt I had to point out that she said “when” and not “if” women drive. Her reply: It’s only a matter of time now. It’s those subtle changes in language that show what a society is really thinking. When “If” becomes “When”. Such a small word and such a huge psychological tell. Are we finally ready for this? Will we get to witness history in the making like when women started schools here??

 

I truly hope so.

BIGGEST.HYPOCRITE.EVER.

20 Oct
The Accused

Yes, I chose one of the most unflattering pictures I could find, but this is also mid-transformation- thanks to plastic surgery.

So it seems that the “woman of the hour” is none other than the Emarati singer Ahlam. Her latest twitter faux-pas has earned her a mention on my blog, which would have never EVER happened otherwise.

Apparently she said some stuff on her twitter account @Ahlam_Alshamsi (I can’t believe I’m advertising for her) about how Saudi women should NOT drive and should “fear God” or something like that, which naturally unleashed an avalanche of sarcasm, anger, and jokes at her expense. Probably some rude remarks as well. I really don’t know what she was thinking, since a simple google image search will reveal that she is anything but conservative by this regions standards. It’s like throwing stones when your own house is not only made of glass, but so is everything inside your house and the target you happened to be throwing glass at is an army tank. She can’t be that stupid. Maybe she’s just bored and want’s to get attention the same way Kuwaiti singer Shams did, only by being contrarian. I think that’s pretty clear. She also comes from the UAE, which does not ban women from driving.

BUT attention she did get (I am writing about her after all), and you can go to her above twitter account or search the special hashtag created in her honor (or dishonor) by Saudis, #أحلام_تعارض_قيادتنا_للسيارة . This joke even made its way to a few news websites, including this link that mercilessly makes fun of her. It’s honestly really funny and got me laughing at the reactions. I guess a lot of people are bored out there. Her latest tweet announces that she (in the “royal” plural form) has decided to give people a chance to apologize to her.

Big.Fat.Chance

One of the meany memes tweeted in response. Love!

One of the meany memes tweeted in response. Love!

Oct26 Campaign is Making International News

16 Oct

That must be good, right??

CNN has posted an article about Eman Al Najfan, one of the most active women calling for the Oct,26th Call to drive.

If you’re interested, click here to view the article.

The only thing I have to add to it is that on that day, Eman’s tweets were very positive. She followed up her “Police are stopping us” tweet with a “We’re all good, the police were very courteous and God bless them”. So it seems that they were treated very well, but still stopped and taken over to the police station till their “guardians” picked them up.

During the past week, several videos have been uploaded of women driving. All are pretty mundane in a sense, because nothing really happens, which is GREAT! Mundane and no action is PERFECT! Let’s hope it stays that way!!

Below are a few of the uploaded videos. The last is even a woman being filmed by her husband!

All these initiatives actually make me hopeful that change is on the way… I guess it’s just a matter of “when” now.