Monday, May 23, 2011

How Dare She?!

You are never going to believe this. A woman in Saudi Arabia had the AUDACITY to get behind the wheel of a car. The nerve of her! Who does she think she is, wanting to drive herself. Good grief, what IS the world coming to, I ask you?!

Ahem. I wish I could tell you that this is just some "Onion" type parody, but it is, in fact, true. Yes, Manal Al-Sherif, was detained by the religious police because she got into the driver's seat:
Authorities detained a Saudi woman on Saturday after she launched a campaign against the driving ban for women in the ultraconservative kingdom and posted a video of herself behind the wheel on Facebook and YouTube to encourage others to copy her.

Manal al-Sharif and a group of other women started a Facebook page called "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself," which urges authorities to lift the driving ban. She went on a test drive in the eastern city of Khobar and later posted a video of the experience.

"This is a volunteer campaign to help the girls of this country" learn to drive, al-Sherif says in the video. "At least for times of emergency, God forbid. What if whoever is driving them gets a heart attack?"

Human rights activist Walid Abou el-Kheir said al-Sherif was detained by the country's religious police, who are charged with ensuring the kingdom's rigid interpretation of Islamic teachings are observed. [snip]

Al-Sherif has a point - at the very least, women should know the basics of driving a car for emergencies, but also because, well, it's assholic for them to be barred from something so many of us take completely for granted. Especially since the only reason they are barred from driving is their gender.

But wait - there is more:
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women - both Saudi and foreign - from driving (emphasis mine). The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.

Women are also barred from voting, except for chamber of commerce elections in two cities in recent years, and no woman can sit on the kingdom's Cabinet. Women also cannot travel without permission from a male guardian and shouldn't mingle with males who are not their husbands or brothers.


Dressed in a headscarf and the all-encompassing black abaya all women must wear in public, al-Sharif said not all Saudi women are "queens" who can afford to hire a driver. She extolled the virtues of driving for women, saying it can save lives, and time, as well as a woman's dignity. Al-Sharif said she learned how to drive at the age of 30 in New Hampshire.


"We want to live as complete citizens, without the humiliation that we are subjected to every day because we are tied to a driver," the Facebook message reads. "We are not here to break the law or demonstrate or challenge the authorities, we are here to claim one of our simplest rights." (Click here to read the rest.)

Well, golly gee - that's just a little demanding, isn't it? Wanting to live as "complete citizens" in their own country? Pushy, pushy, pushy...

All snark aside, isn't it just remarkable that in the 21st century, one of our allies treats women as subhuman based on religious practices? We engage with Saudi Arabia on a regular basis (they have oil, you know). Hell, our president bowed down to their king (!) as if he was one of his subjects. (There is more we are doing for them, too, about which you likely have not heard about in terms of the US crafting a "private security force." My friend, Diamond Tiger, has the story at her blog, Logistics Monster. Check it out.)

And yet, women there do not have the most basic of rights, ones we take for granted every single day. How would we fare if women in this country had to have a driver, or take a taxi, to work, to school to pick up the kids, to go grocery shopping, to do ANYTHING?? Never mind should an emergency arise. I reckon the women in Saudi Arabia are just SOL.

But, hey, they are our allies, religious police notwithstanding. Heaven forfend we expect better from them in their treatment of half the population. Don't want to upset them, after all. That would be politically and culturally insensitive of us. I mean, we're just talking about women, right? Right?

I don't know if the action al-Sharif and the other women there will be successful or not, but I sure hope so. I wouldn't expect a whole lotta help from the US on this - it isn't like we have been adamant that women have more rights there anyway. Oh, we acknowledge there are problems, but when our president bows to their king, I just wouldn't hold my breath if I was them. Would you?


Mary Ellen said...

Welcome to what is to come in this country if we don't get rid of Obama and his "Progressive" Democrats. yeah...progressing all the way back to the stone ages.

Just recently I heard of some Progressive journalist (I can't remember who it was) who said that senior citizens should have their votes only count as half. That's right...the seniors who had husbands and sons die for the right for us to vote should not have a vote that counts as much or at all because "they are too old to know better".

Fact is, most seniors know much more than anyone thinks and yes,a majority of them vote Republican.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

You have got to be kidding me, Mary Ellen - someone really SAID that?? WTH is wrong with these people? Not for nothing, but it is the YOUNG people whose decision-making part of the brain isn't even set until they are in their mid-twenties. Yet, their vote is pandered to all the time, and they are held up as some kind of beacons for truth. We have it bass-ackwards, that's for sure. Good grief.

And you said it - well, actually, you and I both were saying it from the get-go that Obama was going to be TERRIBLE for women in this country, setting us back decades with his sexism. And for women in the Middle East, given his support for groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.

All those liberal women who supported him will likely not admit it, or they will say something like, "but the Republicans are SO much worse..." Really? Are they supporting the Muslim Brotherhood or bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia? Don't think so...

Mary Ellen said...

I looked up who said that about the voting. Ezra Klein, of course.

Washington Post

"America should implement weighted voting to make voting more objective and fair, and give the young more power, because the consequences of political decisions will affect them the longest. Weighted voting would restore power to twenty and thirty year olds, where it resided before the advent of medical science. With the aid of computers, it would be easy to give everyone a Voting Score, just like we all have a credit score."

Of course, it's the typical leftist disrespect for seniors. It's those seniors who had loved ones who died fighting for the freedom to vote and live free that Ezra Klein and the rest of those ignorant slugs are enjoying right now. I can't tell you how pissed off I was when I read that!

Stray Yellar Dawg? said...

No surprise there about Ezra. I imagine he thinks that, you know... anyone younger than him should also be counted as half. And anyone not his gender.

Heck... he'd probably go even further and argue that anyone not his sexual orientation should be reduced in voting status as well.

Next step will be eugenics.

The professional Left has entered upon a very dangerous form of reasoning. I can scarcely believe the sh** they say anymore.

Stray Yellar Dawg? said...

"We want to live as complete citizens, without the humiliation that we are subjected to every day because we are tied to a driver,"

Complete citizens?? How dare she...

She's not even Ezra Klein!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks, ME - I shoulda known - that makes sense that it was Klein. What a joke he is.

And you are SO right abt seniors and all of the sacrifices they have made,then to have a maroon like Klein suggest they are less WORTHY than people, say, like HIM, as SYD pointed out so well. Of course, he thinks people like HIM should decide who gets to vote, as opposed to, I dunno, the CONSTITUTION. The thing is, if anyone told HIM they didn't think people like HIM should have a full vote, he would be going ballistic.

Dang this hypocrisy just makes me ill.

And what did I say abt young people?? Of COURSE he wants to give THEM more power, even though they don't have anywhere near the experience, or made anywhere near the sacrifices, but THEY should get more power? That is just stupid. That's right, I said it - it is just stupid.

LOL, SYD, abt al-Sharif thinking she is as worthy as someone like Klein. Good one! (And yeah, can you believe what the women there have to do? Holy cow...)

Thanks for the great comments, y'all!