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Saudi women driving: I’m caring less and less 22, June 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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4 comments

I get regular emails sent to my Gulfblog.com account from various sources. One of them, curiously, is AIPAC with its own  unique brand of selective vision. More recently I keep getting press releases regarding Hilary Clinton and the current issue of women in Saudi driving.

While technically and wholly rationally I think that women driving in Saudi is probably important as another baby-step in the direction of reform, more generally, I am simply caring less and less about the issue. Not because I think that it is not an important issues, not because I think women should not be able to drive and not because I am some kind of misogynistic prat, but because it is so clearly pathetically unimportant right at this very minute. Of course I am referring to the execution of the Indonesian maid recently who, from what I can see, had no due process of any meaningful description, no consular assistance and was being abused by her employer.

So in this light I just can’t get ‘enthusiastic’ about reform for women driving. Moreover, I think it is really rather awful for the driving issue to have grabbed the world’s attention as ‘an issue’ when such acts of barbarity continue in Saudi. Clearly, a maid having her head cut off is not newsworthy enough and once again Saudi rights trump those of the lowly maid.

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Women driving: reform in KSA? Long, long way to go 19, June 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
Tags: , , , , , ,
2 comments

My overriding reaction to these stories of women in Saudi Arabia driving is, well, somewhat dismissive. Yes, I understand that changes can only come incrementally and I realise that this could be a highly symbolic moment.

But, to bring the discussion back to earth with something that, well, matters I note that on Saturday an Indonesian woman in the Kingdom was beheaded for murdering a Saudi woman. Of course, she was a maid. I know basically nothing more about this crime and I’ll keep my own thoughts and prejudices to myself about this incident. But in this light, does it remotely matter if a few women go driving?

I’m wrestling with my own pessimism here, I suppose. Logically evaluating the trajectory of these things and recognising that, as I note, things take time, I suppose that I realise that Saudi just has its own pace. Still, probably wrongly, I just can’t get past their sporadic acts of utter brutality and unfairness and so simply couldn’t give a hoot about some Saudi women driving around.

Update

I’ve just come across another word or two surrounding this executed maid. It seems that she was not allowed or offered consular assistance by the Saudi authorities. In a capital case. Revolting.

The same article notes that in a separate case, the Saudi appeals court overturned  a three year sentence for a Saudi woman accused of torturing her Indonesian maid who was admitted to hospital with broken bones and burns to her head and face.

What can one say to this? It’s all just beyond despicable.