Photo credit to Nouf Abdullah
On the 27th of September 2017, females in Saudi Arabia were finally given their simple right to sit behind the wheel, destroying the longstanding policy that became a symbol of oppression in this kingdom.
It’s saddening when Saudi Arabia has been around for more than seventy years in which a various series of events occurred yet still, women just earned the right to drive.
This royal ruling should take place on the 18th of June; in the mean time I have a few things to talk about.
Personally I saw outstanding courage in the women driving, in protest, against the misogynistic narrow-minded rules, in small towns driving big cars with more skill than a man who’s been familiar with driving for a long, long time.
Funny thing is that it wasn’t legalized because they saw justice or decided it was for the better, but for the soiled reason that it was starting to damage the Kingdom’s international reputation and the fact that this would boost the failing economy of the Kingdom.
Why? Why withhold this decision for so long when women around the globe have a right to and access to many things — not everything — but a sure difference from our Middle Eastern community.
In my opinion our male leaders love the control they have over us, pleasing their ancient mindset that this kingdom shall be run by men who are — of course — wiser than women, though we were never given the chance to speak up about this matter, or to let our words and actions make a difference, or to prove ourselves responsible of our own rights.
That is, until the 6th of November 1990, 47 unforgettable remarkable women staged a protest against this discriminating policy that prevents females from driving. Keep in mind it’s the 90’s and they were the only country to violate this basic human right. As a display of protest against this injustice the women drove around the Kingdom’s capital city, Riyadh. These women took matters and steering wheels into their own hands accompanied by supportive husbands and brothers. Their actions had been planned carefully and not used to riot against religious views. They were mothers, wearing their Abaya and Hijab and nothing about the protest was anti-Islam.
So a protest in the 90’s supported by men, Saudi’s favorite creature, still didn’t do it; instead what was a Kingdom’s precious reputation. What does that tell you about a country that runs on brainwashing politics? It tells you about the enslaved women and immigrant workers, how trapped females are, and the control and power men have over us.
It’s displeasing how insightful the outside world can be about this topic and how little one can talk about it without facing trouble too, but us Saudi females have suffered way too much to just continue to be silenced.
By Robin, a Saudi queer.