Bamiyan Panorama

Bamiyan Panorama

Friday, June 17, 2011

Culturally senstivive, male approved, driving protest by Saudi women!

This article points out something that I don't normally see in mainstream media - cultural sensitivity.  These women just want to be able to drive themselves to where they want to go, right?  And they live in one of the strictest countries in the world.  So instead of going out driving in one big group like they tried to do in the 90's, they are encouraged to go out individually.  They are going to be wearing head coverings or veils (very important, proper, and respectable in that culture).  They are going to fly the Saudi flag and post photos of the King, which is not a sign of protest but of love for King and country.  Lastly they are going to try to get approval from male relatives before driving, which in that country is a 'validation' or 'approval' status.    I think the driving protest of the 90's didn't work because they did a Western style protest.  Just my opinion.... let's see what happens, shall we?  In my time zone, it is about 6:30 pm in Saudi Arabia so I guess the news will be giving us updates soon.  The article is below.

Saudi women plan Friday protests against driving laws

Another long-running Middle East political conflict is about to break out into the open, with unpredictable consequences. The protesters who will be taking to the street this time, though, will be in the driving seat, and wearing veils.

Saudi women plan Friday protests against driving laws
King Abdullah has promised more rights to women and said lifting the ban is 'a matter of time' Photo: AFP/GETTY
Saudi women campaigning for an end to laws banning them from driving have designated on Friday as their own day of direct action.
An online campaign, Women2Drive, urges those with international driving licences – so that they cannot be arrested purely on the grounds of being unqualified – to test the law.
They are being asked to do so individually, in contrast to the last incident of mass disobedience over the issue, in 1990, when 47 women who drove in convoy around the capital, Riyadh, in a show of strength.
They were quickly arrested, and many were ostracised and fired from their jobs.
That incident was seen as part of a social upheaval resulting from the arrival of thousands of western servicemen, and women, as part of the military force sent by the United States and others to retake Kuwait from Iraq. The US military insisted on the right of servicewomen with driving roles to keep their jobs. 

This time, protesters believe they have a greater chance of success. King Abdullah has promised more rights to women and said lifting the ban is "a matter of time", while even leading clerics have come out in support.
Earlier this month the king finally gave in to another long-running campaign – to force women's lingerie shops to recruit women shop assistants.
Among the campaign's supporters is Sheikh Ahmad Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Baz, whose late father was the Grand Mufti who first issued a fatwa, or decree, against women driving. "Fatwas may change with the changing times," he said in an interview.
On the other hand, conservative clerics have made a broad series of claims against the campaign, ranging from the mild to the extreme, with some claiming that it is part of a Shia plot to split the kingdom from its Sunni rulers and others saying it is a conspiracy "backed by secularists, the West and Jews".
One, Sheikh Ghazi al-Shamari, called for a woman who posted a video of herself driving on YouTube last month to be lashed in a women-only shopping mall.
In contrast to previous "days of rage" across the region, women are being asked to break the law as politely as possible, by flying the Saudi flag, posting pictures of the king in the windows – and seeking approval from male relatives.

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