Friday, January 25, 2008

Guess What!

It's now legal for women to drive cars in Saudi Arabia!! After an 18 year ban, women may finally, legally, get behind the wheel without fear of imprisonment or losing their job. Now, how about some other rights for women and girls in Saudi? Like the right not to be gang-raped and subsequently sentenced to a vicious beating and imprisonment?

And, yes, I know that the "Qatif Girl" was pardoned. I also know that she broke the law and probably understood the consequences. I UNDERSTAND that there are people out there who will tell me that there are cultural issues and differences that I ought to consider. And my answer to those people is an unequivocal NO. I will no longer be tolerating the abuse of women and children simply because it can be explained or excused by men as cultural or religious practise.

How can anyone can argue in favour of disenfranchised women, or the enforced wearing of abaya: full body covering that women must wear after they begin to menstruate? How can anyone accept that women's testimony in court is unequal to her male counterpart? Just like Female Genital Mutilation these are obvious human rights abuses. Cultural codes and norms be buggered. I'm sick of it. Getting behind the wheel of a car is a dramatic, empowering act; I hope it is the very beginning of successful protest and liberation for Saudi women.