Saudi Arabia: Tribute to Manal Al-Sherif and the Women Who Wish to Drive

My friend Aafke has created one of the most compelling videos bringing the plight of Manal Al-Sherif and for all Saudi women who simply wish to drive to the forefront.

 

 

 

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102 Responses

  1. LOL! Only posted it like 5 minutes ago!
    Everybody, please sign the petition to free Manal!
    many people have already signed; international awareness and protest does work!

    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/free-manal-al-sharif.html

  2. Loved the video! And, I signed the petition!

  3. Saudis, the laughing stocks of the world!!

  4. very compelling and funny.. signed 🙂

  5. A beautiful video, Aafke. Well done! Signed and sealed and delivered :)-

  6. I wonder if the ‘nos’ and ‘unsures’ that voted would care to share their reasonings?

    And I’m sorry, I forgot to say Nice Job Aafke!! But that first song pretty much described a very compelling reason that women should not drive, they could escape! 😉

  7. Beautiful little video again, Aafke!!!

  8. The “nos” and “unsures” have already expressed their opinions. Perhaps some of you were too busy writing your responses to notice.

    This video will do little except entertain the choir and inflame those who are already inflamed.

    By the way, I see a lot of truth in it, and even a laugh or two, but I dislike the bitter sarcasm and condescending tone, especially from one who has never lived in Saudi Arabia. Sorry, Aafke.

  9. Does the opinion of foreigners matter? Specially as westerners are seen as a corrupting influence, I would think a petition signed by many foreigners would have the opposite affect. ie See how all these evil slutty westerners are trying to corrupt our women by encouraging them to drive.

    Aafke, I loved the picture of the women stressed out by driving prostate with streams of stress emanating from her body – too funny. Thanks

  10. ‘The “nos” and “unsures” have already expressed their opinions. Perhaps some of you were too busy writing your responses to notice.’

    They did? On this post? I didn’t see them.

    ‘See how all these evil slutty westerners are trying to corrupt our women by encouraging them to drive’

    Then I guess it is up to the women (and men) who live in Saudi Arabia to make it clear that it is what THEY want. But to not do something just because the evil ‘westerners’ have done it even more ridiculous especially considering that they use electricity, computers and pump oil just like the evil ‘westerners’

  11. Manal has been released just now.

    Annie, Yes, petitions signed by foreigners, and attention from international media have a positive influence. They have rescued people in KSA before and they will again.
    We helped Fouad Al Farhan by raising a huge international response, and the ”girl of Qatif” was released of imprisonment and torture because of international outcry.
    And I am sure that the international media attention and petition have provided Manal al-Sherif with some protection.

  12. No, Lynn, not on this post, of course. Most of us are familiar with each other’s names and have commented back and forth many times on similar posts.

    I thought it would be redundant to repeat what I’ve written elsewhere.

  13. And thanks everybody who signed.

  14. Annie, seems some people do believe that foreigner’s opinions matter. She’s out.

    ‘The Saudi activist, Waleed Aboul Khair, credited al-Sherif’s release on “pressure from inside and outside” Saudi Arabia,’

  15. Oh, Marahm, you were one of the nos or the unsures?

  16. I believe when someone chooses to answer a poll there is no need to either identify themselves or add a comment.

  17. Well, no, of course they don’t. But I AM curious. 😉

  18. @Lynn,

    Now why does that not surprise me! (smile)

  19. LOL I just love to try to understand how and why people think as they do is all.

  20. I voted Unsure. I don’t mind saying so.

  21. well….stay tuned for the upcoming post. I had written it in advance not knowing Manal would be released but I think it will still provide us with plenty to talk about!

  22. Marahm, so you dislike the ”bitter sarcasm” and ”condescending tone”?

    Of course it isarcasm. It’s an art form, and a literary form. It’s called ”satire” and by definition includes sarcasm.

    It’s the friendliest way to voice a protest against the evil treatment of women in Saudi Arabia.
    Of course it is sharp, of course it is witty.
    But what is that compared to the fact that they put a person in jail for the symbolic act of driving a car?
    But you did not talk about that, you did not even think of what Manal was going through did you? But you did manage to get ”hurt” by a bit of sarcasm. That’s sad.

    And where does the ”condescending” come in? I greatly admire Manal Al-Sharif. I think she is in the top of most special super women of today.

    Or do you have a problem that I look down on a bunch of opressing self satisfied smug pugnacious prigs like the muttawas?
    Oh dear!
    Can’t help that I’m afraid.
    Really can’t.

  23. Aafke,

    I can see international pressure getting folks released from prison but what about changing something like women driving in Saudi Arabia?

    Please don’t misunderstand. Of course it is silly that women can not drive (as you so well illustrated) but does such a petition as this make a difference in Saudi Arabia?

  24. Arab men (generally) have treated their own women (and quite often other women) horribly for centuries…the mysogynistic culture is just as alive and well today as it was when the prophet was apparently trying to sort them out…I highly doubt it’s going to change anytime soon…and even less likely due to a cartoon. History has shown that they do not find humor in cartoons. Just saying.

  25. Aafke excellent job. Because we love this blog we must all have a connection of some kind to Saudi Arabia and/or the Middle East. Like Aafke many of us may not have been there but I think it is our obligation as women, who have choices and freedom and EQUALITY in our countries, to support those women in Saudi who are brave enough to make their point of view. Little steps!

  26. Annie, again, such petitions have had influence and saved people from prison and torture, and maybe disappearance in the very recent past.

    Coolred, sorry you don’t have a sense of humor, and are unaware that Arabs themselves make lots of funny cartoons. And if you look around on You-Tube you will find very funny cartoon videos made by Arabs, for Arabs, and they are very popular amongst Arabs.
    Cartoon and sarcasm are a powerful tool everywhere on the planet. Cartoons are not useless.
    The Saudis who subscribed to my channel think so. The Saudis who send me pm’s on my channel think so

    I made this video because I wanted to do something to express my support from women in Saudi Arabia and Manal especially. As an artist this is the best I can do, the only thing I can do.
    I am quite confident that the many hours of hard work I spend on creating this video are well spent.

  27. Loved it! And from someone who DOES live in Saudi.. there is nothing scarier than seeing a child of maybe 7 years old behind the wheel of a Suburban. When I witness this, I cannot help but wonder who is manipulating the pedals because the child is most certainly too small/short to reach them.

  28. The drawing of little fahad driving, with his sister ill, and his mother giving him directions from the backseat, is one of my favorites btw.
    Maybe they have blocks of wood attached to the pedals so his feet can push them a bit.
    But it is just too absurd, to have toddlers driving just because they have a penis, and deny adult licensed women to drive because they don’t have a penis.
    It’s just too ridiculous!

  29. My lack of finding value in your cartoon other than to amuse the few commentors here does not mean I have no sense of humor…and to try and inform me about what the arab world (Saudi) is “like” happens to be very funny and I am laughing over that declaration.

    I find it difficult to equate your cartoon with trying to “help” Saudi women or any women considering the bully like tactics you use on this blog against women who do not toe the Aafke line of “I am right…end of story”.

    I definitely have a sense of humor…or I wouldnt keep coming back to this blog. 🙂

  30. @Coolred -‘I definitely have a sense of humor…or I wouldnt keep coming back to this blog’

    HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!! AMEN Sista!!

  31. Oh, but I can’t find anything wrong with ‘I am right…end of story’ That seems very appropriate to me, well, as long as it’s MY opinion we are talking about. 😉

  32. Lynn… 🙂

  33. Coolred, I do notice that with all your zeal to put down my efforts and commitment, you haven’t wasted a word and probably not a thought on what Manal Al Sherif was actually going through. She will have been treated very badly and she is not off the hook yet.
    So I wonder how many thoughts you spend on her, how many of your hours and resources you have put in to help her.
    I ahve given of my best and many hours, and all you can come up with is a few nasty comments trying to dismiss my work.

    Why do I have to have lived there to know what’s going on? Is the stupidity to go and live in that prison for women suddenly a proof of wisdom?
    I don’t have to have lived on the moon to know it is unsuitable for human life.

    If you do not believe that one voice added to other voices matters, then you do not believe in the basics of social and political change which can come from people forming opinion blocks: i.e. you should not even bother with things like voting.

    The internet is changing the world, because individuals with the power of being able to get their opinions out there, could get support of many voices.

    People like Bakheet will be extinct soon because of mass media. Such bigoted primitive people can only flourish in isolation. The internet is changing all of that.

    You choose not to support people who are suffering. I cannot sit back and do nothing, I support with my art. And I think one voice, one small effort does make a difference.

  34. I choose to use my talents and abilities as an artist to educate others on the oppression of Saudi women.
    And I will continue to do so for as long as they remain oppressed.

  35. Hello, I didn’t read all of the comments yet so sorry if I am repeating what anyone else has said. Of course I voted yes in the poll but it would be interesting to see how many saudi’s are voting and how many are female. Manal has finally been let out of custody. It was last night I think.
    I think the video is funny but we must differentiate between the laws of the land and what people can get away with. With the new Saher system in place a lot of traffic offenders are being fined now and the rate of traffic accidents has been cut dramatically. Also, it should be noted that it is against the law to drive without a valid drivers license and obviously to drive blind. Also, it should be noted that there is no actual law stating women cannot drive. It is a cultural/ closed minded fundamentalist view that insists this is the way it should be.
    What I am saying is don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and clump the whole thing into one bis unsubstantiated mess. The fact that women are not allowed to drive here by anyone is wrong enough to make it a big deal. No need to try and make it bigger with information that is basically wrong.

  36. I firmly support this video and the comments of the poster,

    Regards,
    Rhysz

  37. Aafke…Im sorry but this blog is not my whole life and simply because I havent contributed to THIS post by way of commenting etc does not mean I have not thought about her, done what I can…etc etc etc. Nice that you once again show your “Im right…end of story” attitude.

    Manal is one more in a long line of abused women at the hands of men…of which I am one as well…are you? Any thoughts I might have I’m fairly sure are more close to what she is going through than anything you can conjure up.

    I might add that I did not make nasty comments…I merely commented on YOU being a bully on this blog against anyone that doesnt agree with you. That, my dear, is a fact…if it is a nasty fact than that is a reflection on your bullying tactics…not me in highlighting it.

    “You choose not to support people that are suffering”…? Once again…an assumption Dear Aafke that has no basis what so ever. I did not join the crowd and cheer for cartoon and thus I am not a supporter of people that suffer??? I believe that is quite a leap of logic there. Considering the few rounds we have gone in which you were less than pleasant in regards to me, my life choices, and family….I dare say your little cartoon is hardly likely to bring me back over to your side and forgive and forget.

    I realize others on this blog are keen supporters of Aafkes “wisdom” and “humor” but that is only because she hasn’t found reason yet to turn on them and lash them with her superior…”I am right…end of story”.

    Don’t worry girls…she will get around to you eventually. She always does. 😉

  38. You know I’m sorry but I must admit this video was mediocre at best. I was actually finding myself a bit bored until I saw one lady sprawled on the floor due to a weak heart. Not THAT was funny! But the rest not so funny and not very compelling.

    There is a time and place for satire but somehow I think in this instance the message is lost when it’s done in such a sarcastic way as another commenter posted. I’m sure Aafke meant well but I would have rather seen her make this video with a more serious tone and more facts.

    And please might I add that on free forums we are all entitled to our opinions. There is no need to attack anyone personally; just say you respectfully disagree and move on. I know sometimes it’s not easy to bite your tongue but it gets pretty frustrating reading the same rubbish attacks over and over again. We do not know the workings of one another’s hearts. We do not know one another’s intentions for supporting others or not. We need to stop making assumptions and give people more benefit of the doubt.

    Oh, it’s futile…I don’t know why I bother myself with posting these reminders. Nothing ever changes. This blog is surely going to the dogs. Sorry Bedu, I mean no offense; just expressing my disappointment. 😦

  39. And by the way, I’m happy to hear Manal has been freed and am in favor of women driving but was she in fact held in a ladies prison or a small jail? There is a difference mostly in that you are not automatically sent to a prison without some sort of hearing or trial; and when you do get there your stay is very lengthy. Jails on the other hand can only hold you for a number of days until your hearing or release. Manal stayed a total of how many days…a handful? (I don’t have this info actually.) (*note: I am basing my opinion on what I know from outside of the KSA and am fully aware that I could be wrong here and that things may be handled differently in Saudi.)

    Personally I think the way it is stated “imprisoned” in this video is a bit sensationalist. A few days in a jail is not imprisonment. It’s a bit less severe. I’m sure she was missing her family and perhaps a bit on edge but she knew very well what she was getting herself involved in. So in that regard I don’t feel too much sympathy for her and I feel very sure that it is not sympathy she is after. She had a goal, it failed, she served a few days in jail; end of…well almost. NOW she must deal with the social repercussions of her actions and how this will affect her family. Now that I do sympathize with. : I

  40. Bravo, I think the video is brilliant!!!

    Now regarding the arguments of effectiveness:

    – In a world where globalization of opinion matter due to the influence of the internet., any effort either through blog posts or videos do serve to educate. The more people are educated the more support Saudi women will receive. People with artistic or literally talents should be commended for their efforts.

    – Does it make a difference in Saudi. YES it does. I think many here are under the assumption that the reaction of the government or conservative by lashing against protests is a sign that things are getting worse. The fact is quite the opposite, Saudi Arabia has gone through a more rapid change. Some think this is due to having a reformist King. I am in the camp that thinks reforms are a result of Saudi’s being enlightened about their issues through access to information. Things that the government used to be able to Isolate locally are now common news to everyone with DSL access. This has a cumulative effect.

    – I agree with the point regarding the Muttwaa losing power a little at a time. Not too far in the past they used to get away with everything they desire. Now they have to face public opinion. And it is weakening their grip on society and even starting to allow more moderate Sheikhs from the clerical ranks to voice a supportive opinion of women driving (although put in a politically correct manner)

    – Does Saudi listen to international opinion? YES. Saudi survives on oil revenue. Its customers include Western nations. It also depends on Western military protection. Saudi is also a member of the G20 and it is competing for regional economical dominance with countries like UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait. When it comes to business and international investment, there are camps in the Saudi government who support improvements in the countries reputation. So again YES, highlighting the Human rights issues of the country will get a response form this camp and will strengthen their position on the value of managing issues like women rights.

    Now regarding the video being factual. Of course it is NOT!!!! Any person with a simple understanding of how satire works will get the point of exaggeration (i.e. a blind man cannot drive) This is not a documentary, it is a piece of comedy that includes cartoons. Get the point please!!!!

    Regarding, the argument of that people who have not been to Saudi should not the right to criticize. In a free world everyone has the right to criticize anything they want. You just have to learn how to deal with that fact and present your counter argument. You can argue whether their criticism is valid or not, but it is a cheap method of debating to rest your argument that you have more authority because you lived in country.

    Finally, It seems with all this debate a couple of simple facts are missed here:

    1) The video is a tribute to a hero!!! That alone should be worthy of the effort and us enjoying it.

    2) It is great that people care to do their part to help instead of sitting on the sideline and criticizing others’ efforts.

    Cheers….

  41. : I

  42. “Now regarding the video being factual. Of course it is NOT!!!! Any person with a simple understanding of how satire works will get the point of exaggeration (i.e. a blind man cannot drive) This is not a documentary, it is a piece of comedy that includes cartoons. Get the point please!!!!”

    Oh, we get the point dear; just not everyone liked the video. I don’t like sardines either, so sue me. 😉

    Perhaps it should have been a documentary…with hot topics such as this I much prefer facts over satire.

  43. ‘She had a goal, it failed, she served a few days in jail; end of…well almost.’

    Failed? End of? Seriously?

  44. Every thing is not for everyone. I can appreciate it- especially the art- but I find it a bit depressing which is probably more a reflection of my mood- and more than 2 decades of not driving- than anything else. Many people really like it. There is more than one voice in a chorus! I’m just so happy for all the people singing along.

  45. Well, yes. Essentially she wanted to drive, she drove, she got caught, now she must face the consequences of her actions. So yes, I would say that after her statement her part in this is finished, wouldn’t you? That is not to say the entire movement is finished. I honestly do wish the women well but they need to plan a bit better here. I stated just a moment ago on another thread Manal drove too soon, she didn’t wait for June. So although she may be out herself her fellow Saudi women can carry on with the battle.

    Or not…guess we’ll see in June. 😉

  46. WOW, Rosemary,

    You are a great humanitarian, aren’t you?

    “o in that regard I don’t feel too much sympathy for her and I feel very sure that it is not sympathy she is after. She had a goal, it failed, she served a few days in jail; end of…well almost. NOW she must deal with the social repercussions of her actions and how this will affect her family. Now that I do sympathize with”

    Bravo to you also, you have communicated where you stand very clearly.

    Regarding your comment about my comment. Let me state my position gain “your comments always sound like nails on a chalkboard, they have no value”

    I will debate you when you have something worthy to add. I will let people evaluate you on your words, which are very clear this time.

  47. sorry above addressed to Lynn.

  48. MoQ, you do not rattle me.

    You have no right to evaluate my comments. You have no right to claim what comment has value from anyone. That is a very arrogant statement. This is a free forum and I’m entitled to share my opinion just as you are doing. I am not debating you; I’m posting my opinions, there is a difference. You do not know me personally. You do not know what causes I support. Why must you make things so personal here? It means nothing to me that you show your immaturity here. I feel very sorry for you.

  49. Rosemary,
    When you make statements on a public forum people will evaluate them. And yes, Moq can claim what value he sees in a comment.
    – Moq, I know you can defend yourself, but it’s an open forum and I can jump in if I like!

    Rosemary, your superior sense of how the women should have done this better, and your lack of sympathy is astounding. First you seem to think this sort of issue can be handled with no negative consequences to anyone and that is totally unrealistic. Second, you critisize but offer no viable alternatives. These are women raised in a closed society. Struggling to stand up for themselves as a group for the first time. They’re doing an AMAZING job.

  50. “You have no right to claim what comment has value from anyone. ”

    Yes I have every right to voice my opinion on your comments. That right is guaranteed for me with the the Bill of Rights (give it a read will you). No matter how much whining you do, you will never be able to take such rights away from people. In the same way we cannot stop you from expressing your opinions like the one I highlighted above, no matter how stupid we think they are.

    Cheers!!!

  51. Moq…”Regarding, the argument of that people who have not been to Saudi should not the right to criticize. In a free world everyone has the right to criticize anything they want. You just have to learn how to deal with that fact and present your counter argument. You can argue whether their criticism is valid or not, but it is a cheap method of debating to rest your argument that you have more authority because you lived in country.”

    Nobody is arguing that unless you have been there you have no leg to stand on and critisize it…more along the lines of …I have been there, lived there…experienced it etc and you have only heard about it, read about it etc so why stand there and preach to me (any you, any me) about what it’s “really” like.

    I might add that I didnt actually critisize her little cartoon to the point of calling it irrelevant or ineffectual…more along the lines of…she chooses who she likes…draws cartoons and makes videos of them…expects applause…while conveniently forgetting how she has bullied many others on this blog. I choose not to applaud a cartoon created by a bully. So sue me.

    Now if she makes a video cartoon about herself in the starring role as American Bedu Voice of Authority and resident bully….I might very well be the loudest applauder and even link it to my blog. 😉

    Once again…who says I dont have a sense of humor. *chuckling right now*

  52. @coolred38, Sorry for mistaken your comments as valid critique and a position on the issues, instead of being personal in nature!!!

    Now, back to the topic, do you support Manal Al-Sharif’s and other Saudi women plight? I do want to know your opinion, if you do not mind, as I think it was lost on all the negativity.

  53. Moq…I”m trying to remember when you first made your appearance on this blog…I’m fairly sure you were not this condescending and mean spirited….but I dont blame you…this blog brings that out in people for some reason.

    I have not stated a “position” or attempted to make a critique, “valid” or otherwise on this issue on this blog. I didnt know I was required too but if one must be made to validate my presence here then of course I support Manal and her attempts at turning mysogyny into equality…more power to her and any other Saudi woman that can put fear aside and take her future into her own hands.

    Personally speaking…I know just how deep that life long fear is entrenched …and how hard it can be to overcome.

  54. @ Sandy:

    “Rosemary,
    When you make statements on a public forum people will evaluate them. And yes, Moq can claim what value he sees in a comment.
    – Moq, I know you can defend yourself, but it’s an open forum and I can jump in if I like!
    Rosemary, your superior sense of how the women should have done this better, and your lack of sympathy is astounding. First you seem to think this sort of issue can be handled with no negative consequences to anyone and that is totally unrealistic. Second, you critisize but offer no viable alternatives. These are women raised in a closed society. Struggling to stand up for themselves as a group for the first time. They’re doing an AMAZING job.”

    No, I’m sorry but I respectfully disagree. Moq does not have the right to claim my comments, my opinions have no value. Anyone can say they disagree with me but to say my words have no value that is pure arrogance.

    And what part of “I support the women driving” that I’ve already stated somewhere, did you and MoQ not understand? Yes, I’m sorry, as harsh as this may sound I do not feel sympathy for Manal being arrested. As a mother, if my own daughter was arrested for driving I would say the same. I would feel compassion for their suffering but not necessarily sympathize with the fact that they’ve done it to themselves. It’s called personal accountability.

    I commend Manal for her efforts and wish her and this movement well but she knew exactly what could happen. I never once stated there would be no negative consequences to her actions or to those of other women who may drive. That is absurd and I never once stated that. Please explain why you stated this?

    As I also stated earlier, their idea to drive is wonderful but thus far has been poorly executed. Correct me if I’m wrong but have they not made the same mistakes in the past? I do not claim to have their solution nor would I think to insert myself as a foreigner into their battle. I am only speaking from an outsiders point of view here; I am a women who has lived here in Saudi for 12 years, this issue does resonate with me. Thus far I have only criticised two points here: the first in that their plans should not have been publicized so much (in order to safe guard their goals) and the second in that Manal drove too soon and may have possibly jeopardised the June demonstrations.

    I do not know what else I could possibly add here to make myself more clear. 😉

  55. I disagree with your assessment. But, even if Moq is being arrogant he has the right to do so.

    No this is not what was done in the past. In fact great pains have been taken to do it differently. That you don’t know this after being here 12 years- including during the time of the driving demonstrations is astounding. This coupled with your belief that most women have drivers is not so much an outsiders view but rather the view of someone who has not bothered to educate themselves about a situation before passing judgement.

    You also offer no viable alternative.

  56. @MoQ:

    ““You have no right to claim what comment has value from anyone. ”
    Yes I have every right to voice my opinion on your comments. That right is guaranteed for me with the the Bill of Rights (give it a read will you). No matter how much whining you do, you will never be able to take such rights away from people. In the same way we cannot stop you from expressing your opinions like the one I highlighted above, no matter how stupid we think they are.
    Cheers!!!”

    Your comment here is nonsensical. Please explain to me how sharing my opinion on this blog is an attempt to take your rights away?!

    I have no problem with anyone, anywhere stating that they disagree with my point of views but you have not simply done that have you? You have made this unnecessarily personal stating that my comments and opinions have no value and likening every comment I make to whining. You are implying that only your opinions have value. Can you not see what an arrogant stance you are taking here?

    Over the years I have enjoyed many posts written by you and have actually learned some things by what you have posted but I must admit I do sense a change in the manner in which you deal with people here on this blog. It is not becoming of someone as intelligent as yourself.

    It is ok to disagree with someone but it is never ok to be intentionally spiteful, rude and hurtful even if it is on a free forum; Bill of Rights included. It is a true blessing we have such forums to communicate with others around the world but they can sadly and are often abused.

    Please re-read my previous posts on this thread and another on the same topic. You do not need to agree with me but I would kindly appreciate you not attacking me.

    I believe this is all I have to say to you and do not have anything further to add to the discussion of Bedu’s post at this time.

  57. @Rosemary,
    Actually I’d like to dial it down a bit. I know it was not your intention to work my driving nerve like that. Please do look more into the matter before you are so hasty to judge. I think if you find how difficult it is for so many women to get by with the current situation- and how hard they are trying to effect change in the best way- even read about the incident that pushed Manal over the edge so to speak. I don’t believe she has a driver- she was stuck on a road at night trying to flag a taxi and being harassed. There is far more going on than you seem to be aware of. I used to work with women who had to pay most of their hard earned salaries to taxi drivers. But they still NEEDED (sorry I’m bad at italics) to work. There are women trying to support families etc. It’s not a bunch of women with chaffeurs recklessly driving.

  58. Dear Sandy, this could on for days; but why bother?

    Ok, “many” women here have drivers and those women who do could help others to meet secretly. Why do you continue to press me for a viable alternative? My only objection is that they over publicized! My alternative was more secrecy; you do not need to agree with me here.

    It is a bit arrogant to say I must know the details of this movement from A-Z (because I’ve lived here for 12yrs) before sharing my opinion.

    This topic of women driving in KSA resonates with me because I live here and I’m a woman but I do not follow every single media release regarding past and present success rates or failures. Nor do I know Arabic very well which limits my ability to follow all media here anyway. I can converse ok in Arabic but am unable to read much. I have family demands that prevents me from formally studying somewhere but I do know many Saudi women here. They however are not always discussing this topic and have varying views when they do.

  59. @ Sandy,

    I just caught your above post and I agree things get too hostile here too quickly.

    Yes, I agree not all women have drivers. I was wrong to say they do. My point was just that it could have been organized more secretly and women could help one another in that regard.

    Also, I may not be Saudi myself but I also struggle with the driving issue and I know women here that spend their money on taxi’s, are harassed by them and who have problems with drivers when they do have them. I am as aware as I can be given my limited knowledge of Arabic and given that I myself am not able to move about as freely as I’d like.

    I’ve enjoyed the exchange but really feel there isn’t much left for me to say. Sorry for any hostilities and hope I didn’t miss anymore of your posts. 🙂

  60. “Your comment here is nonsensical. Please explain to me how sharing my opinion on this blog is an attempt to take your rights away?!”

    The answer to your long rant is simply because you started your argument by saying “I have no right” to an opinion of your writing.

    Let me state it again, “I find very little value in what you write here”, just my opinion (i.e 1 person). Learn to live with it or take it as positive criticism and learn to make your points clearly. Long rants and whining does not server the purpose of changing my opinion about what you write 😉

  61. MoQ, something has happened to you. I do not know you personally but you are not as kind on this blog as you once were.

    To make things crystal clear: you started this argument; re-read the posts. You know very well that I meant you have no right to claim my opinion has no value. And I disagree with Sandy when she posted you have a right to be arrogant to others. I’v never heard such a thing! (sorry sandy)

    Obviously you lack any sort of self-control if you cannot leave someone to make their comments without attacking them personally. You can attack the argument but not the person. There are many commenters here that I do not agree with but I do not pursue them and say their opinions have no value. You do not respectfully ask someone to clarify what they’ve posted rather you make assumptions and very negative, snide remarks. Control yourself and skip over my comments if they bother you so much but stop pursuing me if your intention is only to personally attack.

    I am not attempting to convince you of anything. You have shown your maturity level here. It is very sad you have stooped to such levels.

  62. @Sandy, one quick question…I thought Manal was arrested because she drove her children to school; at one point she did have a driver but he quit which is why she took them? I recall reading this somewhere and haven’t heard of the incident you referred to. Can you please give me a link to that?

  63. “MoQ, something has happened to you. I do not know you personally but you are not as kind on this blog as you once were.”

    Actually if you read back, I made a comment with my opinion about a topic. You chose to respond to that with a negative comment about something that was not addressed to you. It is your usual negativity about others.

    You then followed that by arguments about me personally. Including how I am arrogant, that something happened to me, etc. Now look back and you will find that I only address comments. I never talk about you as a person. You can play the victim card, but the fact is you are the one who are attacking people personally.

    Again, when you base your comments on invalid assumptions they have no value. I also think you do a lot of whining. Again, an opinion about your writing, not you personally at least I hope you do not have a whiner personality….

  64. manal was arrested because she drove together with Wajeha Al Huwaider and Wajeha taped it and she put it on Youtube.
    However, she does in that video discuss how awful it is to have a driver and how you will also have to have a nanny because you can’t let the children alone with a driver and hwo she doesn’t want a strange man to live in her house and how she is much safer alone in her own car than roaming the streets at night trying to find somebosy to drive her home after work. Or being in seclusion with a foreign strange man .

    I really for the life of me do not understand why saudi men want their women and children subjected to these kind of circumstances. Which are a hundred times less safe as to just let women who want to drive drive their own cars.
    Insane.
    This is the video she posted. The video was taken off YouTube but others have mirrored it. Translated in English.
    Eman from Saudi woman helped translate it.

  65. I believe the comment I made was about how not every one liked the video:

    ”“Now regarding the video being factual. Of course it is NOT!!!! Any person with a simple understanding of how satire works will get the point of exaggeration (i.e. a blind man cannot drive) This is not a documentary, it is a piece of comedy that includes cartoons. Get the point please!!!!” (MoQ)
    Oh, we get the point dear; just not everyone liked the video. I don’t like sardines either, so sue me.
    Perhaps it should have been a documentary…with hot topics such as this I much prefer facts over satire.(Rose)””

    Your comment was not specifically addressed to anyone. I personally do not understand how you could view what I stated as negative. Perhaps the sardine bit was a bit sarcastic so sorry if that didn’t go down well for you; no offense was meant. I disagreed with you but it was not negative nor an attack on you. It seems that you have developed a low tolerance for people here disagreeing with you.

    I did not bring up your arrogance and your obvious change in attitude on this blog until you relentlessly pursued me in the past and again now starting with the “great humanitarian” bit. Re-read the posts; be honest here.

    I am pointing out facts. You are not dealing with people well here anymore. Surely I am not the only visitor to have noticed this here. You think it is perfectly acceptable to say my opinions have no value and that they do not matter. That is very personal! That is rudely dismissive and akin to misogyny; no different than what the Saudi men are doing to their women here in KSA. How many times have they said their women’s opinions have no value within this society?!

    You are now back tracking and claiming to be critiquing my writing style. I don’t buy it.

    Common sense would tell you that if you are not clear on what someone has written then you ask them to clarify. And if you are truly interested in dialogue with people here than you would have done that with me. You have not. You have only repeatedly made snide, immature remarks.

    Learn to control yourself, stop pursuing my every comment and dismissing it as valueless.

    I accept that you have your opinions and they are valuable to you; you should accept the same of others and learn to keep unproductive remarks to yourself.

    In the future I would appreciate you stop derailing Bedu’s posts by unnecessarily pursuing me. There is nothing for you to gain here; you are only showing your immaturity. If you do not like my comments then skip them. Simple really.

  66. @Aafke, I agree with what you’ve stated. I also do not understand the Saudi man’s mentality. Thanks for posting the video, youtube removed it before I could watch.

  67. @Rosemerry,

    Your ability to twist facts is amazing. In both occasions I spoke to you on this blog, you were the first to initiate them. Your latest comment seems like you have a delusional sense of self to think I am pursuing you.

    You have been on this blog for a very short time, and you seem to accumulate a large number of negative comments. You need to really look at that as a sign that may be, just may be, your approach to others is not the right one.

    You should not expect kindness from others if you are unkind.

  68. Just so we get back to the positive side and away from the endless negativity from Rosemarry.

    I want to reiterate that the video is really a good tribute to a hero “Manal Al Sharif”. Her actions showed sacrifice of self for support of a noble cause.

    I hope others, get back to sharing positive comments of support for her and other Saudi women, who are fighting the darkness created by theocratic rule with roots in a far away dark time.

    @Aafke, thanks for your efforts and talent.

  69. @MoQ:

    Words fail me; you are deflecting. 😦

    I have never directly initiated any sort of dialogue with you. In fact my very first encounter with you was on the debate page. I simply used your quip as an example. I was not addressing you, rather you responded to me, rudely I might add. You have pursued me in the sense that you make it a point to bother me by dismissing my every comment and stating I am whining and/or being negative-which I might add is far from the truth. You cannot simply skip over my comments; no you must follow me and make unproductive remarks. I am sure there are others on this blog who do not agree with my comments but they do not make it a point to attack my every word as you have done.

    I have stated before and I will state it again, I have no problem with you disagreeing with me on a particular issue as I had no problem with Sandy disagreeing with me earlier. But anyone that says someone’s opinions simply has no value is dismissive and rude. I know you see the truth in this yet you refuse to acknowledge it.

    This proves to me that you are not interested in true dialogue with people on this blog.

    You are obviously unwilling to accept what I have said, so be it. But our dialogue is for all to see and I feel perhaps someone else viewing this blog understands what I’m saying to you.

    Simply do not respond to anymore of my comments when I participate on Bedu’s threads if they bother you so much. If you cannot refrain from attacking me then I am not interested in having a dialogue with you. You have forgotten the standard forum rule for any blog or debate: address the argument but do not attack the person. Dismissing someone’s opinion as always valueless is in my opinion a very personal attack. How difficult is that for you to understand?

  70. Moq, thank you, you always know how to cut straight to the real issue. I love your intelligent logical reasonable comments.
    And thank you for trying to bring the topic back to Manal Al Sharif.

  71. Another long comment focusing on negativity.

    Let me explain to you the difference between attacking you and arguing about your comments.

    Here is an attack on you:

    You are an idiot

    Here is arguing about your comment:

    “I do not think your comments are worthy”

    Again here is an attack:

    “You are an evil person when has no sympathy for others plights for freedom”

    Here is arguing about your comment:

    “Your position on this topic shows no consideration for women’s plight against oppression”

    Sorry, I have to be so blunt, but some people only understand by example. Keeping the topic at an abstract level does not get the message across.

    Cheers.

  72. I’d like to request that any further discussions which are not related to the topic of this post be moved to the debate page.

    Thanks for your cooperation! Bedu

  73. Carol,

    I tried to stop the arguing, I even moved on to post a new comment about the topic trying to move things to the positive side.

    I do appreciate you trying to keep people focused as my first comment was on topic. Since then we received the RoseMarry attack.

    She would not let up and I am not going to let her keep writing long comments attacking me without a response.

    Sorry Carol, I am going to tell you my thoughts here and if you decide that it is inappropriate then I will take my comments somewhere else other than this blog.

    Rosemarry has been at this blog for a very short time and her comments are negative against others. You treat it like every argument is mutual fault of all participants. I have been called names on this thread and I refrained from responding in kind. The entire thread could have focused specifically on the video and the issue of women driving without personal attacks.

    In short, if I am attacked on a specific thread I feel responding to such attack on the debate page is not applicable as it loses context,

  74. Can everyone please stop pointing fingers at each other and asking for Mother Bedu to punish the other “obviously wrong” party?!

    I think everyone can agree that we all want what is best for others in the world whether in KSA or USA or elsewhere. We just have different opinions of what this would be, as noticeable from the comments. That doesn’t mean any of us are 100% correct or 100% wrong. It just means we have different viewpoints.

    I imagine that events like women driving in KSA will continue to happen off and on until women are allowed to drive. In fact, I think this helps bring awareness to the fact there is a problem in society. However, that does not mean that there is only one “right” way to affect change. It does not mean that participating in such an event is the right thing for everyone to do.

    And while it would be great for women to drive soon, the future safety of women drivers also has to be considered as I believe has already been previously mentioned.

    But once again, take what I say with a grain of salt. After all, I am just a naive, immature American girl who doesn’t understand the reality of the situation and has “no right to comment on KSA as [I’ve] never lived there”. (Please note sarcasm.) 😛

  75. I also do not feel sorry for Manal. She got exactly what was needed for a good protest to work. I’m sure that she doesn’t want anyone to feel ‘sorry’ for her, but for her cause. I’m sure she would appreciate any support her cause could get.

  76. @Starngeone,

    “And while it would be great for women to drive soon, the future safety of women drivers also has to be considered as I believe has already been previously mentioned.”

    I know you are new to the women driving debate in Saudi Arabia. The idea that women safety as an excuse for not allowing them to drive has been around for roughly 40 years. Surely that is enough time to enact laws to protect women, just like every other gulf country. Actually, the king could just come out and set a time table, say 1 year as to when woman can drive and specifically identify the grace period of a year to enact laws and develop an implementation plan. If that happens then we can say the government is trying to solve it. However, you have not seen such an announcement. It remains an excuse to divert from addressing the issue and the government continues to blame the victims.

    @Lynn, Agreed. I do not think Manal wants people to view her as a victim as she one that took action. However, recognizing hero’s has value in advancing causes…

  77. If there is anyone out there that believes any ‘statement’ that she put out that speaks against the Driving Protest then those people should NOT drive, Saudi Arabia does not need more idiots driving on their streets!

  78. ‘However, recognizing hero’s has value in advancing causes…’

    Absolutely, everyone, everywhere should be talking about her and her bravery to stand up and defy the ridiculous ban.

  79. @Rosemary,
    The woman that drove her kids to school was in Jeddah. She was not caught. There have been several around the kingdom who have posted videos, driven and not been caught.

    @Strangeone,
    “Safety of women” is the excuse they’ve used for decades and they’ve done nothing about it. It’s an old tired excuse to control us. We already are unsafe as passengers and roadside wanderers trying to catch rides in taxis.

  80. Meanwhile the video seems well on it’s way of going viral. :mrgreen:
    More than 2000 views on my site alone, and there are mirrors out there as well. Subs are rising. Websites are posting it, as well as the ”Free Manal facebook page”, where it was posted twice over!

    And I saw a lovely picture today of a free Manal with her little son! 🙂

  81. Why does it sound like everyone is bullying, arguing and complaining like little children here! Come now folks – after reading the comments on this post and many of the others, it is very clear that you are all extremely intelligent people, with some very strong and distinct opinions of your own – and it great reading all these wonderfuly diverse comments and getting to know your points of views. Highly commendable – but a bit of a waste, concidering that you all seem to be losing out from having your opinions taken seriously, by all this bickering and ranting. American Bedu has created and provided an amazingly wonderful forum for everyone to be able to express their most cherished and controversial views – it just seems a shame that the blogs comment section is not being utilized to it’s full potential and advantage.

    So much intellect and such varied and interesting thinking, from so many different people, should be moving the world! Not being wasted in some juvinile verbal kick boxing match of he said – she said.

  82. You all know what real bullying is?
    To try and bully people out of supporting Saudi women.

    How dare anybody here claim Saudi women do not want strong support from outside Saudi Arabia for their causes?

    Why do you think Saudi women are all over the internet in English? Making video’s, Blogs, Sites, Facebook pages and tweets in English?
    If they wanted to keep it ”local” they would only write in Arabic.
    The Saudi women who write in English are asking for help and support from the Global Community. And conscientious people from the global community are giving that support.
    I am an adult woman, I have the right to support whoever I want.
    Now you can oppose my support, oppose the Saudi women, but you cannot argue that we do not have the right to respond to the request of Saudi women to help them. That is our right, that is their right.

    How dare anybody ignore the efforts of the Saudi women and try to bully people into doing nothing!

    The support my video is getting from Arabic people and even the sites supporting Manal is proof enough that you are wrong about your opposition of me supporting Manal and Saudi women driving by making this video.

  83. “You all know what real bullying is?”

    This has got to be hands down the funniest damn thing I have read on this blog in the years I have been coming here. 🙂 Maybe that’s why I continue returning to a blog that has been reduced to singling out individuals and tearing them to pieces when they fail to agree with the concensus.

    Hey…where have I heard of that before? Hounding someone for not accepting the concensus? *thinking thinking* Dont worry..it will come to me..on the tip of my tonge…;)

  84. I am a western women and living in Saudi,the women cant drive simply because the men cant,I never see so much dumm asses in one place,they have no repect for their own traffic laws,let children drive and let their women jump in with every strage taxi driver,I am sorry to say but they will stay 3 world,and will never compete with 1 world coutries

  85. I am waaaaay late to the debate…

    I have to ask myself did Manal NOT think she was going to be arrested? Is it even possible that she did it with the almost certain idea that she would be arrested and perhaps did it FOR THAT REASON to highlight the topic and get the ball really rolling? In all major movements someone(s) has to make the first step, be willing to take it on the chin, get arrested, harrassed, made an example of etc. while trying to break the status quo. I cannot imagine that she didn’t think it a very likely scenario.It was no different in the USA during suffrage. I think she is a brave woman to be willing to risk the countries wrath, family issues, humiliation, jail, and all the unhappy consequences that come with trying to take your power back from people who will fight tooth and nail to keep it from you. I hope she succeeds because there is too much at stake for her to fail…and if she does succeed (or the movement) she will be a hero probably even to those that are against change once they get used to it and realize the world will not fall off it’s axis if women drive in Saudi Arabia.

    As for the arguing… just my two cents…I have been on this blog for a fair amount of time probably more than two years. I do agree that overall, the tone has shifted toward a more aggressive nature and a much “quicker to anger” stance. Personally, I don’t comment as much as I used to because, although I have never been attacked directly except by one person who no longer comments on this blog, it kind of hurts me to watch “friends” (in the blog sense) jump on each other quickly…that includes myself. I found it was easier to lose my civility than on other blogs (don’t know why) and I thought twice about asking questions or disagreeing with someone due to the sometimes overall harsh tone. (I am interested in a debate but not a fight) I still read and actually sometimes miss the blog as I find most everyone makes a pretty interesting point even if I don’t agree with them.

  86. What oby said 🙂

  87. Oby, I am sure Manal would have taken the possibility of arrest into account, However, Wajeha Al Huwaider has done the same and many more and very visible actions to promote women driving and she has not been arrested, as far as I know.
    Remember her video driving her own car on Women’s day?
    Other women have also posted videos of themselves driving in cities, but up till now only Manal was singled out for arrest

  88. I enjoyed your comment Oby!

  89. Look, I feel that I have put in a good effort to support Saudi women driving, and I too am very sorry it turned into personal attack and also turned dismissive of Manal’s plight and Saudi women’s issues.

    There is so much here to be happy and positive about!
    The intent of this video is to support Manal Al Sharif and Saudi women’s efforts.
    And their efforts to get the international media attention they are trying for are doing well. This can only be good!

    The video is doing well too, it’s collected well over 5000 views in less than a week.
    It has been tweeted, mirrored, and featured in blogs, mega blogs too like PZ Meyer’s science blog Pharyngula!
    The video has collected many signatures for Manal’s petition. It is a small effort but it is having effect. If it can only educate 500 people about women’s problems with driving in Saudi Arabia I consider it well worth the effort.
    This makes me happy.

    This thread particularly should be positive, it should celebrate Saudi women’s rights to drive, and Manal’s freedom from unjust imprisonment.

    Do we sit on the side lines and bicker because of personal dislikes? Or can we discuss the real topic here and keep it positive?
    This really is a happy thread!
    The voting on this blog has shown that the majority of readers of American Bedu support women driving so this is positive.
    Actually here on Bedu there is an overwhelming support, (90%!!!), for the Saudi women!
    I think this is something we should all rejoice in!
    Yay!
    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  90. I cant think of a single person on this blog that has been “dismissive of Manal’s plight and Saudi women’s issues”.

  91. Edit: make that over 6000 views on the video!
    Aren’t we all happy now!
    😀

  92. We know from previous issues in Saudi that international pressure through governments, organizations, internet campaigns, etc. were successful into shaming the Saudi government into taking the right actions. I can think of a few as example:

    – The girl of Qatif who without public attention would have been jailed and lashed for being raped. The level of attention was raised to a level where the King had to issue a pardon.
    – The case of the Lebanese man, Ali Hussain Sibat, who was accused of sorcery and given the death penalty.
    – The case of Saudi government changing some of its school books due to the international awareness of the issue of their content.
    – The case of Saudi implementing laws and plans to prevent funding of Jihadists groups..
    – Etc.

    International pressure when increased through awareness does work in shaming the Saudi government into moderating its position.

    People who work to educate others, no matter how small their efforts are, should be commended for taking the time to do so. Small efforts build up to more significant ones as more participate.

    I do agree that this thread turned negative although most commentators support Saudi women driving. It would have been a much positive atmosphere. if commentators spent more effort in supporting the noble goal rather than finding ways to fault others for actually doing something.

    I reiterate my position, BRAVO Aafke, I think you are bringing awareness to this issue in your own creative way and the stats on the video show that you have reached others!!!!

  93. I find it interesting that a Saudi female drives a car and gets arrested, probably beaten or tortured in some fashion, and held for days….meanwhile a leader of a country has his people massacred but when injured is welcomed into Saudi and treated for his injuries. (Saleh) How do they decide these things there and is Saudi the sanctuary for all ME despots now?

  94. @Coolred38,

    Very simple, in the Arabic world they cater to the powerful without regard for being just. Saleh is powerful and has an army, which can kill people by the thousands. Women, Shiiat, foreign workers, etc. are perceived as weak so they are easy to abuse and have their rights taken away.

    It is a sad state of affair, when justice does not count in resolving issues. This is why we should lend our support for oppressed groups in the ME. Yes it might be just a few voices at the start, but they will grow. The internet is changing the game!!!

  95. It also suits the international community to send these guys to Saudi. Who else wants them? Who else can face their population taking them? The US had to take Marcos once he fell. They divvy it up as best they can.

  96. Just to follow-up on the topic of can activism work for women issues, today Saudi Shurra council voted to allow women to vote in the municipal elections. The proposal was passed by a majority of 81 to 37 (according to Al Arabiya) and will be sent to the King for final approval.

    Yes the municipal representation is not the ultimate in democratic rules, but allowing women to vote is a huge symbolic move for women issues. This was achieved through activist campaigns using the internet and petitions.

    In 2008 the shura council reviewed a proposal of a detailed plan of how to allow women driving. That proposal was shelved after the initial discussions. It is plausible that the council may take a second look with all the attention this issue is receiving.

  97. Waw! That is some news!

    (PS the video has now had over 10.000 views) \o/

  98. I would like the link to the article.

    I think it is actually the greatest news for Saudi women since they got to be allowed to go to school!

    Do you think this could also really be a build up to allowing women to drive their own cars?

  99. @Aafke,

    This news is really just out, so I could not find an English source. However, Abdul Hamid Ahmad (Editor and chief of Gulf News) Twitted about the news a couple of hours ago.

    I think this should be followed with a story on their site soon.

  100. But that only says ”recommend”, so that’s not a decision yet.
    And if it were to be proclaimed by the king would that be a step towards giving women some partial freedom and rights as human beings on their own?
    And the right to drive their own cars?

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