Saudi Arabia: Honk if You Support Women Drivers


A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor struck a chord with me simply by its title.  Honk if you support Saudi women drivers.  This is a great opportunity for Saudi entrepreneurs to have some bumper stickers produced in both Arabic and English.  Start showing some visual support in Saudi Arabia if you are in favor of Saudi women gaining the right to drive.   No doubt an enterprising individual can produce such bumper stickers and have individuals sell them at many of Saudi’s busy intersections.  Then again, why stop with Saudi Arabia?


Why should Saudi Arabia remain the ONLY country in the world where women are prohibited from driving?  Let them have the choice on whether or not they may drive.


22 Responses

  1. “Why should Saudi Arabia remain the ONLY country in the world where women are prohibited from driving? Let them have the choice on whether or not they may drive.”

    The (Road) Rally to Support Saudi Women’s Right to Drive
    Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
    601 New Hampshire Ave NW
    Washington, DC
    For Immediate Release

    Ali Alyami (202) 413-0084; (202) 558-5552,
    Hala Ghanem- (202) 244-0951

    Washington, DC (June 6, 2011)- On June 17th at noon, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, and Nonviolence International, will hold a peaceful and orderly rally in front of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington D.C. We encourage those who can make it to participate in this important event. Women are invited to bring their cars—especially convertibles—and drive them around the Embassy in solidarity with Saudi women.

    June 17 was designated by some Saudi women’s rights activists to drive their cars en masse in different parts of Saudi Arabia. Even though one of the campaign’s most visible original organizers, Manal al Sharif, was arrested and incarcerated for nine days by the Saudi authorities before being released on May 31st and swearing not to participate, other activists are still planning on driving their cars.

    This rally is designed to show our support for Saudi women’s rights, both to drive and to gain their full equality in Saudi society. The United States has decades of economic and strategic relations with the Saudi autocratic monarchs; therefore, US citizens have moral and political obligations to show our disapproval of the Saudi regime’s violations of women’s basic human rights.

    The arrest of Ms. Al Sharif for driving, videotaping the act and posting it on youtube( brought global attention to one of the longest, ongoing struggles in the Middle East: the fight for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Denying women this right and its implications for and impact on Saudi women and society, is one of the most contested issues in Saudi Arabia. As activist Manal al Sharif correctly pointed out that if a husband or child gets injured and needs emergency attention, a woman would have to wait for a man to drive them to the hospital, rather than getting behind the wheel herself and saving her loved ones’ lives.

    Dr. Ali Alyami, director of CDHR said, “Given the US strategic and economic close ties with and support for the Saudi autocratic monarchy, it’s our civic duty to support the women of Saudi Arabia who have been struggling for 21 years for their right to drive.” Another organizer, Hala Ghanem said, “by supporting Saudi women we can make a difference in the lives of these people and send a message to the US and Saudi governments that we do not support women’s oppression.”

    Further information can be found at the facebook event page listed below.!/event.php?eid=157294334338531*

  2. Do Saudis use bumper stickers much?

  3. @Lynn,

    Some stickers exist in Saudi, but always mild ones. Example flags, sports team stickers and the like. This particular one was used on CPVPV SUV’s. That is until someone let them know of the meaning.

  4. You lie MoQ! LOL

    But I suspected that they wouldn’t have as many bumper stickers as we have here. You can know everything there is to know about some people by their bumper stickers. I wouldn’t think that Saudis would be like that.

  5. “Honk if you support Saudi women drivers”

    I think that is brilliant. If you implement that in Saudi you get 100% participation, since Saudi drivers honk their horns constantly.

  6. i was going to say…how would you be able to tell the difference on why they were honking because standing on the horn is a time honored tradition in Bahrain and Saudi…not sure about the rest of the middle east.

  7. The US should not make any effort to get Saudi women the freedom to drive. The US should get out of the ‘freedom’ business. We have done so badly with it. We did have some power in Europe after WWII, after all we did help set the borders but we let the Soviets install puppet regimes in their neighbors. It took 44 years for the Soviet regime to collapse and that allowed the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe to end. Could we have stopped the creation of puppet governments if we acted in the begging? Probably, we could, when we did act against Stalin immediately as we did in the Berlin blockade, he backed down. The US chose to ignore the success of those relatively cheap actions and let the Russians impose their tyranny for a generation.

    We need to stop talking about freedom for others if we don’t have the resources and don’t have any idea of how to do it.

    Saudi women should be able to drive but US efforts will be futile.

  8. Coolred, honking was definitely something that took my attention in Damascus since I don’t hear it much where I live!

    Best wishes to the Saudi women who would like to drive!

  9. Most of the Arab people look up to the US for support in their struggle for liberation from the yoke of tyranny. If the US, as erroneously suggested above, is incapable of supporting Saudi women to drive, it should not ensure the Saudi regime’s safety, armed and train its oppressive and ferocious secret police and protect the ruling family from domestic and foreign threats. This is an argument one hears from most Saudis and frankly, they have a point.

  10. @Ali Alyami

    I assume your post was in response to my comments. I would certainly agree that the US has no business supporting the Saudi ruling family. As far as my suggestions be erroneous, tell me what good the US efforts in the middle east have done? If we could do something successfully, perhaps we should, but the US track record is terrible.


    Honk if you support the Saudi Women’s Driving Initiative. Send your videos to subscribe to the channel

  12. @Ali – make sure everyone also honks at the State Dept to Hillary when making the block!

    A bit of trivia for anyone who did know, the Saudi embassy is the closest embassy to the White House.

  13. Here’s a cute video:

    On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 9:15 PM, Carol Fleming wrote:

    > @Ali – make sure everyone also honks at the State Dept to Hillary when > making the block! > > A bit of trivia for anyone who did know, the Saudi embassy is the closest > embassy to the White House. >

  14. I would say anyone, anywhere that has the freedom to speak out against oppression should do so. I do however somewhat agree with Jerry in that perhaps not a lot will come from the US/Washington rally but I suppose time will only tell what positive or negative effects it may bring.

    I do believe that the Saudis must speak and fight for themselves and not be too dependent on outside influences but in this it is obvious they are doing the best they can. (I am not stating they are currently dependent, only that they should be cautious of becoming so.)

    I am thinking again about the publication of various Saudi people’s plights on public media such as Facebook, etc. and am still convinced that they utilize it prudently in that they do not announce every single endeavor they have using these tools. I say this because the Saudi government has the ability to shut down the Internet system in their country should they feel the people are using it as a way to boycott their government. If it is the government’s goal to stifle dissent on a particular issue, I do not doubt they would choose to shut down the Internet or at the very least block the pages/services most utilized by the dissenters. There should be some sort of element of secrecy or surprise to their planned, staged uprisings so as not to give the government a way to always monitor them. I do not claim to have their solutions but I am just looking at this based on the recent events of the Libyan rebellion and how their government shut down their Internet services for a time. (Note: I believe it was Libya but I could be mistaken.)

  15. FYI, last week a woman in Jeddah was arrested for driving. Yesterday 6 women in Riyadh. All were released.

  16. One of the Saudi/Wahhabi theocratic and autocratic establishment’s sustaining powers is its relentless war against Saudi women. They believe and act as of women were created to cheat, lie, mislead, lure and are incapable of contributing anything other satisfy men’s sexual urges.

    This is evidenced by denying women their basic human, divine and natural right to work, drive, mingle with men or travel. by themselves There is no country where women existence is considered a curse than Saudi Arabia. None of this is accidental. As I have explained in earlier dispatches, marginalizing Saudi women has nothing to do with religion or tradition as the Saudi ruling men and their apologists (some of whom participate in this blog) claim.

  17. ali alyami: “…. marginalizing Saudi women has nothing to do with religion or tradition as the Saudi ruling men and their apologists (some of whom participate in this blog) claim”.

    However these saudi clerics, who owe their allegiance to the king, issue fatwas directed at “marginalizing” saudi women based on their own bigoted interpretation of koran and hadith. Then there are multiple koranic verses and hadith that these corrupt and bigoted sheiks use to justify the “obligation to obey the rulers”, to further marginalize the entire saudi populace. The same is true in other muslim countries where these “so-called” scholars have been bought off by the rulers.

    4.59: O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.

    Foundations of The Sunnah pg 139: Attacking the honor of Rulers and occupying oneself with reviling them & mentioning their shortcomings is a very big mistake & a repugnant sin. The purified revelation has forbidden it & has censured the one who does so.

    Read the rest of the article by clicking on the following link:

  18. @Harry Guggen

    You are absolutely correct on (in) all fronts.

    The clerics are government employees and do only what the royals want them to do. This is evidenced by the fact that the interpretation of Islamic teachings in Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim countries too, is only applicable to the ruled not the rulers.

    Religions are not kind to women and that’s why CDHR promotes separation between mosque and public governance.

  19. @Ali
    Some of the mysogynistic behaviour in Saudi is of course part of the local patriarchal/tribal tradition. More traditional in some regions than others- but definately part of the tradition. And Islam has been the vehicle used to transmit these behaviors and values to the population.

    I don’t think the clerics so much “owe” their allegiance to the King. From the onset it has been a power-sharing deal. Legitimacy to rule- legitimacy to interpret the faith. I don’t get the sense that they any longer necessarily like each other- but rather they need each other to keep in power. Because of the influence of Wahabi education, the current King is actually far more liberal than many in his population. The population is unfortunately quite polarized. Also unfortunate is his lack of drive to push forward with more reform. The Arab Spring has led to an entrenchment of the status quo- for the most part.

  20. @Sandy

    I disagree, but replying to this comment requires a volume or two. Ali

  21. @Sandy,

    “More traditional in some regions than others- but definately part of the tradition.”

    I agree that some of the behavior is part of the tradition. However, don’t you think that the Wahabbi social engineering experiment in Saudi took that to the lowest denominator. i.e. parts of the country which were already more liberal in male female relationship actually got worse with Wahhabbi dominance of social/religious rule and education. Further, wouldn’t those parts of the country have progressed on this issue, if left alone without this undo influence.

  22. @MoQ,
    I absolutely agree. And sadly it will take awhile to undo. Because many people now believe this stuff and they still have hold on primary education. To be clear though- I think it is the lowest denominator of the culture- I don’t think religion has much to do with it except as the vehicle of transmission, and the way to herd the sheep. (DISCLAIMER: I am in no way indicating that Saudi’s are more or less prone to sheep-like behavior than any other people. Every population has it’s sheeple- and using religion is a time honoured way of herding them)

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