Saudi Arabia: She is a Hero

Within the last week an American Bedu reader expressed an interest to hear about a Saudi hero.  There is no doubt in my mind that HRH Princess Basma meets the criteria of a hero and champion for Saudi people.

Many Royals and influential individuals may not agree with the Saudi system but few will actually speak up publicly about it.  Princess Basma is not one of those individuals.  She does speak her mind in spite that she can put her standing at risk.

Princess Basma is using her vast and varied experiences to make a difference.  She acknowledges the need for reforms in Saudi Arabia and particularly where women and education are concerned.

I encourage American Bedu readers to show their support  to Princess Basma through comments.

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26 Responses

  1. She sounds like a most admirable woman.

  2. I applaud any woman who speaks out in Saudi. Here is an article on another woman that if true I also think she is a hero in her own right or a mentor to other women. Maybe a woman like this can help form an organization to assist women in opening and operating businesses. She would at least have the understanding of the Saudi government and her know how to assist them.

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-08/-desert-rose-bank-founder-says-saudi-women-should-work-harder.html

  3. I don’t know if I would use the word hero, after all she is not being threatened and has the resources to protect herself. Still I think she is right on the money.

  4. “I owe my uncles everything and what I owe them most is to tell them the truth. My mistake, my ruin is going to be insisting on telling the truth even if they don’t like it. Because I think they need to hear it, especially from one of their loyal, royal own.” … She’s so brave to speak out specially in KSA. Keep Going Princess!

  5. I agree with Jerry, she may have a few good positions, but I am missing where the hero part comes in.

    Seeing her give up the wealth she gained from being a royal will be a good start on the road to earn that title.

  6. @MoQ

    I don’t know if giving up wealth is going to help the situation. She is at least voicing her opinion. She still has herself and children to care for so the best thing to do is position yourself well before the hand that feeds you cuts you off. I think that is what she is doing in UK. I could be wrong. Let’s face it people need money to survive and often times you do what you can to expose the situation without harming yourself or creating an unworkable hardship. Apparently the environment is getting far more repressive recently even for a Princess. As it sounds as though she left due to this reason and maybe she is seeing the writing on the wall that more oppression is heading Saudi’s way. Again, I could be wrong on that but the recent trends seem to allude to that prospect.

  7. @bigstick1,

    I do not think anything she does helps the situation.

    The point is before I give someone the title of hero the minimum that person can do is give up wealth which is gained unjustly. Morals are a big thing for that title in my opinion.

    Regarding her positions, I do think they are good ones at the surface.

  8. @ MoQ:

    You are probably right that what she is doing particular outside of Saudi isn’t going to help the situation within Saudi. She can however, educate and give back in ways that are meaningful and education on this situation to those who are interested. Enlightening others on the situation is still doing something. So let me ask, she gives up her money then what? What does that get her and her family. How does it help in her ability to give back to another community. If she opens up restaurants in the UK at least she would be providing jobs as well as giving back to the community. Opening up a small business is a wonderful means to give back and while still helping yourself.

    To what end does her giving up wealth assist in becoming a hero? She was born into a situation whereby she could never obtain employment, never achieve anymore than what her father, brother, husband, or son would allow. She was born into this environment whereby she may have been even restricted to the access of much of her money. Quite frankly, the article is very limiting on her financial situation. She might have only enough to get a nice home in UK and start a business for all we know. Unless, I missed something.

  9. So are so clueless. You have no idea what the woman is risking. Isn’t time go to feed your pigs?

  10. @bigstick1,

    You know one of the reasons I do not like to debate anything with you is you do not take any positions. You just seem to argue endlessly for the sport of it.

    Let me give you my position specifically “I do not see anything she is doing as heroic”. What she does is beneficial at best.

    Now what will make a person a hero in my book is they have to exhibit at least one of the following:

    – Extraordinary achievement in helping others. Writing a blog and giving a couple of interviews just does not come close to extraordinary.
    – Extraordinary sacrifice: Moving to a cushy home in the suburbs of London does not qualify as sacrifice. Keeping the title of royal princess and the wealth associated with being of a royal family which gives its members generous monthly salaries from the wealth of the country for doing nothing is not a sacrifice. It is actual hypocritical, since she says she is concerned about the poor. Giving those privileges for a cause can be heroic if it achieves a goal. I consider princes and princesses taking monthly salaries for no work as thievery.

    Now does she have good thoughts about certain topics, I say yes. but it does not go beyond that.

    Now you have 3 choices: 1) Punt, 2) Agree with my position or 3) have a clear apposing position (i.e. say she is a hero and define how you arrived at that)

    This aimless back and forth is beginning to bore me 😉

  11. @Gwendolyn,

    “You have no idea what the woman is risking. Isn’t time go to feed your pigs?”

    I will as soon as you pick something from the menu.

  12. Your entitled to your opinion I’ll pass. So have
    a good night.

  13. Option 1..

    Good night!!

  14. I enjoyed the Business Week article about the “Desert Rose.” Nice link.

    I encourage readers to make their own lists of Saudi women whom they respect and perhaps consider a hero.

  15. I think this sounds like she is pretty cool and has her principles at the right place. However, I do not think she is a hero. That a bit too big of a word for somebody who will always follow the status quo, as per her own words:
    *I am still an obedient citizen and I will always be behind the royal family.*

    I think a lady like Wajeha Al Huwaider is far far more courageous, and does far, far more for Saudi women.

    The three guys who made the video on poverty in Saudi Arabia and who are, as far as I know, still in jail for doing so are an example of real heroes.

    A lady who is, as the article stated, ”in the highest echelons of Saudi royalty” will be very, very, very well off, and ”losing it all” cannot be so very devastating, as she will have, like all Saudi women, put together a comfortable little nest egg in the bank.
    As a Saudi princess in the highest echelons she will be entitled to a very large share of the loot.
    More than enough for herself, her children and grandchildren. Besides, the children themselves will also be eligible for a large share of the loot.
    I read somewhere that the very lowest ranked members of the Royal Family have to get by with a minimum of $800.000,- per year, but she and her family should be raking in a lot more than that.

    So I cannot in any way see that as hardship.

  16. Video may allow you to recognise the princess better than just picture, so I brought this clip show some of the princess activities in Egypt.

  17. I think that reforms and change in Saudi need someone from the top (Royal) level to speak out. That person needs to have influence and wasta. Even in spite of either influence or wasta there are still risks in speaking out. I appreciate the Princess is taking such a risk.

    I heard (through the grapevine) that the Saudi guys who made the video on poverty were released.

    I think I place Reem Asaad ahead of Wadeja for Reem’s initiative resulted in so many new jobs for women!

  18. I generally think the work “hero” gets overused, but certainly she is a good role model. I get so tired of the women here- who have a good situation that then proceed to tell everyone how wonderful life is for women that all the women are loved and protected, have chauffeurs and love their life. It is very important that the women who CAN speak out DO speak out. Because those that need to most- cannot.

  19. “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” – by George Orwell.

    Sometimes a trickle becomes a flood. There are times when it takes great bravery in becoming that trickle.

  20. NO BIG DEAL , SHE IS A PRINCESS , KNOWS WELL , NO HARM CAN REACH HER , IT WAS SOMETHING , A HEROIC DEED IF AN ORDINARY INDIVIDUAL WOULD HAVE DARED TO DO IT .

  21. my hero is …
    I still dont know her name , but she is no doubt the best!!

  22. I think Manal Al Sharif is a hero, she did something extraordinary and went to jail, and risked losing her job, losing her child, being imprisoned and tortured.

    Heroes are women like the suffragettes who went to jail, got tortured and some died in the fight to get women’s rights in the West to be recognized.

    You have to do something really extraordinary, and really take a risk, and really be heroic in the face of danger to be called a hero.

  23. Aafte I agree with your analysis of what a hero entails.
    What about the three very brave women who have shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. One of the women being Tawakkol Karman from Yemen. Tawakkol in her interview with CNN in Sweden said that given the opportunity for elections she is confident that 90% of the population would give her their vote. Remarkable. Women Power. Now better heads than mine could draw a comparison between very poor Yemen and the very rich and powerful Saudi Royal family. Who are the heros.
    AB: It would be very brave of you if you could interview Tawakkol from a border country of KSA, Yemen. Her love for her country, the people and the fear she has always for her childrens’ safety.
    It does not hurt sometimes to look outside the square to affect change. “little steps”.

  24. I’d be delighted to interview Tawakkol if anyone knew how I could reach her. In fact, I’d love to have opportunities to interview more Saudi women.

  25. Thanks for this interview. I guess I would be interested in meeting Sean’s wife…to see what she is like.

    I realize he didn’t meet his wife prior to marriage.

    My mother was a picture bride….my parents met through simply exchange of photos. So she left China forever, took a plane (on a ticket that my father bought) in the 1950’s and when she arrived in Canada it was the first time she and Dad met in person …before they married 1 wk. later.

    They are still married but I have to say that my father is kind, intelligent man but still abit old school and expecting wife to raise kids most of the time. At 82, he is though, more “egalitarian” than many elderly Asian men: he helps my mother willing around the house with chores and stuff. (But this only happened when he retired).

    In the end, this type of marriage works, because the woman ultimately defers to the husband.

    I am a university educated daughter, the first generation plus all my siblings who received higher education beyond high school..

    I realize there is the belief of learning to love a person in a marriage, but there is HUGE risk in that for sight unseen marriages, never dated, etc. of abuse, misrepresentation. My parents are extremely lucky, though my mother has an explosive temper against my father’s milder, mediative personality.

  26. Thanks for sharing, Jean. I hope to email you soon with some questions!!

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