Saudi Arabia: The Arab Woman; The Muslim Country

Saudi Arabia:  The Arab Woman

 

American Bedu is choosing to reprint the following article which appeared on the www.aafaq.org website.  Saudi author, journalist and activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider is well known for her support of women issues.  While the poem is referred to as a satirical poem, it is also brutally honest.

 

In a Satirical Poem, Saudi Author Laments Conditions in the Arab World

In a satirical poem titled “When,” posted on Arabic reformist websites including www.aafaq.org , reformist Saudi author and journalist Wajeha Al-Huwaider lamented what she regards as the conditions in the Arab world. In the introduction to this poem, she wrote: “‘When’ is an ode to the troubles of the Arab citizen. Both men and women participated in its [writing], and it is still open to additions. This ode will be hung on the walls of the palaces of the Arab rulers, [1] so feel free to add you contributions.”

The following are excerpts from the poem:

“When you cannot find a single garden in your city, but there is a mosque on every corner – you know that you are in an Arab country…

“When you see people living in the past with all the trappings of modernity – do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country.

“When religion has control over science – you can be sure that you are in an Arab country.

“When clerics are referred to as ‘scholars’ – don’t be astonished, you are in an Arab country.

“When you see the ruler transformed into a demigod who never dies or relinquishes his power, and whom nobody is permitted to criticize – do not be too upset, you are in an Arab country.

“When you find that the large majority of people oppose freedom and find joy in slavery – do not be too distressed, you are in an Arab country.

“When you hear the clerics saying that democracy is heresy, but [see them] seizing every opportunity provided by democracy to grab high positions [in the government] – do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country…

“When monarchies turn into theocracies, and republics into hybrids of monarchy and republic – do not be taken aback, you are in an Arab country.

“When you find that the members of parliament are nominated [by the ruler], or else that half of them are nominated and the other half have bought their seats through bribery… – you are in an Arab country…

“When you discover that a woman is worth half of what a man is worth, or less – do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country…

“When you see that the authorities chop off a man’s hand for stealing a loaf of bread or a penny, but praise and glorify those who steal billions – do not be too surprised, you are in an Arab country…

“When you are forced to worship the Creator in school and your teachers grade you for it – you can be sure that you are in an Arab country…

“When young women students are publicly flogged merely for exposing their eyes – you are in an Arab country…

“When a boy learns about menstruation and childbirth but not about his own [body] and [the changes] it undergoes in puberty – roll out your prayer mat and beseech Allah to help you deal with your crisis, for you are in an Arab country…

“When land is more important than human beings – you are in an Arab country…

“When covering the woman’s head is more important than financial and administrative corruption, embezzlement, and betrayal of the homeland – do not be astonished, you are in an Arab country…

“When minorities are persecuted and oppressed, and if they demand their rights, are accused of being a fifth column or a Trojan horse – be upset, you are in an Arab country…

“When women are [seen as] house ornaments which can be replaced at any time – bemoan your fate, you are in an Arab country.

“When birth control and family planning are perceived as a Western plot – place your trust in Allah, you are in an Arab country…

“When at any time, there can be a knock on your door and you will be dragged off and buried in a dark prison – you are in an Arab country…

“When fear constantly lives in the eyes of the people – you can be certain that you are in an Arab country.”

Endnotes:

[1] This is an allusion to the Seven Mu’allaqat, famous sixth century odes which, according to Arab legend, were hung in pre-Islamic times on the walls of the Qa’ba in Mecca.

 

 

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8 Responses

  1. Appreciate this satire, but more of a polemic. She is courageous.

  2. No one in Saudi Arabia has done more to promote respect for basic human rights and equality for all citizens and expatriates than Ms. Wajeha Al-Hwaider. Saudis, men and women, did not support her because she belongs to the Shi’a brand of Islam even though she has never used religion or spoke as a member of an oppressed segment of Saudi society in her struggle to expose oppression of Saudi women.

  3. Reblogged this
    Edited.
    To post links to your own blog with a comment which doesn’t say anything is spam. If you make interesting comments people will come to your blog.
    Moderator

  4. Sadly one could insert the name many African countries into this as well. In regards to Saudi I found this quote today that immediately brought the country to mind.

    “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”
    Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)

  5. Moderator:

    The Reblog is a feature of WordPress that shares the story posted on other wordpress blogs. If you check the top of the tool bar that is on your wordpress and go to another wordpress article you will see it up top. It is to feature this article on another wordpress blog.

    Sheeesh.

    It has nothing to do with your edited comment.

  6. Oh feel free to visit my blog and see for yourself and you will note that it states re-blogged from American Bedu. It is a means to share information and to highlight other bloggers.

    Get over yourself.

  7. interesting!

  8. i am an Arab and these quotes 70% dose not represent me nor the truth 🙂

    as always wajeeha is not satisfied about herself and want us all to feel like her so she promotes distorted image of the truth .
    i mean she come to a fact and multiply it by 100 or distort it a little or add some fabrications or take something out of context to say something i am not quite sure what it is !

    so if u read this pray for GOD u have been punked by Wajeeha lool

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