The right to drive a car

24 May

After the Saudi authorities discovered the subversive videos circulating the Internet, 32 year old Saudi citizen Manal al-Sharif was arrested and jailed awaiting judicial decision. What’s the charge? Being female and driving. Oh! and not just being female and driving, but having the audacity to film the illicit act in the hopes of inciting the general (female) populace.

al-Sharif and other feminist Saudi renegades are encouraging a mass drive-in, scheduled for June the 14th, which calls on all Saudi women to get behind the wheel of a car and drive. (See Women2Drive on twitter.)

Largely left out of the Arab Spring, Saudi Arabia remains one of the more restrictive and oppressive Arab states, particularly for the female population. Unable to vote, drive, be in public space with a man that is not a relative or husband, etc., woman of all ages remain hamstrung, their daily lives scheduled according to who can drive them where they need to go, or how much money they have to spend on a taxicab.

The idea that al-Sharif is committing a revolutionary act simply by the quotidian activity of driving is thrilling, depressing, and surreal all at once. If driving is revolutionary….what would voting be?!?!?


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