The right to drive…part II

25 Jun

In May I wrote a post describing a very brave Saudi woman, and her campaign to drive herself wherever and whenever she wanted. She was part of a group of Saudi women who had begun to quietly drive themselves where they needed and wanted to go; in turn leading to a protest: a drive-in, if you will.

The protest occurred June 17th, and though it did not garner the amount of women drivers it had hoped for, the international news coverage that precluded and surrounded it has more than helped the national cause. Indeed, a large number of the women publicly criticized the lack of American support–particularly coming from noted “feminist” and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The outcry was so loud that Clinton was forced to amend with a released statement in which she spoke of her personal support of the drivers.

The movement has met a diversity of responses in Saudi Arabia, many of which are described in the linked article below:

Criticisms such as: “aren’t there more important causes for Saudi women to get behind?” and concerns regarding the driving women being surrounded by men who aren’t relatives or husbands have been readily voiced, of course. But truly, the right to go where one needs and wants to go is surely a fundamental right. Think about it: I need to go to the store; I need to pick up my child; I have to go to the mosque to pray; my mother/father is sick and I must go attend to them; I have to get to my job; I need a new niqab. There are a million things in any given day or week or month that the average woman must attend to.

Think on this…without the means to engage in these errands, jobs, necessities, and obligations, each woman is totally dependent on a man (be it husband, brother, cousin, father, or paid driver) to actualize these simple and complicated tasks. Each day is instead spent orchestrating how to get to these places and things, rather than actually doing, being, and getting.

The criticism of triviality in terms of larger issues stems from a fear that it is this very fundamental and quotidian concern being addressed and fought here that will lead to a larger absolute and total female revolution. Because once a woman starts fighting over her right to drive….anything is possible.


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