I have been scrolling through some of the more recent entries and comments on SaudiWoman’s blog. Now this blogsite is itself a rarity, coming as it does from a seemingly well-educated Saudi female, but it also lifts the veil, as it were, from a nation and a culture which seems so foreign to a Western-educated mind as to be living near a distant star in our galaxy.
Let me list, if I can, some of the more jarring statements which, to SaudiWoman, seem perfectly normal, if not entirely acceptable.
• A group of men belonging to the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vices, or CPVPV, numbering several thousand by the sound of it, can stop chase or harrass any Saudi woman if she is a) by herself on the street, b) in the company of a man whom the PVPV man thinks is not related to her, c) is behaving in a manner likely to inflame men near to her, and d) they don’t like the way she is blinking her eyes at them, because they are seductive, seditious and could push a man to sin.. They cannot see her face, as she is completely covered up in burlap or hessian, but these men can read a wilful expression from forty paces away.
• She is not allowed to drive, or vote, or decide who she marries.
• She is the personal property of her father, or if married; her husband.
• If she builds a Company, and wishes to discuss taxes, or commercial items, or indeed anything at all with Government departments, she must appoint a male as a director, with full discretionary and legal powers, including that of power of attorney; because women cannot talk to Government.
• She has no rights of legal representation, and in a Saudi court of law, her voice has half the power of a man’s, as she is nearly beneath contempt, being a woman.
The list goes on and on, which brings me to a very strange conclusion. Muslim women ,and Saudi women in particular, seem to accept their position in life, they almost seem to say, if to themselves if not out loud, ‘this is the way that life must be, because it is ordained by the King, because he is the Guardian of the Holy Places of Islam, and therefore he can do no wrong’!
Have these women no idea of what is just around the corner? My daughter is an Engineer, she can go where she wishes, do what she wants, sit where she pleases and drives wherever; all because she can! She has the ability to do many things, because she is FREE. Why don’t the Saudi women rise up and say ‘We want to be free! If you wish, you can jail us, beat us, or kill us; because you are going to have to do just that to stop us’!
Take a look at Ghandi. He beat the entire British Empire, because he knew he was right, and you just cannot beat a little self-knowledge!