Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Time for Women to Drive in Saudi Arabia

My husband is restricted from driving now since his triple bypass surgery three weeks ago. My son does not have his drivers license. And women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Our family does not employ a full-time driver as many families must do here. So we have two cars just sitting outside that our family cannot use now. Today Adnan and I needed to go grocery shopping while Adam was at school for a special band rehearsal. There is a beautiful humongous supermarket about one mile from where we live. So I got dressed and then put on my stifling black abaya over what I was wearing and wrapped my head up in a suffocating scarf and we headed out the door. The plan was to walk down to the corner to see if we could hail a taxi. This corner is in the middle of a residential section, so it’s not a major thoroughfare. We would need to walk several blocks in either direction to get to a bigger street where cabs might come along more frequently, but Adnan is not capable of walking that far because of his condition. And besides, it’s 36 C degrees (97 F) outside, and wearing what I’ve got on, I want to spend as little time as possible and keep physical exertion to a minimum out in the heat.



Twenty minutes we waited on that corner - No taxicab in sight. We tried waving down a few vehicles to take us just those few blocks over to a more busy road, but no one stopped. So Adnan suggested that we walk back the other way to the next closest street in the other direction from our house. Okay. By this point my ears are steaming so much that sweat is clogging up in my ear canal, but I’m worried about Adnan. I know he is in pain and he still tires easily. Halfway down the block there is a tiny begala (market) along our street where we stopped to get two bottles of cold water. We come out of the market just in time to see a cab driving by on the street we were headed to. We get to the corner - and wait. Another fifteen minutes and still no cab. My water bottle is already empty. Sweat is dripping down my spine and my clothes are damp. The hair on the back of my neck is sopping wet. Adnan tries to flag down a few cars, but they just ignore him and drive by. Finally we yell at another car and he stops. Once he learns about our plight, he agrees to take us in his car for the few blocks to the main road. Less than a minute after we get out of his car, a taxi comes along and we are on our way to the supermarket. I know that my cheeks are bright red from the heat by this point. So much for ever hoping to blend into this society...

I get my shopping list out and we begin gathering items. Adnan is hurting, and grouchy, and keeps telling me to hurry up. It took us so long to get to the store that now we have another problem – the store will close soon for prayers. So I’m trying to race through the store with my crabby, slow-paced, aching, and exhausted husband tagging along behind. I forgo several items on my list just to speed things up. We get checked out and head outside where there are two cabs sitting out in front of the store. We are loading the groceries into the trunk when I hear the call to prayer beginning. Whew!

There is nothing in Islam that would restrict a woman from driving. In fact, from what I have read, there is actually no law in Saudi Arabia restricting women from driving or from getting a drivers license. I have driven for 40 years in the states and I have an excellent driving record. If there was ever a perfect example for why women should be permitted to drive in Saudi Arabia, what happened to us today is it. I told Adnan that next time we need to go to the store, I will drive us with him sitting right there next to me in the front passenger seat. But my husband is afraid that HE will be thrown in jail if he “allows” me to drive here. It disappoints me that he is not supportive of the movement for women driving in KSA. He rode in the car with me at the wheel in the states for decades without any problem. But here, he seems to live in fear.

So why CAN'T women drive here in Saudi Arabia? No one seems to have a problem with little boys behind the wheel here. Or with reckless youth endangering everyone in their path. Last month I wrote about an organized attempt by Saudi women in 1990 to take to the streets to get the right to drive here, but still 20 years later, nothing has changed. And all the lame excuses men give for keeping women out of the driver's seat are feeble, make no sense at all, and are based on control and fear.

Women driving in KSA is a very hot topic right now. People are talking about it. Newspapers and bloggers are abuzz about it. For the first time since I arrived here, I am hopeful that it could happen. Eman over at SaudiWoman has recently published two excellent posts on the subject. Please check them out: Women Driving Cars…How Do We Start Its Implementation? and The Turning Point. And Tara at Islamic Articles wrote another great post about the cause: Women Driving in Saudi Arabia, My Personal Thoughts. Even BoingBoing has a recent post called: Wajeha Al Huwaider, a woman, driving in Saudi Arabia. And here's another good blog post by Free Spirit called The Sin of Driving. Here's another related news story in Arab News.

The time is at hand. Women should be given the right to drive in this country now.

If you are on Facebook, please join this cause: Yes 2 Women Driving In Saudi Arabia!

104 comments:

  1. Not easy, not easy.
    Good luck in your campaign.

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  2. I like the little sticker. All I have to say is so much for enlightenment.

    Ohm and don't get into a car and drive, but get into a cab with a non mahram...

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  3. Just another example of how saudi men try to control their women (forbidding them from driving and relying only on their husbands to drive them around.)
    I really hope something changes soon! Not only should women protest but there needs to be a lot more men protesting against this silly prohibtion. If the men remain silent and in fear there will never be a change since the country is ruled by men.

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  4. I agree with Rene - men should be brave and support their wives! not to be afraid!
    Men make the rules - together they can change them too!
    Thumbs up!

    Greetings from Casablanca!

    BLOGitse

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  5. If there was a life or death reason to drive a car (to get your husband to the hospital), would you be in danger of being arrested? I also agree with Rene...men need to stick up for the women and get this ridiculous custom changed. What if you drove the car and your husband stayed home? Would you still be in danger? Pretty sad for 2010.

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  6. and during the Gulf War ( 1990 version) US troops had women drivers in Al Khobar
    misogynist's enjoy their control and any relaxation in an area as fundamental as personal movement would be a disaster
    but hey - think about the workers in Saudi
    No Passport
    No movement without permission
    its not just a female this its a control thing

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  7. oh, you know darn well that KSA will never change! Just tell your hubby and son that it is time to move back to the States and FREEDOM!!!

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  8. I have to wonder where that long line of hospital visitors are NOW when you could actually use them.

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  9. I agree, it's about control. I think it's a way of men controlling women. She can't go anywhere (very far that is) without him or another man driving her. I didn't drive when I lived in Amman, too hard for me to get a license there , but there were women drivers. And one woman cab driver too!

    I could never live there. It was hard enough for me living in Amman and not being able to get into my car. At least I could take a bus or service.

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  10. I hope that your campaign and others will help to get you behind the wheel in KSA. It is such a modern country except for the rules and regulations for women. This is 2010 not 1020.
    Good luck!

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  11. It's time to bring Saudi Arabia in the 21st century! What happened to the rights of women and the so called gender equality? Women of this nation, stand up and speak out!

    Soon there will be flying cars, yet women in this country are still not allowed to drive?

    Where are the Powerpuff girls when you need them?

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  12. This is where I agree with Queen; where are all the family visitors? Why did they not have the forbearance to plan a strategy that would give you and Adnan movement in these times, where food is not growing in the backyard?!

    I don't mean to offend; this could be about any husband and wife in KSA who would find themselves in this predicament that was certainly not of their choosing. Its about family putting their money, time, their own drivers up for use. Its also about lack of understanding of a whole society to the magnitude of the situation a person who needs to go outside can't fix because they are sick, they are women, etc.

    Its a darn shame that both you and Adnan should suffer even going to the grocery store with such a pack of visitors who could very well have put themselves at your disposal! And its a darn shame a government that has no thinking beyond what they perceive as the only reason a woman needs to drive in KSA- to mix and be merry! Oy vey!

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  13. I hate this for you Susie,on top of all you've already been through.It's a horrible situation for all of you. Convention be dammed, next time just dress as a guy and go get your groceries!

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  14. Here's to women lib in KSA!! (fist in the air, arm stretched out) :-)

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  15. Hi Dina - Thanks - we need it.

    Hi Chieftess - The whole business of every woman in KSA needing to have a mahram (legal guardian) who is given full control over whether that woman can travel, go to school, or even leave the house is what really needs to be addressed. Women here have the legal standing of children for their entire lives. Widows are put under the control of their sons or their brothers. It's an absurd ideology that deems women here in capable of making decisions for herself and puts women at a disadvantage at every turn. Women driving here is a small step. The guardianship issue is the main problem and the main goal.

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  16. Hi Salma - Yes, it makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Women can't drive but go ahead and get into a car with a complete stranger.

    Hi Rene - I talk to my husband about this all the time but he prefers to go with the "law of the land." Very disappointing for me.

    Hi BLOGitse - Thanks. You are right. Rules can be changed and we do need the men to take action.

    Hi Lori - If it were a life/death situation, I would not care whether or not I was arrested, but I would hope that there would be such an outpouring of support that no action would be taken against me. During the raging floods a few months ago, a teenage girl was credited with saving her own family and several others from certain death by getting behind the wheel of her family's car and pulling them all to safety. She has been heralded as a hero. In my case going to the store, although it was not a life/death situation, I think I would also have the support of many had I driven us to the store with my husband beside me. If I were by myself, I'm sure I would be harassed by any men who saw me.

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  17. Hi Susie,

    I am sorry to read that you struggled with the shopping, and the issue of not being able to drive. I would have thought that your family would have been more visible, especially given the fact that your husband cannot drive at the moment, and so are basically housebound.

    I hope that the powers that be in the Kingdom finally start to see sense and realise that women drivers in Kingdom will benefit everyone - as it means that women will not have to get into a car with an unrelated man.

    Keep smiling, and here's hoping for a speedy recovery for Adnan.

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  18. Susie- I wish the ones who banned women from driving had been there to see you and Adnan suffering like that. It would be such a relief on women AND the men if women were allowed to drive. Thanks for posting my article.

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  19. Hi ynotoman - You are right - it is all about control. I do miss my freedoms that I had in America.

    Hi Gigi - I wish it were that simple...

    Hi Queen and Inal - In all fairness to the family and friends, I have no doubt that if asked, they would have dropped everything to come and lend a hand. Going to the store was more of a spur of the moment thing my hubby wanted to do, and I probably should have used better judgment than to assume him capable of more than what he is at this point.

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  20. By the way, I amended my article to include your blog post :-)

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  21. Hi Anisah - To this day, women in KSA cannot appear in court without a legal mahram and her testimony is not considered credible when compared to a man's. Women have been kept out of gov't offices and only men have been allowed in, but I understand that now there are specific hours when women are allowed in. I just don't get it. Men and women are in malls together, grocery shopping together, but in a legal office? Heaven forbid!

    Hi Inal - I won't let this happen again. Any shopping I need to do will be preplanned. My son and I went last week to do the grocery shopping, and we had to walk all the way to the main road int he blistering heat (probably 6 blocks altogether) to get a cab. I think I am going to start imposing on family who have offered to help and make sure I arrange it ahead of time.

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  22. Hi HC - So true. So many conveniences of the modern world so readily embraced here, but most women are kept under men's thumbs in the Dark Ages.

    Hi Pepe - Blossum, Bubbles and Buttercup have a lot of work to do here in KSA!

    Hi Always - I almost posted a photo of me cross-dressed as a man here, when I drove out in the country shortly after I first arrived here. The only thing is, all Saudi men have some type of facial hair, my face is a dead giveaway!

    Hi Angel - Thanks!

    Hi Karen - If women are allowed to drive here, no one is going to FORCE them to drive. Those who want to drive should be given the opportunity though. Thanks!

    Hi Tara - When we got home yesterday, Adnan remarked that, well, that wasn't so bad. I told him it would have been a lot better if I could have just driven us to the store in the first place. Today, he is suffering terribly from yesterday. I think being out in the heat affected him... no more of that for a while!

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  23. First if your husband is still in so much discomfort, you should have returned home and ask his family for assistance.
    Second, a lot of women do go by themselves grocery shopping, expats, I was one of them.The few times I was harrassed, I just firmly and loudly told the person to lower his gaze and fear Allah,it worked each time.Nothing compared to the harrassement I get in the states

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  24. Hi Anon - I will definitely ask for the family's assistance next time - no more spur of the moment activities out in the heat!
    I know that many expat women go shopping by themselves, but is your husband Saudi? My Saudi husband was gone from here for 30yrs. I have only been here 2yrs and he is still very paranoid about my safety, even though I was a police officer for several yrs in the states. I know that I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, but he is very over-protective here. I'm hoping in time, that will change.

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  25. A few years ago my Saudi brother-in-law had a stroke with partial paralysis. He couldn't drive. Family couldn't afford a driver. There were times when he had to get to a clinic for therapy and there was nobody to take him so my sister-in-law would dress as close as she could to look male and would drive them to a safe spot near the clinic where they would change places and my brother-in-law would somehow get the car through the clinic gate. This went on for a couple of years with much stress for them both. Fortunately he is well now but people who are ill do not need such added stress.

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  26. Thanks so much Susie for posting this. This is an issue that should have been and could have been solved yeaaaaaaaaaaaars ago. I have no idea what they are waiting for? its 2010 for God's sake. The more they wait the more complicated it will get. It is a lot more simpler than they make it ought to be.
    WAKE UP KSA. You're watching the Parade go by.....

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  27. "I know she means well and it is actually a compliment that she cares. She is just from a different time and a different place… "

    Really? I think she's from KSA. And if you were to ask her, I bet she'd say women shouldn't drive. Leave her in her time and place, go back to the USA where every little nuance of scripture isn't discussed endlessly as a way to detract from simple issues like a woman behind the wheel.

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  28. Women shouldn't drive but this rule shouldn't be so strict. Women need to drive sometimes. Sometimes it is very necessary, like in your case. But in ordinary cases, women should rather not drive. I just want to say that this rule should have a flexibility.

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  29. Can we disguise as a man and drive? Police won't check that careful.
    I'm eager to try this way after I come to KSA.

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  30. Hi Wendy - You are absolutely right, and thank you for sharing this other example of why women should be allowed to drive here. There are valid and legitimate reasons why women here should drive, but all they think of here is that women will be out whoring around or other such nonsense.

    Hi Hisham - I too think people are trying to make this whole thing much more complicated than it really is too. Just let us drive and stop thinking of all these stupid "what ifs!"

    Hi Anon - I know I've driven my MIL around in the USA, so I don't know that she would be opposed to women driving here other than the drivers here are crazy - but that's because they're all male.

    Hi Aurangzeb - You're confusing me - What exactly are your reasons for saying "women shouldn't drive"?

    Hi Teresatao - I have dressed up in the traditional men's clothing and drove out in the country. I've also heard that sometimes groups of younger women will do this in the cities. The thing is, we women shouldn't HAVE to resort to doing this just so we can drive.

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  31. A Canadian ReaderApr 24, 2010, 2:00:00 AM

    Good grief. It's time to move back to the 21st century and get out of that backward excuse for a country.

    Sad that the husband you love and apparently thought you knew has so blithely gone over to the dark side.

    Get out while you can. If he loves you, he'll follow.

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  32. Nothing will change until men's views over here change as they are in total control of public life.Until then women have no say.I know you do not have a driver but I think it would be very useful if you had at least a number of a limo driver for on the spot decisions.I can give you some if needed.

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  33. I am genuinely puzzled Susie. What danger is your husband worried about? Women-Saudi and ex-pat run all over Jeddah all day long and not much happens except some lewd looking. Your husbands family must be very conservative-but your husband isn't, and you aren't so why must you live the way they do?

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  34. Giving women driving licenses might enhance the idea of freedom ,but other BASIC allowances must be given preferably prior to such move such as women rights to various things .Currently the individual woman is represented in many cases by her spouse Husband , Father or elder brother .That should change.The individual woman must be able to uncover and represent herself by herself .This idea is very Islamic to me .Islam told in Quran that no one should be blamed for the fault of others ,however the system of Kafeel and Waliu Al-Amr allow for misrepresentations .Secondly . New laws should be created to allow for more Human rights to be seen and felt , not just ink on a piece of paper .

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  35. Susie, do you know why Chinese women's feet began to be bound? It was so that they wouldn't be able to run away faster when they were beaten by their husbands. Men are always afraid that women will one day not be able to bear oppression and will rebel.

    Saudi women's feet are also bound symbolically.

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  36. Hello Susie,

    I'd be tempted to buy myself a well made fake beard and mustache with some sunglasses and wear the right head gear and thobe - I wonder if some Saudi women do that? I've read that the cars tend to be tinted - perhaps a woman driver wouldn't stand out too much then, if dressed like a man. I guess it's worth having a disguise stashed away in case you do have to drive in an emergency.

    I would hope that if Adnan was in the front passenger seat, carrying a medical certificate stating that he is restricted from driving, you would not suffer a penalty for driving the car while he was present.

    It seems absolutely crazy that grown women should have to resort to wearing a disguise in order to do something most women elsewhere take for granted. I hope that stories like yours make people think harder about how change can happen.

    Regards

    Kristina

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  37. I'd last about 10 seconds in your country.

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  38. Another story was of a woman I know (an Arab Saudi as is her husband) who had to drive her family from Bahrain to KSA because her husband was too drunk to do so. She tried to disguise but at the border one guard was going a bit crazy but another guard told him to let her go and get her family home. And yes, there are lots of drinking and drug problems in the Kingdom.

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  39. Susie- It could've been worse but alhamdullilah it wasn't. Insha'Allah Adnan is feeling better by now.

    Lol @ Kate. That was funny!

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  40. You've asked if my husband is saudi,yes he is,we've been married 7 years,3 of them living in his country.
    But unlike your husband, he didn't change when we came here,he respects who I am.
    Why would he be more afraid of me going to the store alone here than the states?It's a lot safer here.

    I think ,you need to have a chat with your hubby,I've read your posts,you complain a lot about women not standing up for their rights,but don't you think you should stand up for yours first???

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  41. I will never understand this bizarre extrapolation that "women driving = she is going to whore herself". Sad thing is, I could see that if we all woke up today to the KSA reversing all these ridiculous reforms, there could be some major chaos simply because people have been repressed so much. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't fix this - they should! ASAP!

    I think I have mentioned my friend who comes from an ultra-conservative Christian family before. His parents had to have minute-to-minute itineraries whenever he went to basketball tournaments, including possible entertainment and food choices. In writing. He couldn't watch the Simpsons at age 17, nor anything over PG. Stuff like that. The minute he graduated high school and moved out of the house, he went nuts. However, he didn't stay like that, and is back to going to church, reading the Bible, etc. (although he isn't as conservative). His parents should have had a little more faith in the kid when he was in high school.

    Obviously, KSA has absolutely no shred of faith in its people.

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  42. I have to agree with anonymous. The problem for you has to do with your husband executing his right and protecting you from what he considers to be dangers. When I lived in Saudi I was able to go out when I wished...as long as I let my husband know. Why is your husband so strict on you? I find that wierd particularly as he wasnt this way in the states.

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  43. So many people want to make it simple and just set the blames on Saudi men . Certainly there are more to it than men over women . There are centuries old of traditions putting tight grips on men as well as women..I really admire those who are brave to resist the poor traditions and go show us the way to tomorrow.We talk about it a need of a change in so many occasions .I admire especially those women who go out and say : I want this.This is my right to have it.God bless those who show us who they are and says it .

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  44. Thanks Susie for taking the time to discuss issues in my country! I would try to post my comment again trying to remember what I exactly said earlier!

    I said that this issue is not the most important in my country for us "Saudi women". I am a Saudi young woman in my early twenties and lived half of my life in the States and now continuing my education abroad. I want to know why only a minority in my country would speak for the right to drive. And why minority would rule the majority? As I understand this whole idea is against democracy that the west is calling for in our countries!

    The other thing I like to clarify is that we are happy with our lives, why wouldn't people from other countries leave us deal with our issues by ourselves. We are HAPPY! And we do not want to be like western women who are struggling to protect themselves from men's crimes "rape, beating, stealing, imprisonment, and etc." By just watching Oprah’s Show, we are scared to death if freedom meant what we saw!
    (I am using the pronoun “we” as lots of my friends, tons of them share the opinion I am sharing with you)
    Surely, we have problems like the ones you have but these crimes are committed by men who do not fear Allah, who are away from their religion. I really feel upset when people from other countries talk about problems WE do not want to talk about!

    Saudi Arabia has millions of female graduates, female doctors, female business holders, and etc. We have all sorts of activities to do without having the need to mix with men. Mixing with men has not brought the west and neighbor Arab countries any good but harassment, rape, and scolding of women!
    I know that someone will say that is not always the case! But, I can say NO that is always the case. I watch programs about America and especially programs such as Cops and Most Shocking and etc. These programs show shocking crimes majority of them committed by men against women.
    In my country, these crimes are rare. I assure you they are rare at least from my experience.

    I would love that we have a just vote in my country whether women want to drive or not and then the vote will decide whether we need to drive or not! Isn't this democracy?

    However, I am still not confident that if women voted against driving, western people will still say that these votes are not just!

    Finally, I had 6 of my friends around me all of them are open-minded studying abroad and all of them voted against driving in our country!

    You know why?
    Because driving doesn't mean a woman gets behind the wheels and that's it! It means a big change that we are not ready for! Not only ready on the level of people but also on other levels such as safety, security, women police, Hijab, veil, and other issues!

    People from the west do not seem to sink enough into our society to understand how it is structured!

    I believe Susie that you must fight for your rights first in the States because as I lived there for quite long time I see that women are oppressed and driven away from their nature..

    I am happy that you give me the chance to give out my word..

    You and other readers seem to have lots of misconceptions about our country maybe because you didn't have the chance to mingle with all types of women in our country due to language barrier.

    About your safety, I assure you that in Saudi Arabia it is a lot safer than the U.S, so do not worry about your life or safety! Stay safe and happy!

    :-)

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  45. Hi Susie,

    I agree that women should be allowed to drive, but since we are not, many of us call a trusted driver at an hour or so's notice to take us anywhere in Jeddah.

    If you haven't been able to find any and need contact numbers of trustworthy drivers then let me know (via facebook/gmail/etc)

    Sabaa

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  46. Comments on Hamdah Note:
    First she said she lived half her life in the States: It is a surprise to me that she still loves the strict life in Saudi vs. the easiness and openness in the US.I guess you miss home so much.That's all . Certainly not most of the women I know in Saudi want to keep it the way you see it.My sisters dream of having sport classes in their schools, dream of having jobs ,and dream of having a say about Saudi future ..The change became very necessary .we can't keep Saudi women away from the decisions that will dictate our future .In the process of doing so ,we may lose many things and we might be subjected to lose our economy and stability in the near futur .It is not that you like what you have and not think about the future.That is totally illogic thing to do.If a change must be done .it must be done.Sometimes this process hurts some but majority will be OK and the future of our country will look more promising.I also don't agree with you Hamdah when you tie the crimes in US with how women are liberated in the US.Not so many danish and Swedish people will agree with you on this conclusion.Their countries have the lowest crime records amongst the rest of the world.( Google it and you will find the truth by yourself ).Also who said that in Saudi, all are happy .If a Saudi woman is divorced ,she has no rights at all, not even to be able to see her own children. If the x-husband decided to act weird,he will kick her x-wife out of the house and not a single Halalah will enter her pocket .lets face it Hamdah .

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  47. Hamdah87- Its not only Saudi women living in Saudi Arabia. We non-Saudi women live here too and want to drive! I say let all women be allowed to drive and then leave it up to the men of their family if they want them to drive. If the men agree to them driving but their women don't want to drive then that is their prerogative. But their personal decision not to drive should not affect those women who DO want to drive.

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  48. Yes all women should be free to drive, to work, to walk down the street in peace but please befor any of you take to driving please get rid of the face coverings. No driving until you're willing to free yourself from the obstructed view from behind a veil.

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  49. Comment on Free Spirit- missing home doesn't have any relation to how I judge things back home in Saudia. I am confident that what I say is the truth as I live it and see it with no emotions at all. I am talking rationally here.

    I talked about crimes in the U.S because I lived there and Susie is American. Why should I talk about Danish or Swedish society. As far as I know, we do not hear of Danish and Swedish women/men calling for our rights in the U.S !

    Secondly, in the U.S only liberals will have easy and free life, but those abiding to the rules of Islam will be called "terrorists" !

    Thirdly, you discuss things that I did not even mention in my comment such as sport classes and others. I call for sport classes and I do not see any justification for not having them in schools. Who told you we do not have jobs? Unemployment is an issue and I agree with you, but that does not mean we do not have jobs. My girlfriends are all employed and happy with their jobs and my relatives too ! I agree that we have widowed and divorced women who need jobs and I am calling for that. Women are allowed to speak about the future of Saudi Arabia and so men do. Restrictions on some political reforms are put on both men and women. Not only women !

    Change must be smart and well-planned, this is what the modern west taught me and other people who lived there. Change shouldn't sacrifice many people, some maybe fair ! But why to lose thousands if not millions?

    First, driving which is the issue that I commented on originally shouldn't be done overnight!

    - we do not have a modern, developed roads, facilities that makes us ready for more cars on the streets.
    - we do not have police women !!
    - All Saudi women need to take off their veil for identity purposes, Do you think they will agree to do so?
    - we do not have car fixing shops for women !
    - we do not have many pre-requisites for women driving.

    The most important step is women's vote whether they want to drive or not !

    You said if women are divorced they do not have any rights, that is not because of laws nor religion, I am sure that you know (if you are Saudi)that that happens because of bad attitude that some men have towards women ! Laws and religion are just towards women and especially when divorced. Women are having difficulties because some men are not following the rules of Islam. I suggest that you read Surah Altalaq (Chapter: Divorce) in Quran to know more about this issue in Islam.

    I want to tell you something else. If an American lady spit on me and called me "bitch" ! Is it rational to say ALL American ladies are mean? Answer me please!

    I tell you Free Spirit, Let's Face people who are not following Islamic rules and regulations ! Would you agree?


    Hope you understand what I say.

    Hamdah

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  50. P.S in my previous comment to A Free Spirit.

    I meant ". As far as I know, we do not hear of Danish and Swedish women/men calling for our rights in Saudi Arabia !" NOT the U.S !

    Sorry for that.. :-)

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  51. Tara I understand that you are a wife of a Saudi man and your son is Saudi too, so you are part of our society partially but not fully. So, you should be careful not to interfere into others' lives because they can speak for themselves and they do not need people to talk for them. I understand from your comment that you want us to unfollow democracy for this issue, even if the majority of women disagree, you still call for the right to drive because minority want to ! Right?

    I do not stand against driving ! I stand against driving without fulfilling all the pre-requisites we need in our society.

    Saudi Arabia is a 100% Muslim country, so we should follow Islam in every single move of our life!


    I am truthful, I am the voice of many many Saudi women who do not know English but share my opinion!

    I am happy, tons of my friends from all ages are happy, and that is why I said we are happy !

    I know there are women who are unhappy, oppressed and not free, but all we need is awareness of Islam and all our problems will be solved..

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  52. Anonymous- it is not your right to tell me to take of my veil ! I am free to wear what I am obliged to. Veil is my choice and I am happy with it.

    Is not this freedom of choice you are calling for?

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  53. Anonymous- There are women who wear niqab with the eyes exposed and can drive with no problem. I have seen them do it in the US, one of my friends did it in New Jersey and I saw another woman do it in Missouri. My friend and her sister-in-law drive their cars in Oman (and I have ridden as a passenger with them many times). I myself have driven in the Saudi desert with my niqab on. But I don't agree to the niqab that comes over the eyes as obviously that is unsafe to drive with.

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  54. Hi Susie.
    I research shopping malls, and
    I was wondering if you knew about malls in Jeddah that have special operating hours for just women shoppers.

    Any help with this topic would be much appreciated!

    Thank you for all your blogging efforts!

    Best,
    Adriana
    younga@gmail.com

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  55. Hamdah,
    You don't seem to understand how democracy works. No you cannot vote to deny people their human rights. For example, Americans could not vote to make black people slaves again. And freedom to determine for themselves where and how they go- is a human rights issue for women. In fact the whole guardianship issue is.

    No woman would have to drive if she didn't want to. And since we have to buy our bras and knickers from men I don't see the problem with having our car fixed by them.

    But I do agree-there should be women police officers. Why not?

    Also, Saudi Arabia doesn't run by Islamic law- so the issue isn't whether Islamic Law is fair, or not. The issue is whether Saudi law is fair.

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  56. @Tara Umm Omar
    I have to say I totally disagree that it should be left to the men in the family to decide if a woman can drive. I am a grown woman- not a child, and I have a Husband- not an owner.

    "No soul can bear the burden of another". All our "guardians" should be out insuring our right to drive. They should be insuring all our rights. Guardianship was meant to be about making sure we weren't oppressed, not controlling us.

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  57. Just want to say that I really love Hamdah's comments. I'm not saudi but I do respect the notion that every land has the right to dictate for themselves what they consider best for their people. Regardless of whether those who live there from another place agree(or not).Is THAT not a democratic notion?
    Muslimahs from other lands need to understand that when you live in a Land that is Islamic then you need to heed the rules that are dictated by those who are in authority in that land.This is what Allah commands us to do in the Quran. For those non muslim women who are guests in the muslim land by virture of their employment or marriages...I know it must be hard to live in a place that seems to backwards from what is presumed to be "freedom" in the west but for me I feel that freedom is obeying the commands of Allah as my Lord. That is what I consider true freedom.

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  58. @Susie--Thanks for being so gracious as to allow us to run over your comment section(in the nicest way)
    @Sandy--The only people who say that Saudi is not run by Islamic law are the same ones that call the rulers Taghuut. There is Shariah in Saudi. Yes there are some cultural elements that should not be there but for the most part what you get in Saudi is an effort that is Shariah.Dont be so quick to denigrate the land of Islam. Allah has placed the men above the woman due to their spending upon us. They are the ones who are supposed to be the responsible ones. They are supposed to guard us. They are supposed to protect us and if you are married...then your husband has those rights over you. If you have a husband that abuses his rights then I make dua for your ease(And I dont mean to say you personally..I mean the greater "you") but for most of us, insha Allah we have men who want the best for us and want to protect us. This is natural.This is the deen of Islam.

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  59. While I can appreciate how frustrating the limitations on mobility and legal rights may be, I find it hard to equate the right to drive with a human right like freedom from slavery.

    I do agree that Saudis themselves should be transforming their society as they see fit. How integrated and how long one must be in Saudi to have a say is a different question.

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  60. Hamdah- Saudi women are more than capable of speaking up for themselves when they want something. I'm speaking for myself and since I am living in Saudi Arabia, this law affects ME as a non-Saudi woman. I think I have a right to ask for my right to be able to drive.

    You and Sandy misunderstood me. I'm saying that the Saudi government should allow all women to drive. If a woman wants to drive then its her personal decision. If a man doesn't want his woman to drive then its his personal decision and that is between him and his family. Sandy, I am not saying that you need your husband's permission to drive because that is between you and your husband. If you don't need his permission to drive more power to you.

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  61. Sandy- you say that I don't seem to understand how democracy works.

    To vote for a new decision to be applied is DEMOCRACY!

    Your example doesn't relate to what I said earlier. You are trying to mislead readers to hide the truth I am telling that is against your opinion.

    Women in Saudia were not driving and then banned. As Black Americans were slaves and now free.

    We are not discussing re-allowing women to drive, we are discussing allowing women in first place to drive.

    So, how do you relate the example of Black Americans with Saudi women!! You are confusing me !?

    I say that maybe the majority will be against driving, is it fair to let the 20% rule the 80% ?

    Why are you afraid of the just vote whether SAUDI women want to drive or not?

    This is the process of DEMOCRACY and I read a lot about democracy and politics. I am sure that I know how democracy works, dear Sandy.

    I disagree with the fact that we "women" are buying our underwear from men. I am totally against that !


    I am sorry to tell you Sandy that you know little about Saudi Arabian legal system. Read about it carefully before you make such a statement !

    I call for implementation of Islamic laws by the Kingdom's people!

    The laws are fair, some people do not want to be fair.

    Leave us alone please. We want calls for reforms to be voiced by US "Saudi Women" ! We do not need anyone to defend us, we are strong enough to do that by ourselves.

    This is all I can say, if you have any questions, please DO NOT hesitate.


    Thanks Susie for your blog that allow a lot of people to read parts of the truth, or at least various views :-)

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  62. To Hamdah - I don't understand you. You say that the majority of women in KSA is against driving. Fair enough but who is asking them to drive? No one. Susie is only asking that the 20% who want to drive be allowed to. In what way would these 20% be a nuisance to the 80% who continue to want to be driven by their husbands?

    In my country (France) quite a large number of people (and young people) of both sexes choose not to have their drivers license and not to drive. Their choice. Fine. That doesn't mean they can deny others the right to drive!

    That's where your rule 80/20% doesn't work. A right such as the right to drive is not something everyone MUST make use of. It's just there for those who want to use it.

    Same thing for many other rights
    - the right to free expression
    (should the 80% who don't have anything to say be allowed to rule the 20% who want to express themselves?)
    - the right to hold public meetings (should the 80% who never attend public meetings be allowed to deny the 20% who are interested to organise such meetings?)

    A right is not something you MUST do, it is something you CAN do.
    Big difference. So the 80% who don't want to drive can keep on not driving, the 20% who want to drive can drive and everyone's happy. I really don't see why controlling the 20% of women who don't think like you is such a big issue to you.

    The real thing in democracy is to let people who are different to you live happily by your side.

    What worries me is that you seem to have real difficulty accepting that the 20% who don't think like you be allowed to do something that would be no nuisance to you.

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  63. Wow, glad you all survived and got some groceries. I can't imagine how hot and tired you must have been.

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  64. Hamdah,
    I do know about the Saudi Legal system. It is based on Tribal law. I have been to Saudi court..have you?

    In a democracy- women are not given different rights than men. So if people can drive- so can women- because they are people too. They are not made less like the patriarchal, tribal system in Saudi.

    I am afraid. You are quite correct. Should there be an election people might vote to stop women from driving. I firmly believe Saudi is not yet ready for democracy. They first need a basic understanding of human rights which is the proper foundation for democracy. Saudi needs good governance and an overhall of it's educational system so people don't go to school to learn to think like sheep (this is finally starting to happen).

    And before you start-I DO know about Saudi schools- I have taught in them and my children attended for many years.

    And you are being ridiculous about the underwear thing. Eveyone knows most Saudi lingerie stores are staffed by men. I don't care if you're totally against it- so am I-but it is what happens.

    But anyway. If only such a few women want to drive- what's the big deal? Just let them. But I think you know as well as I do that if women are allowed to drive they WILL drive. And I think it is too bad women who have such advantages as yourself do not recognize the hardship other women go through. Most Saudi women do NOT have a driver. They are stuck at home.

    Many teachers I worked with spent virtually their whole salary on transport to school. But still they had to work hard because they so badly needed that extra bit of money. It is a shame to have hardworking women in need and have them so disabled when trying to earn money.

    Please think again. I understand wanting to have pride in your country- but in this situation it seems more Islamic to stand up for Human Rights- which is more Islamic than the oppression of women.

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  65. I sure hope this happens and change occurs. How ridiculous not to be able to drive to the market, especially under the current circumstances, or any time for that matter.
    Glad to hear Adnan is feeling good enough to get out of the house.

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  66. Thank you for clarifying Tara Umm Omar, but I still disagree with:

    "If a man doesn't want his woman to drive then its his personal decision and that is between him and his family."

    'His women'? Women should not belong to men. Adult women should not be stopped by their men. What if a woman is being unwise and using poor judgement in some way? Well, that is her right too- in the same way it is a mans. Grown-ups of both genders don't need "keepers".

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  67. Chiara-
    Point well taken. I wasn't so clear in my example. There were really two points there. One that freedom to drive is a human rights issue- it directly ties in with the guardianship issues and women's permenant status as children here. I was also trying to make the point that Democracy is based on human rights- and that there are some things that cannot simply be voted on. Democracy is more than merely "majority rules".

    Dee- I'm guessing you don't live here. I've lived here many many years and cannot even count the times Saudis have told me this is not how Islam is supposed to be. And my many many years convinces me they are right. It isn't supposed to be this way.

    You will also find Muslims from all over the world who cringe at the thought of Saudi being held up as an ideal Islamic community.

    If you are interested in why this is start following court cases and social issues in the paper. You'll soon see why.

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  68. Nathalie- "A right such as the right to drive is not something everyone MUST make use of. It's just there for those who want to use it." You said what I meant in a different and much better way than I did. Thank you!

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  69. Sandy- Please relax, its just my Southern way of talking coming out. Like I'd say Omar is my boy or my husband is my man.

    I'd like you to think about something though. Let's just say Saudi Arabia allows the women to drive. But the men will have to take care of the paperwork to allow her to drive. Because Saudi Arabia still has the law that a woman needs a guardian's permission (whereas you don't think you need YOUR guardian's permission to do anything as you're a grown woman). So if the guardian of the woman says no or says yes but never takes care of the paperwork then the woman will be up the creek without a paddle. But if she has no guardian to take care of the paperwork to allow her to drive then she's shit outta luck. So what's your solution to this scenario?

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  70. I'll try to relax Tara. But the fact is many people and certainly the law pretty much veiw it the way you stated. And even though you'd say your husband is "your man" you wouldn't be able to control him.

    Under the law- of course I need my husbands permission- it's morally that I don't. Technically,as I have a drivers license, from another country, that is accepted on the streets of Saudi- I don't see why I couldn't use it.

    But as for all the paperwork- of course my solution is the guardianship system itself should be revamped. It should be about insuring a womans rights- not controlling her. Oh...and reforming education would go a long way towards fixing things as well.

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  71. Sandy- Saying my husband is my man has nothing to do with me being able to control him. That's not my issue anyway as I have an equal partnership with my husband and the majority of the time we mutually agree on which decision to make concerning our family. Insha'Allah if we women are allowed to drive, the guardianship law will be obsolete by then.

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  72. Susie, all I have to say, like I have said in the past, you must love your husband dearly.

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  73. To Nathalie- I can't digest that you are talking about Democracy while your country ban Hijab even though it is a presonal right ! Not only ban its residents from hijab but also tourists!! Is that democracy?

    I am sorry to tell you that I won't accept what you say as long as you do not stand against your own people who are snatching our head covers, our veils !!

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  74. Tara,
    I was completely unclear in what I said. I was refering to when you said the man of the family would decide about "his woman" being able to drive. That is what I meant was taken literally here, by many. Sorry about that.

    And yes, inshallah the women can drive soon. Though honestly I think it's better the guardianship laws get reformed and hang around awhile. There are a lot of women who've not had the opportunity to learn how to manage things and I fear if guardianship is just dropped, some men will just not bother helping their unexperienced relatives and leave them to sort it all for themselves.

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  75. Sandy- I apologize, I didn't mean it literally.

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  76. Sandy, Law in Saudi Arabia is based on the Islamic legal system (Constitution, judiciary and legal system are based on Islam).You scanned my comment and replied, please re-read what I wrote again. I said: Saudi law is based on Islam and if some people are going astray from that law that doesn’t mean law is bad BUT people are bad.
    I do not believe in Western democracy and I am not forced to. What most “western people” are trying to do is that they come along the oceans to tell us to live like they do in the U.S, Europe or other places. I do not believe in western democracy: simply because it is a lie. Just listen to the news “but PLEASE not the mainstream media” and you will also disbelieve in democracy as west is doing it!
    In my opinion ISLAM is the best solution for all of our problems: Let’s call to implement it.
    I will ask you questions you are asking me Sandy:
    Why women in your country are beaten to death? Why are they raped? Why are they cheated on?
    Why they are imprisoned? Why are they harassed?
    Why U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar in 2008? (For your information: women are not paid less than men in Saudia, even when they are having a maternal leave their full salary will be given to them)
    Why they were not allowed to vote until years of suffering? Why young girls are being raped by their guardians?
    We never asked you because it is your own business.
    To vote for women to drive, only women are going to vote, so how can men stop them from voting. That is silly! You are generalizing that ALL people in my country need to understand human rights. The United States needs to understand human rights and stop starting wars on other countries because they CAN’T bear their difference! Close Guantanamo detention camp! Stop supporting Israeli offense on Palestinians! Stop inhumane actions against Muslims all over the world! Stand up for women rights!
    My brothers also went to American schools, where one American Muslim girl was bullied by her teacher in front of class continuously for more than a month, JUST because she was a Muslim wearing headscarf. Go to CAIR website and read how some teachers in the U.S are trying to scold students for nothing but their religion. However, be aware I never talked negatively about American schools based on my experience because many others have positive experiences. I am being just as Islam taught me. Therefore, you can’t say that Saudi schools make us think like sheep. My elementary education was in Saudi Arabia and I wasn’t taught as a sheep. I am smart, happy and healthy person. I wasn’t taught to hate other people even from other religions. I was never taught to be a terrorist. I was smart and happy kid. We need lots of changes in our educational system, I AGREE, but according to our culture not yours. You are a foreigner in our country, respect the country’s culture and of course we respect yours. You do not have right to impose your beliefs on us.
    I don’t understand why you said that I am “being ridiculous about the underwear thing”, I told you my opinion in that issue, and I am free to do so. If you do not care read and do not comment :-)
    Finally, you do not understand what I am saying because you can’t understand the culture or how society is structured. You are viewing Saudia from American eyes and that is wrong. You have to understand the society as it is to find the best solution. I am against driving without having all pre-requisites for it. Driving isn’t a priority; we have other problems that need to be solved before discussing driving.
    You do not have the right to talk like if I do not stand for human rights that is totally unjust from you. Therefore, I would like to tell you that if you are not satisfied in my country, go back to your country where freedom and happiness. SAUDI WOMEN are capable of defending themselves and we do not need more people to interfere into our internal matters. I do not need to think again, but you need to think again about your stay if it makes you so mad, un-accepting and even un-relaxed.

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  77. I don't have time to answer all your questions. And since you have the opinion that women don't buy underwear from men in your country it gives me an idea of how your mind works. But of course that is your opinion, and when I see those lingerie shops staffed by men I am probably just imagining things.

    First of all- I respect many of your people- and I respect Islam (I am a Muslim) but no, I no longer respect many aspects of your culture. I have lived here many years. I have not only a right to my opinions, I have the right to try to influence things. Not just a right but a duty. My children are Saudi citizens, and I have worked with many fine Saudi women who did NOT get paid salery equal to a man's and who spent almost all their income on taxi-transport. Since their own better-off countrywomen would rather pretend all Saudi women are happy and fairly treated, it falls to others to speak up for them. All those questions you asked me about the west? (I took out the one about equal pay- having already answered that)

    "I will ask you questions you are asking me Sandy:
    Why women in your country are beaten to death? Why are they raped? Why are they cheated on?
    Why they are imprisoned? Why are they harassed?

    Why they were not allowed to vote until years of suffering? Why young girls are being raped by their guardians?
    We never asked you because it is your own business."

    General answer. In the west we have codified laws that are meant for everyone. Everyone can use the court system and has certain rights for a trial.

    So ask those same quesstions about Saudi. All those things happen in Saudi Arabia. Recently in in one of the SAUDI papers they were discussing the case of the children abused (sexually) by their father,and then being handed back over to him because he is their guardian! That is what happens when you have uncodified law- and judges are free to "interpret" things as they like. I certainly hope you don't want to claim that is Islamic law. That sort of thing is why I say this country is NOT run by Islamic law. And no it is not just some bad people. When laws are uncodified and JUDGES and COURTS are making these rulings- then it is the legal system.

    Often, here, when a woman is raped she is punished. Women have learned not to speak up.- though I see a glimmer of hope here that this might be changing because at least the Saudi press is now free enough to print these things.

    As for all your stuff about Muslims mistreated in America- I see you feel free to comment on America, just as I comment on Saudi. Right now, I live in Saudi, and so that is where I try to change things. I do know that there are unfair things that happen in the States, and thankfully those people there have the same rights in the legal system.

    And no- I do not just look on your system through American eyes. I look on it through the eyes of a Muslim, a Woman, a mother, a member of a SAUDI family and a long-term permanant resident of this country.

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  78. I don't have time to answer all your questions. And since you have the opinion that women don't buy underwear from men in your country it gives me an idea of how your mind works. But of course that is your opinion, and when I see those lingerie shops staffed by men I am probably just imagining things.

    First of all- I respect many of your people- and I respect Islam (I am a Muslim) but no, I no longer respect many aspects of your culture. I have lived here many years. I have not only a right to my opinions, I have the right to try to influence things. Not just a right but a duty. My children are Saudi citizens, and I have worked with many fine Saudi women who did NOT get paid salery equal to a man's and who spent almost all their income on taxi-transport. Since their own better-off countrywomen would rather pretend all Saudi women are happy and fairly treated, it falls to others to speak up for them. All those questions you asked me about the west? (I took out the one about equal pay- having already answered that)

    "I will ask you questions you are asking me Sandy:
    Why women in your country are beaten to death? Why are they raped? Why are they cheated on?
    Why they are imprisoned? Why are they harassed?

    Why they were not allowed to vote until years of suffering? Why young girls are being raped by their guardians?
    We never asked you because it is your own business."

    General answer. In the west we have codified laws that are meant for everyone. Everyone can use the court system and has certain rights for a trial.

    So ask those same quesstions about Saudi. All those things happen in Saudi Arabia. Recently in in one of the SAUDI papers they were discussing the case of the children abused (sexually) by their father,and then being handed back over to him because he is their guardian! That is what happens when you have uncodified law- and judges are free to "interpret" things as they like. I certainly hope you don't want to claim that is Islamic law. That sort of thing is why I say this country is NOT run by Islamic law. And no it is not just some bad people. When laws are uncodified and JUDGES and COURTS are making these rulings- then it is the legal system.

    Often, here, when a woman is raped she is punished. Women have learned not to speak up.- though I see a glimmer of hope here that this might be changing because at least the Saudi press is now free enough to print these things.

    As for all your stuff about Muslims mistreated in America- I see you feel free to comment on America, just as I comment on Saudi. Right now, I live in Saudi, and so that is where I try to change things. I do know that there are unfair things that happen in the States, and thankfully those people there have the same rights in the legal system.

    And no- I do not just look on your system through American eyes. I look on it through the eyes of a Muslim, a Woman, a mother, a member of a SAUDI family and a long-term permanant resident of this country.

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  79. Why was it necessary to go out onto the streets for a cab?

    Isn't it possible to call a cab and have them meet you in front of your house?

    It's terrible that you can't drive while your husband is recovering!

    Adira

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  80. To Hamdah:
    It is by Law in Saudi Arabia that when man divorce woman , man take all the charge anf take in that process all the children who is above 6 years , all to his custody and be in total control even if it meant denying mother access to her children,and THIS HAPPENS ALOT.
    2nd , when i said Danish and Swedish women , those were examples of women in the world who are most liberated and very well mixed with men ..They don't face abuse as you tied the abuse with mixing.

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  81. To Hamdah again :
    As far i can see , Susie is more Saudi to me than many .She is acting more nationalistic than any Saudi women I know who have relaxed very much to the system of imported labor to the point that they became unconsciously blind about their problems and how to solve them..More Saudi women need to get out of their shells, and speak about their problems in the open ,speak about what they want,and in the final get what they want .No more hiding behind men ,and get bits and pieces of whatever men through to them..If that what you like Hamdah..then that's fine ,but do not try to discourage the ones who want to be on their own.

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  82. Dear Susie....love your blog
    after reading most of the comments here i can't help but ask if the Saudi Ladies have ever heard of the suffragette movement? I bet if all the ladies ( those who wanted to of course )got together removed their hijab, got into their cars and drove there would be too many for the morality police to handle.I am sure the men of KSA would get the message.As for being hit , ever thought of hitting back. Men who abuse women and children are usually cowards.

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  83. Sandy- you didn't answer my questions because you can't, not because you don't have time !

    Thank you for your additions, that is your opinion, you are free to be vocal about whatever you see appropriate!

    I said what I believe in and I am not forcing others to talk about things, but leave SAUDI women talk on their behalf. That is all I said !


    Thanks again.

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  84. A free spirit- I didn't say that Susie is not part of our country as a wife of a Saudi (I respect Susie because she is polite when talking about my country and she is just- she mentioned good and bad not only bad).

    Second, things I said are my opinions, I am free to say whatever I believe in!

    Who told you that I like to be controlled by men. By the way, my family are supporters of women driving including males in the family, so it's my choice!

    Hope you understand :-)

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  85. Sandy- your information about women get paid less than men is inaccurate and I am sure about it. Recheck your information please!

    When man and woman have the same job- same working hours- they are paid alike! No tiny difference!

    But in the U.S, they are not!

    You said that democracy is to treat men and women alike, why aren't you doing it in the U.S?

    Also, I want you to reply to anonymous who told us to take off our hijab, since you are a Muslim!

    Your duty is also to defend obligations and rights of Muslim women.

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  86. @ Hamdah-
    I can only imagine you are speaking about government positions for equal pay. And I would be curious to know how many work position like that are available. There are very few "exact" jobs for men and women. And in the US the same is pretty much true as well. The men have often been paid more because of seniority- so NOT the exact same position- though the gap is closing. But I do agree it definately needs improvement. At least however- in the US women can work.

    you said

    "Sandy- you didn't answer my questions because you can't, not because you don't have time !"

    -this is not an opinion, by the way- this is you making a claim and passing judgement on my intentions.

    and

    "Also, I want you to reply to anonymous who told us to take off our hijab, since you are a Muslim!

    Your duty is also to defend obligations and rights of Muslim women."

    I don't care who you want me to reply to- do it yourself. It is not for you to tell my my obligations and rights.

    I stand up for Muslim women in Saudi Arabia- by speaking the truth about the oppression and lack of Islamic rights they have. That's how I choose to do my duty.

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  87. Once again you are escaping from admitting that your country lacks human rights too.

    I will stand up for women rights that are more important than driving "in my opinion" at least for the moment.

    In our country, men also can't find jobs, so it is not the case of sorting women out, or keeping them behind in one way or another, it is a problem of increasing unemployment.

    You said: "It is not for you to tell me my obligations and rights." But at the same time you are telling me what to do, what are my obligations and how I should live my life! Isn't that contradictory!?

    Think twice before you post a comment and do not let anger control you !

    Good luck on your calls for reform and Allah will know your intentions better that I do. If your intentions are good and I assume that "May Allah Bless you", but if not "May Allah guide you to the right path" !

    That is all I can say :-)

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  88. Oh yeah, my friend Julie is an American woman who works exactly the same job as her husband but are paid different, she is less!

    How do you define that?

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  89. Hamdah,
    This is earth not paradise. I never said the US was perfect. Just light years ahead of Saudi Arabia in terms of human rights for it's women. (I do feel in terms of foreign policy the US has an abysmal record- but that's not the topic of this post, which originated with women driving)

    As for your friend Julie and her husband I have no idea of the particulars- so I can't comment on it.

    If you are trying to say job opportunities are the same of men and women in Saudi you are wrong. Do you need examples?

    I do not recall telling you how to live your life in any of my comments- if I did, I'd just ignore me :)

    Ummmm...you would have no idea how angry or not, I might be- and how much it might be controlling me. And you certainly would have no idea how many times I do, or do not think about what I post. So you are unqualified to advise me on either.

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  90. Salam Alaikum/Hello everyone,
    My family and I are planning on living in KSA very soon (september) I would love to meet or talk to some residents there. I will be living and working as a English teacher in Baha city ...I am a French Muslim woman and my address email is: b.elhame@gmail.com
    I'd love to learn more about the life there and meet friends so please email me...I am very excited and a bit worried at the same time!! Thanks!!
    Salam

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  91. hello again Susie, and still love your blog...

    forgot to add the whole world will be with you, supporting you

    Aussie Lady

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  92. Good Morning Susie , Hope you have a lovely day....

    To the Saudi Ladies, be inspired by Nojoud Mohammed Ali, 8 years old took a taxi to the court house by herself and won her divorce...betcha she will drive a car when she gets to be a big girl..just saying !

    cheers...Aussie Lady

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  93. To Hamda :
    I can understand why Susie talks about problems in KSA ,because she lives in KSA..Had she was residing in USA,I am sure she would have talked there about USA issues that will fill many pages . Right Susie?lol

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  94. Sandy, live and let live ! Also, if you do not like my advise ignore it, it won't bother you by the way, it's just a comment he he :-)

    Elhame, Baha city is my hometown, I was born there, I will send you couple of emails about it later tonight.

    Thanks Susie for your blog !

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  95. Just a joke;
    In revenge to women driving ,men will recruit women drivers to balance up the period women have been getting men drivers for the past 40- 50 years .How about that Susie .lol

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  96. Wow Susie! I look forward to reading your blog posts but I look forward more to reading all the comments! Very entertaining!

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  97. I've just finished reading Hilary Clinton's book "living story". I will quote interesting excerpt from her book, "Our all-female college guaranteed a focus on academic achievement and extracurricular leadership we might have missed at a coed college. Women not only ran all the student activities―from student government to newspaper to clubs―but we also felt freer to take risks, make mistakes and even fail in front of one another. It was a given that the president of the class, the editor of the paper and top student in every field would be a woman. And it could be any of us. ... This may explain why there is a disproportionate number of women’s college graduates in professions in which women tend to be underrepresented.
    The absence of male students cleared out a lot of psychic space and created a safe zone for us to eschew appearances―in every sense of the word―Monday through Friday afternoon. We focused on our studies without distraction and didn’t have to worry about how we looked when we went to class."

    and she continued saying: "Walking into my daughter’s coed dorm at Stanford, seeing boys and girls lying and sitting in the hallways, I wondered how anyone nowadays gets any studying done."

    So, is Hilary wrong too?

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  98. [Responding to Hamdah's post about Hilary Clinton]:
    I agree that it is important that women have and can create safe spaces to be leaders and to contribute to their societies, whether we live in Saudi Arabia or any other country. So reflecting on Hilary Clinton's student days provides us with food for thought.

    Another thought I have is that all societies should do what they can to reduce barriers to women's participation. (This includes my own country, Australia, where issues of discrimination against women are still crying out to be resolved - including pay equity, sexism and family violence).

    As Susie's post about women driving invites us to reflect upon this issue, I will make another comment about this: If women must rely on a male family member or pay a male driver to transport them to venues where they can contribute their skills, this makes women more dependent on men, potentially reducing their capacity to carve out their own safe spaces that Hillary Clinton refers to.

    Susie's post has just told us how something as simple as going shopping can be extremely difficult if the designated male driver is unable to drive.

    I would agree with many other posts that, although some women will decide not to drive and this decision respected, women should be able to choose whether they wish to do so, in order to assist them to participate in a meaningful way in the community.

    Regards

    Kristina

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  99. Kristina,

    Thank you so much for your educated and thoughtful post.

    I agree with you that restrictions on women should not be based on gender, but nature.

    Women should be given rights that will ensure a happy life for all.

    Thanks for your addition.


    Hamdah

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  100. i've been through the whole cab thing, its ridiculous.

    i now have a driver that picks and drops me from work. and he is happy to help anyone out as well if you need a transport. he takes like 10-15 riyals per trip and speaks english. if anyone wants his number i'll be happy to help :)

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  101. Indeed, I have always played this scenario in my mind. What if I or my husband is hurt? I know how to drive... but right hand only. I can never throw my husband surprise birthday party or get him a gift or just go out for icecream on my own even.
    There is no fact or reason behind such a prohibition. Only fear and control by the men fuels such a law.
    Read about my near arrest as I had chanced to sit behind the driver's seat.
    http://mtrambling.blogspot.com/

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  102. @ Suroor,

    I hope you are joking.

    Chinese women's feet were bound because it was considered an aesthetic appeal, not because it was so that when their men beat them, they couldn't run away.

    The same reason why women risk spinal injuries wearing up to 12 inch heels, do multiple plastic surgeries, starve themselves into anorexic states, etc.

    The only thing I hate about it was that it was forced upon these women.

    A man who beat his wife was seen as a shame in Chinese culture because he had to resort to beating a weaker woman to get his point across.
    He was seen as not being able to instil respect in his own wife that he had to resort to beating her.

    She could take him to the magistrate to be punished for that.

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  103. I am from America and would like to address the conflicting views on women's pay rates versus men's pay rates. In most cases women ARE payed the same amount as men. I'm am sure that there are plenty of cases where that is not true, however it is now where near a common as it was 20 years ago. Many women in our country hold high level jobs and are very respected.

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