Ahmed Al Omran is a young Saudi journalist whose voice is loud, strong and respected in Saudi Arabia and around the world. With a degree in journalism from Columbia University, Ahmed's writings have appeared in various worldwide publications. In 2004, Ahmed began writing his popular blog "Saudi Jeans," which focuses on current events and his views pertaining to political and social issues in Saudi Arabia. The following article written by Ahmed appeared on NPR.org and has first hand accounts and sound clips of several Saudi women who got behind the wheel on June 17 and took to the streets in Saudi Arabia, where women are banned from driving.
'A Historical Moment': The Saudi Women Challenging A Government By Driving
By Ahmed Al Omran
Fridays in Riyadh are usually slow and lazy, as the sprawling city only begins to wake up after the noon prayers. But this past Friday, a women's rights issue that's been brewing for decades spilled onto the streets.
Thursday, June 16, Najla Barasain wasn't sure if she would get behind the wheel. The 25-year-old had been driving her Kia Optima sedan for the past 10 months in Greensboro, N.C., where she goes to school. Barasain is pursing a master's degree in business administration there, but was back in Saudi Arabia for her summer break.
She read accounts on social media sites of other women who had driven their cars and that encouraged her. She felt she had to make a statement on this day. She told her father who was reluctant because he didn't want to get in trouble. But eventually he agreed to sit in the passenger seat and let his daughter drive.
To continue reading this article and hear the sound clips, click here to go to the NPR site.