Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saudi Woman Makes Headlines - for Speeding in Dubai

It must have been a really slow news day for the Saudi Gazette and other newspapers in the region.

Articles with titles like "Speeding Saudi Woman’s Bentley Impounded in Dubai" and "Saudi Woman Fined for Speeding in Dubai" appeared in national Saudi newspapers and in Emirates 24/7 News. In fact the Emirates newspaper even published a lovely photo of the speeding Saudi businesswoman, Maha Makki.

Here is an excerpt from the Saudi Gazette article:

Maha Makki, a Saudi businesswoman, ran several red lights while speeding in her Bentley car in Dubai because she had an important business appointment she didn’t want to miss.
The traffic police however did not accept her explanation. She was fined heavily and her car has been impounded for 60 days.
Maha says she did not notice the red lights because she was in a hurry and that it was the first traffic violation she has ever had in her life. “Maybe I was driving a bit fast,” she said.


And why exactly is this news? Because the driver was a Saudi woman - no other reason. It's as if these newspapers are saying, "See? This is why we don't let women drive in Saudi Arabia. Women are bad drivers."

If this is truly news, where are all the articles which involve Saudi men who have committed traffic infractions? Because when men speed and run red lights, it's not news - but it is when WOMEN do!

Saudi Arabia ranks dead last in the entire world when it comes to traffic safety - gee, I wonder if that could be because only men are permitted to drive in KSA? It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out.

These newspapers should be ashamed of themselves for turning this incident into propaganda, for supporting discrimination against Saudi women, and for perpetuating the myth that women are not safe drivers. I am totally disgusted.

34 comments:

  1. Great points once again, Susie! I too am disgusted but not surprised.

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  2. She seems to be some sort of successful in her own right television personality in Dubai.

    She's quite pretty too!

    She's a prolific poster of photos on the net, most of them would likely be termed "immodest" in KSA.

    There are photos of her variously, driving, skin diving, appearing on TV in most modern western garb, plenty of close-ups of her makeup, face & hands. Plenty of photos with bra lines very very visible under her clothes.

    In every photo she's as cheery as can be. And the most clothed she ever gets is colourful blouse & slacks. Though in a few snaps she has her hair covered.

    It may be reasonable to presume this would all drive the Muttawa into a frenzy.

    She's likely quite affluent also.

    All the boys here want to know if she's "taken" or not. (Now that we've surfed the net & found a couple of hundred photos of her)

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  3. Well, this woman is hardly a safe driver !

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  4. You have to admit, though, that running "several red lights while speeding in her Bentley car in Dubai because she had an important business appointment" is callous drivesmanship...or drivespersonship...by any standard.

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  5. I gotta say that with an attitude like that the woman should not be on the road. I think the papers were just fine in reporting her but I will agree with you that they should be reporting men as well. The fact that she ran not only one but several red lights is simply not acceptable no matter what sex you are. Add to that, her stupidness has just caused a major setback to Saudi women who want to drive.

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  6. You tell 'em, Susie...

    Now, if they'd said "Saudi woman unable to parallel park, read map..."

    OK, fair enough..Saudi men can't do either of those either. ;)

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  7. I'm disgusted too. Again, it's the new millenium and women are STILL treated as second class citizens!

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  8. Just to be clear, I am not condoning the way Ms. Makki was driving. But to single her out and make her bad driving day fodder for newspapers just because she is a Saudi woman - that's what I have the problem with. I have seen young Saudi men driving much more erratically and unsafely on a daily basis - they scare me to death. None of them are ever pulled over, given tickets, or have their cars impounded - and they most certainly have never made the headlines for their horrible driving.

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  9. Driving in Saudi goes like domino effect.One make a small error ,then the thing multiplies all around ..One has to admit that it should be a top priority to any government to put an end to this craziness. Majority in the US take their driving seriously,I have to complement them for that. I wish police over there train our police over here.

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  10. Susie,
    I was thinking of you on Saturday morning. I was driving my truck (F-150) on the highway to do a few errands. It was a lovely, sunny morning here in Boston... and I thought how confined you must feel not being able to do something as simple as hop in your car on a beautiful day to get a few errands done.

    There is such a sense of freedom in being able to get in the car and just GO.

    No wonder the powers that be don't want women to drive... imagine if women felt the FREEDOM of driving... the powers that be would have a revolution on their hands!
    LauraLaz

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  11. I got that, Susie but ... but what she did was terribly wrong.

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  12. Wendy - again, you're not listening to what Susie said. Please read her again : "Just to be clear, I am not condoning the way Ms. Makki was driving. But to single her out and make her bad driving day fodder for newspapers just because she is a Saudi woman - that's what I have the problem with. I have seen young Saudi men driving much more erratically and unsafely on a daily basis - they scare me to death. None of them are ever pulled over, given tickets, or have their cars impounded - and they most certainly have never made the headlines for their horrible driving."

    She couldn't be more clear.

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  13. And I also said earlier that everyone who is driving badly should be reported. I'm sorry they singled her out and I'm not surprised that they reported her because she's a female but that doesn't mean she should get away with that kind of thing.

    In fact all bad drivers should be fined heavily and have their cars impounded for repeated violations but we know that won't happen unless it's a woman driving. Having been in Bahrain and KSA I fully understand how bad the driving is and nobody should be getting away with it.

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  14. I live in the Emirates and used to live in Saudi. Although Susie makes some fair points, unfortunately this incident (and article) illustrates the typical selfishness and arrogance of many Saudi drivers. If you've run red lights and put lives in danger in a built up area, you should accept that you've been irresponsible and take your medicine, not arrogantly protest that you were late for a meeting, therefore implying you are more important than other road users. If Saudi women have the same mindset as Saudi men on road use, this bodes badly for when women are eventually given their long overdue right to drive - the current carnage on Saudi roads will merely be destined to escalate.

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  15. To Anonymous @ 1:24 AM - Thanks for your comment. I am appalled at the way Saudi men drive in KSA, and apparently they drive the same way in the Emirates. I am constantly telling my husband, "That driver must be so much more important than we are!" But how many of these men have been written up in the newspapers for their horrible driving? I still maintain that it is unfair discrimination to single out this female Saudi driver if men are not treated in the same manner.

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  16. Hi Susie:

    I am not the biggest fan of how Saudi Arabia treats people whether male or female so I am somewhat biased anyway. I tend to think that they report what they want for their interest and their interest at this time is to slow the progress of women. Especially now that so many people around the world are really following the rights of Saudi women. The topic of driving is one where I keep hearing bring me proof that woman are allowed to drive. My stance is bring me proof where women are not allowed to drive. Why should women prove something that just doesn't exist. This tactic is thrown out there for people to chase their tail. It is nothing more than a stall technique. Women need to start being blunt and calling a spade a spade. They also need to stand together and support one another. There are many men who support their cause and they can draw strength from this. At some point the gloves have got to come off. This action is an expansion of rights that should already be in place nothing more.

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  17. I understand Susie's position here but I will argue it yet again. The woman was irresponsible to say the least. We all should be roll models and not act like spoiled ignorant brats. It's too bad she got singled out but that is the way life is and that is especially the way life is in the ME for women. They should learn to understand this old quote and to follow it to actually show the those in the ME that women are strong, smart, reliable and not spoiled brats. It seems to me they have no understanding about how if you want to achieve something you need to work hard at it and not make mistakes. Instead of being upset that this woman got singled out (what is different about that anyway) everyone should be saying what a stupid arrogant bimbo she was and that she should NOT be driving. Never mind what men do, that's not the issue. She should have been setting a good example!!!!
    “Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”
    ~ Charlotte Whitton

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  18. but isnt the underlying issue of the article not that she drove through red lights, not that she is a woman, not that she has a Bentley - but that in Saudi she is not permitted to drive while in the UAE (and other places) she can and does (all be it disgracefully).
    Add on all the extras like Bentley, Pretty, Cutting Lights and you have 'News' possibly self-created for her own publicity or to ram the point home (so to speak)

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  19. From what i know in dubai, Saudis in general (both males and females) are not looked favorably because they often get arrested for speeding, public drunkeness and other such stuff.

    As a matter of fact among the foreign visitors to Dubai, it is usually the saudis who break a lot of traffic rules. Dubai has very strict traffic rules.

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  20. Wendy:

    I can't tell you how disappointed I am in your post. It invoked an old quote as well although I don't know who stated it. Of course I will start with the old stand by of excuse my french: "What a bunch of horseshit." First let's tackle your quote:

    “Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”
    ~ Charlotte Whitton

    Nice quote completely and utterly slams men so no points there. You have now ensured that what every male help you could get is gone. Men do have egos and they don't like playing (typically - Inside joke here Ajub) with someone who insults them. They will leave you all by yourself. There are good men who wholeheartly believe that women should have this right and many more rights. Don't snipe at them in general keep the issue to specific men such as fundalmentalist. Next issue is that a job is a job. If a job needs to be done it gets done at 100%. I am not sure how you do a job twice as well unless you are doing the job of others. Then you are just seen as a fool. I promise you that if you say you will take care of this, that, yours, mine and theirs then you can do twice or three times as much but your are seen as an idiot, suck up and sucker. There is no respect. As far as the last part of if where women are thought of as half as much. How would you know first of all and second who cares. It is not about how much others think of you but what you demand from them. If you are satisified with or expect half the respect then you get it. If women follow this quote they have shot themselves in the foot. You set yourself up for failure trying to prove that you can out do and out perform men. THAT IS NOT EQUALITY. THIS IS SELF-FLAGULATION. Women need to just do the job or take care of themselves at the same level as men. This however, doesn't stop a woman from obtaining a higher education, seeking new enlightenment, becoming the best kick-boxer around, continue list. It also doesn't stop a man from doing the same. Stop trying to be better than a man that is not what you want. What you want is to bring women up to the level of a man in rights and opportunities without degradating a man's position. We are supposed to be complementing one another not beating each other up. This is distracting to the cause.

    Now this one just chaps my backside.

    "everyone should be saying what a stupid arrogant bimbo"

    If you have any respect for your gender you will not degrade them. Men and women are capable of great things; they are also capable of great mistakes. Thankfully, no one was hurt in her haste as she was not thinking towards what could happen in her traffic violation. That said, she was wrong. However, many and I do mean many men are capable of this and have without a doubt have engaged in risky, selfish, mindless behavior. Of which could be put into the paper to shame the person or gender. The term bimbo is where you throw the female gender under the bus. Bimbo generally means a attractive, unintelligent, promiscuous female. Other than attractive there is nothing else that you can actually substantiate. Men have no problem latching on to the fact that other women think that other women are bimbos or idiots. They will pick up on this, hoist you into their camp of repression and run with it. DON'T GO DONE THIS ROUTE. SELF-DEFEATING.

    Next issue:

    "Never mind what men do, that's not the issue."

    Yes mind what men do because that is in fact the issue. Men are allowed to drive, go where they want (for the most part), get a job, etc. If you want what a man wants or to have the right of a man then you better mind what men do and what they have. AGAIN, DON'T HOLD YOURSELF ABOVE A MAN. SELF-FLAGULATION. Why do women judge themselves at a higher standard than men. STOP IT. SELF-DEFEATING.

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  21. Wendy:

    Finishing up:

    Now, should Susie have posted this and noted the double standard. ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!!!! Let me tell you, men will not take note of much when it is neither brought up or when their feet are not held to the fire. In showing the double standard you are in fact, teaching both men and women that they must be judge on the same level and you expect nothing less.

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  22. I don't know if you follow the local news closely, but Mrs. Makki was not singled out, there were a few articles this summer about Saudi MALE drivers who were given hefty fines in the Emirate for exceeding the speed limit. Please take into account that not only was she speeding, she also ran "a few red lights”!!!

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  23. Bigstick ... let me tell you that I am a Canadian woman of mature years who has come through womens liberation and has fought for women's rights most of my life. I have had my own business for 20 years and have lived on my own without a man around for a few of those 20 years. Canadian men would not feel put down by the quote but would agree with it as they understand what women are capable of and it's a lot more than men. Most Canadian men will freely admit they can not work outside the home, run the home, raise the children and look after their wife all at the same tiem. It's a piece of cake for a Canadian woman and free women in general. Oh and take a look at how strong African are!!!Also where I come from 'bimbo' does not mean promiscuous but that the women is brainless. It means someone who acts like that ignorant Saudi women driver in the article.

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  24. I don't know Wendy but I think I like to give the next generation sometime more realistic and balanced. Heck that's just me though. I personally hate lying to women about how easy it is and that it is a piece of cake. I like to try to actually help them have the best life possible with balance and self-respect. Call me silly. Why should women be told to use the wheel that still needs a lot of work. That wheel which is the rallying cry of your quote, I can do it twice as well for half the worth. Also check out the dictionary for that wonderful word "Bimbo" for its full effect.

    Of course free is a relative term.

    Are you truly free by being a slave in proving how liberated you are, by doing it all?

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  25. Slave to myself maybe. I'm not owned by anybody and don't have to answer to anybody except myself. I control my own life including my own income and bank accounts. I own a beautiful home and have a great life. I do not need to be 'helped to have the best possible life for balance and self-respect'. I have and do those things for myself because NOBODY can do that for another person. I have all those things and more as well as a sense of great accomplishment. You sound like your a very patronizing person. Enjoy it. I would imagine that only those women who are not patronized can fully understand what freedom is. Only those men who enjoy lives with free women can appreciate what a joy that can be.

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  26. Hi Susie... how's "Captain Kabob" doing? Something tells me he's probably outgrown the moniker :) and probably appreciates his privacy a bit more at this point, but I enjoyed your posts about his experiences in KSA, and his musical interests etc. I don't think you've posted about him in quite a while. Would he be interested in writing about his re-acculturation experiences?

    Best....

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  27. Hi Anonymous @8:43 PM - Capt. Kabob is in his final year of high school. It will be a great cause for celebration the day he gets his diploma! He still desires a career in the music business. Hopefully I'll do an update about him soon. Thanks for asking about him.

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  28. Wendy:

    I think you miss the point. I am quite aware of women's liberation. It has it pros and cons. On one hand women opened the doors for themselves, on the other hand many are too tired to enjoy it. Many women in order to have that freedom were and in many waya are expected to constantly do more and it has lead to them being taken advantage of leaving women tired and sometimes lonely. I am not trying to be patronizing I am saying that if you want equality then make it equality. Don't make it where you do all the work and men watch. That is not equality. Superwoman becomes superputty. Too tired to reap the benefits. Next, I absolutely hate when women kick other women for mistakes and keep on it. Men go, yeah he paid for moving on. Women having a habit of jumping on other women beating them up. What the heck is that all about, seriously don't women have enough problems for themselves and lack of support. You don't need women taking another woman's nose and then shoving in crap. Men and women do things of this nature, but you watch people go after women more. Rarely do you hear a guy go he is a dumb ignorant (insert insult). What is interesting is it is typically women who do this instead of men. Women have enough problems without other women beating them up. Equality means equality. If you are striving to out do others and prove you are better then that is not equality. Re-read what I have posted. You can be a slave to anything as well. I think in some ways women liberation has set women up for failure in that she is expected to do too much. There needs to be a balance. I personally think your privileged life of owning your own business and calling the shots in that respect has tainted real world everyday struggles for women. Most women work for a business or government and are many times bound by restrictive inflexible schedules while trying to fit the responsiblities of a family into it as well.

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  29. Wow Susie:

    If this continues. Freedom to drive is going to be the least of women's problems. I have attached the link.

    http://americanbedu.com/2011/11/29/saudi-arabia-watch-out-for-the-haia-muttawa/ in Saudi.

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  30. Glad to hear he's doing well, Susie. :)

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  31. Susie, I did not miss your point. I am trying to make another one albeit badly apparently. I still say she deserved to be reported on and fined for her ridiculous behaviour and I still say that all people who break the law should be reported on equally. I have no sympathy for her or for the fact that she was singled out as a woman. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour and if it's selectively reported that is too bad. If it had been me telling the story it would have been about how stupid the woman was and not how she was singled out. Sorry but that's the way I see it.

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  32. Wendy:

    I understand your point that you are proud of your accomplishments and you should be. I know there was a cost attached to getting the freedoms in your country and as well as mine. I agree with you on many points, it just my belief that each generation shouldn't have to pay so dearly for the right of equality. I do however believe that women should stand in solidarity to protect that which they have gained, to help other women gain freedom and continue to strive to obtain equality in areas that fall short of it. We are both in agreement that she was wrong and there was no excuse for her actions. Keep fighting the good fight and congratulations on all your accomplishments.

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