I've written several posts about Manal al-Sharif, the young Saudi mother who was arrested and jailed last year because she dared to defy the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia. I am pleased to post this video of Manal speaking at the 4th annual Oslo Freedom Forum, which was held in Norway May 7th throught May 9th, 2012.
Manal's 17 minute speech at the forum follows historical events in Saudi Arabia since 1979, the year of her birth. She talks about how these events paralleled her own story of how she evolved from being a brainwashed, indoctrinated extremist into a brave female freedom fighter struggling for Saudi women's rights and dignity. Believing the propaganda, that she was just one of the invisible women of Saudi Arabia, she says, "We were voiceless, we were faceless, and we were nameless."
The change for Manal happened in the year 2000 with the introduction of the internet, which opened up the doors to the outside world for many in her generation of brainwashed youth. She began to question the narrow views she had been taught all her life - about music, about religion, and her phobias about being exposed to the decadence and evils of the West.
It is a very powerful and fascinating speech. I highly recommend that you take the time to listen to this young woman who has become a symbol for the women's rights movement in Saudi Arabia.