Monday, May 23, 2011



Manal Al-Sharif is a 32-year-old Saudi mother of a five-year-old son. She was reportedly arrested for a second time, this time allegedly in the middle of the night by a brigade of 9 police officers. According to Sabq Newspaper, Manal will remain in custody for five days for driving, for letting herself be filmed while driving, for posting the video online, and for inciting other Saudi women to break the law by driving. Some sources also say that her brother was arrested as well.

One would think that the international outrage would be enough to embarrass the Saudi government into granting women their god given right to drive, however unfortunately the Saudi government has never been too concerned about its image to the rest of the world when it comes to women's rights. Strong independent women in Saudi Arabia are viewed as a threat to the male dominance and, hence, must be eliminated. Shame on Saudi Arabia for violating and denying its women's rights and dignity.

Here is another article issued by the Associated Press regarding Manal's re-arrest.


  1. As a Muslim woman, I am not happy with the un-Islamic strictures placed on my sisters in Saudi. It is one of the reasons I would not want to live in the land of my Prophet (saws).

    That said, as a mother I find it hard to understand why she would drive AND post a video of it. Not that a mother cannot stand up for her rights but with a 5 month old baby at home depending on her, I find it irresponsible. She broke the law purposefully and knew the consequences.

    I think there are better ways to protest the unfairness.

  2. Hi Umm Aaminah - Thanks for your comment. The problem is that for far too long Saudi women have just sat back and done or said nothing, even though many would like to see changes in the way women are treated in Saudi Arabia. Wajeha al-Huwaider has been trying to get Saudi women to join in this fight for many years, and other women have been too afraid to back her.
    Finally, in view of the discontent and protests seen in other Middle Eastern countries earlier this year, many more Saudis have gained inspiration that change can and should happen. SOMEONE had to step up and DO it. Not all laws are good or just and it is our duty as citizens to object when that is the case, whether we have a baby at home or not.
    Manal, Najla, Wajeha, and all other Saudi women who are stepping up to say "Enough!" are heroes in my book.

  3. Hi Susie,

    thanks for posting on this subject. I think Manal Hanim is very brave... and I think you're pretty brave too! Your tone (and maybe views) have changed so much since I first started reading your blog four or five years ago. Are you at all worried that you might have some negative fallout at some point for your public, critical words?

    I live in TR and I find that I self-censor to a degree because discussing cultural differences can lead to interpretation of "insulting" Turkishness, and when you deal with youth, as I do, things can be misunderstood pretty easily. And censorship is picking up here. Just recognizing how affected I feel in my own circumstances, I wonder about your feelings and what risks you might run.

    No explanations owed, you know... just putting it out there. :)

    BTW, you haven't written about Captain Kebab in a while. How is he re-acculturating to the US? That can be so hard -- even harder than leaving, I sometimes think. Sending well-wishes his way! And yours!

  4. The gyst of it is that there is no law against women driving...It's purely cultural. Technically, she didn't break the law.

    She was caught driving with her brother in the car as well. They have detained her again and she was sentenced to 5 days in jail, which means 5 days away from her son, for not breaking any laws...

  5. So infuriating... Abdullah Al-Saud (the Saudi King) talks about giving women more freedom and equal rights but he still hasn't made it legal to let women drive?!

    $#^@&!( !!!!!