Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saudi Women's Lives Full of Contradictions

It's difficult to explain the daily contradictions Saudi women face living in their male-dominated ultra-conservative Islamic country. Fellow blogger EMAN AL NAFJAN, who writes SAUDI WOMAN, has managed to express how utterly confusing life really is in the following article she wrote for the Guardian...

Life for Saudi women is a constant state of contradiction
Saudi Arabia's political paradoxes mean that a woman can be elected to parliament – but she'll need a man to drive her there

What's it like being a Saudi woman? A common question I've come to expect from outsiders – even fellow Arabs. The restrictiveness of the guardianship system, gender segregation and a persistently sexist culture add up to create an exotic and mysterious lifestyle that is difficult to not only explain but also to comprehend.

How do you explain the ingrained paradox of the driving ban on women? The point of the ban is that women avoid situations that lead to them mixing with and meeting men. However, the ban then leads to the necessity of hiring a strange man and getting into the car with him on a daily basis.

How do you explain the huge amounts of money the government spends on educating and training women, so much so that 60% of college graduates in Saudi are women – educating and training all these women, despite the fact that gender segregation laws makes employing them virtually impossible.

How do you explain that this is the way of life that the average Saudi wants for his or her country, when anyone getting on a plane leaving Saudi cannot help but notice how quickly the Saudi passengers abandon their abayas and conservative mannerisms?

A country of contradictions; Saudis have coined an Arabic phrase to explain the unexplainable that translates into "Saudi exceptionality". This past week Saudi exceptionality did not disappoint.

After years of Saudis campaigning and petitioning the king to lift the women driving ban and ease the restrictiveness of the guardianship system, King Abdullah decreed last week that women would be allowed as full members of the Saudi parliament and would be allowed to vote and run in future municipal elections. In bafflement, we celebrated the decree.

Then, within a couple of days of the decree, a Saudi woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for driving her own car. Although women are banned from driving, they have never been sentenced to physical punishment for it. The usual is signing a pledge and in extreme cases paid suspension from their jobs and prison sentences that are never more than a few days.

Local political analysts believe that this lashing was some sort of reaction from the judicial courts to the king's decree. A national and international outcry soon followed and the woman was later pardoned but the contradiction still stands. So in 18 months' time a Saudi woman can be a member of parliament providing that her male guardian allows her to and she finds a man to drive her there.

How do Saudis explain that? It depends on where they stand concerning women's rights issues. Those for women's rights commend the wisdom of empowering women at the highest levels of decision-making so that their voices will trickle down to create real change in the everyday life of the average Saudi woman.

Women members on the Shura council will help bring issues such as child marriages and the unemployment rate for women to the forefront. However, those who oppose the decision see it as the government bending to international pressure. To them, the recent campaigns by organisations such as Amnesty International and have pushed the government to go against the will of the people.

Either way, the end result is the same, another paradox. Another item to add to the list of things that make explaining what it's like being a Saudi woman difficult; another illogical milestone in Saudi history. The only consistency is "Saudi exceptionality".


  1. Yet another article, couched in flowery veiled words, on the lack of progress in Saudi.

    Exotic contradiction?


    Common hypocrisy is more like it.

    Evidently the Saudi women (and men) must like things the way they are. After all, women are over 50% of the population and put up with being marginalized, treated like imbecile children who need to be protected from the other half of the species. As to those men who cannot control or behave themselves—the fact is that they had mothers and fathers who raised them that way—to disrespect women. Odd that Saudi men seem to curb their prurient urges and obsessions when they travel abroad, since behaving as they do in Saudi would get them arrested in a flash. Driving a car as they do in Saudi would also be cause for the police to take notice.

    "Saudi exceptionality”?

    Saudi exceptional hypocrisy—the so-called “will of the (Saudi) people” is putting the rest of the world to sleep. It is like watching grass grow. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Saudi is not actually a “man’s world” either because most of the work is done by expatriates. If there were real men in Saudi they would make sure that the women who gave them life were not marginalized and ill treated. They would insist that the mothers of their children were treated as equals instead of chattel. They would ensure that their country could progress with all its human capital, men and women working together, side-by-side, toward the good of the nation. As it stands, at least until the oil runs out, Saudis remain firmly indolent and nihilistic in their imagined superiority and exceptionalism while the rest of the world actually moves forward.

    Whining and complaining will get these women what they have always gotten—exactly nothing!

    Once the oil does run out, things will go backward for both men and women; perhaps then women will be permitted to at least ride camels again since expensive, infidel cars will be unaffordable. In the meantime, the world will continue to be entertained watching Saudis chasing their tails in their three-ring-circus.


    (Susie, are you going to return to the magic kingdom?)

  2. I'm wondering IF and WHEN women will be able to enter the shura council which kind of women will enter? I mean those women who will keep the status quo (just look in Yemen where women protested on the street AGAINST the banning of child marriage) or average women who thinks that it is ok to drive, work or going abroad WITHOUT a male permission?

  3. I get so tired of reading about the sad lives of Saudi women through non-Saudis lol.

  4. @ Narianne - Unless you were born a Saudi woman, I think it's difficult to understand the deep cultural, familial, and religious influences which have been ingrained since birth. And yes, I am returning to KSA in the next few months.

    @ CountryGirl - This is one of my concerns - that women appointed to the Shoura Council will be very traditional and will not support the changes that many Saudi women want.

    @ Anonymous - The author of this article is a genuine Saudi woman, born and raised. I merely reprinted it.

  5. Susie, I can understand how life is maintained there. If one is born and bred with a certain culture/mind-set it is what you know ... it is the normal. If the Saudi wife has a nice husband, decent in-laws and money to spend she doesn't really care so much about the issues that bother us because she's not experienced life otherwise. That's what non-Saudis need to understand.
    What has made and will make a difference is the internet and open tv broadcasting. Youth see how others live and want some of it for themselves.

    When I was in KSA I was asked by people there whether I preferred KSA with it's shopping malls, paved everything, amenities, etc or Sudan. I answered that I LOVED Sudan. They couldn't understand it at all - even my reasoning. In Sudan people are (comparatively) free. Women can come and go as they like, men and women mix, there is public transit galore so people can get around and so on. It's hard to understand and appreciate freedom over wealth and amenities unless you've experienced it I guess. So as much as I dislike what goes on in KSA I can understand why women don't fight more against it.

  6. Susie, you were not born a Saudi woman and seem to “understand” the issues. Interesting that you would want to return. Will they let you back in after your latest salvo? ;)
    A culture is often best understood through the eyes of non-natives. Comprehending and agreeing are rather different issues. The human rights organizations, that regularly take Saudi to task, are not singularly made up of provincial Americans.

    It is easy to understand why so many Saudis like the status quo. Why not? Change is frightening and Saudis are not known for their bravery or adventurous spirit. Currently, most Saudis do not have to do anything but live off the rest of the world and consume, consume, consume. An article a few years ago written by a Saudi woman claimed that Saudi women want “all their rights” and they also want to be taken care of by men under the rules of Islam. In other words, many do not want to work or be productive. They want nannies to raise their children and men to provide.

    Anonymous said...”I get so tired of reading about the sad lives of Saudi women through non-Saudis lol.

    Eman is Saudi, born and bred. On that note, Westerners get very tired of reading about the “horrible, decadent, enslaved” lives of Western women written by Muslims who have either never been in the West or if they are in the West are clueless about the lives of Westerners because they will not assimilate, integrate or even avail themselves of anything but shopping. Muslim women in my city are prisoners in their own houses. Their men never even let them go to the markets. In the meantime, those men chase every skirt from 9 to 90 that comes their way.
    @ Wendy: I have always said that the media and the net will be the catalyst for change. Muslim women and men now see how others live. If they are thinking people they know that what they have been fed for eons about the West and especially our women are a pack of lies. The Arab Spring demonstrations are for democracy—which I doubt will actually happen.

    I recently saw an interview regarding the driving and women’s rights issues with Princess Nouf bint Fahd bin Khalid Al Saud, wife of the (supposedly) progressive Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud. Nouf is quite beautiful, (as only a woman with all the time and money in the world can be) was stylishly dressed, well spoken and did not wear an abaya or even a headscarf. She even shook the (male) interviewer’s hand. Nouf claimed that young Saudi women are “impatient” for changes. Still, she also couched her words and used flowery, “diplomatic” phrases especially when speaking of the king. The princess, of course, has all the freedoms that her wealth can buy while the ordinary Saudi woman, no matter what the claims, is mere chattel.
    Isn’t it interesting that the Saudis, who incessantly denigrate Western “greed, materialism and consumerism,” are shown to be much more materialistic, greedy and consume on a level unheard of anywhere else in the world, with the possible exception of Dubai or Kuwait.
    The Saudis clearly like the way things are or they would have changed everything long ago. To state that Western women only got the vote, etc. in the 20th century is a red herring. Western women, even in medieval times and other ages when women were chattel, were never, ever as restricted and male dominated as are Arab/Muslim women.
    Just once, I would love to read a substantive article on REAL progress in KSA and the middle east instead of the usual fluff pieces on how Saudi women are making “progress” by getting cashier jobs behind barriers or how youth are being taught crafts to make souvenirs for Hajjis. It is really, really pathetic and shameful!

    Since the Saudis have contributed so very little to human progress through the ages, one would think that they would want to make up for lost time with 100% of their population participating. Statistics show that the most progressive, enlightened, prosperous countries, are those where women have equal rights.

  7. Well said!!!
    Ultimate consumers is right. I have never seen so much shopping and spending in my life. My family couldn't understand why I generally bought nothing on our trips to the mall. My sister-in-law had over 50 coffee carafes and that's just one item that had been purchased in absolute excess. Unbelievable but then what else is there for them to do? Eat, visit, shop. No going for walks, no movies, no visits to art galleries ... nothing! Oh well, my lifestyle boggled many minds as well.

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  9. @Free Spirit - during my time in KSA I found very few Saudis who spoke English. They are certainly not in the majority IMHO not that it matters though.javascript:void(0)

  10. @A Free Spirit
    The foreign workers are there because Saudis do not want their women to work, be financial independent and in no longer need to be under their male relatives' mercy and not the other way around. Foreigners are making money on Saudis becuase it is possible and Saudi has allowed it and welcomed it. The whole of society has been buil from the start to function like this. No one forced Saudi to be a mideival society with all the modern luxuries, it chose to.

  11. No kidding, Wendy—50 coffee carafes!? Shop ’til you Drop! ;)

    A Free Spirit says: Here in Saudi .it is not so bad .You still get what you want

    I want EQUALITY because my gender is half of the human race! I want to come and go as I please, to be educated, to drive, to work, to vote, to play and wear what I want, when I want. I want freedom and not have a male guardian.
    Like many Westerners, I am concerned about Saudi because it is the most influential Islamic nation that is trying to push its Wahhab interpretation of Islam everywhere in the world. Over 80% of mosques in the U. S. are controlled by Saudis. The issue is similar in Europe, Eastern Europe and many other parts of the world. Mosque publications are very intolerant and hateful toward infidels. The free world does not want Wahhab/Salafist Islam to make gains. Most people resent Saudis and other Muslims demanding special privileges in nonMuslim countries, lobbying for sharia, while they force nonMuslims to live by Islamic rules in their lands. I do not give a damn about shopping in a black-bag!

    Whom shall we blame for the state of things in KSA but Saudis themselves? It is up to Saudis to fix their nation. No one will do it for them. Dreaming will not make it so. Actually working to gain freedoms and human rights is the only way.

    Not new, but perhaps you have not heard?Wikileaks: Saudis 'chief funders of al-Qaeda'

    Jobs: Article after article in the ME newspapers show that most Saudies are 1) Unqualified 2) Lazy. Many Saudis have Ph.D.s in some unmarketable field like linguistics or religion. Saudis demand to be managers before they have any experience. Most Saudis who are educated and skilled have gotten their educations in the West. One third of the Saudi population is expatriates. Only 3 million Saudi males work. Why does KSA not have one, single, solitary world class university? Why are Saudi educational institutions staffed by foreigners? Saudi women are 60% of university graduates, but most are still not permitted to work.

    Foreigners work very hard in Saudi be they in technology, science or the service sector. Saudis in their superiority are infamous for maltreating expatriates. The maid abuse scandals have resulted in some countries refusing to send workers to Saudi. Saudiization is not happening because of the above.

    I am multilingual, several with native fluency others much better than many Saudis speak English. English is not my native language. I have a post graduate education, am highly skilled and extremely well travelled and have lived in a number of different countries. You? Schooling, occupation? Where have you traveled/lived?

    It is a statistical fact that Saudis are some of the most voracious consumers on the planet. What else is there to do in the magic kingdom aside from shop and eat? Where are the cultural and recreational venues, the theaters, museums, galleries, movie houses, concert halls, parks, gyms, amusement parks, etc.? From what I have seen, Saudis consider wandering around their mega-malls and the Corniche, entertainment and having a picnic, recreation.

    No, the rest of the world are not “angels.” They are however, being productive in every field. That productivity allows Saudis to buy everything from the infidel world since Saudi has a singular economy. What does Saudi produce aside from oil, (which Westerners showed them how to harvest and process)? Dates? The Nobel Prizes are being awarded this week. How many have the Saudis ever won? (Fact: Muslims, who are one-fifth of humanity, have only won 7 Nobels.)

    “UNFAIR!” What is unfair about indisputable facts?

    If Saudis want change they had better get themselves in gear because, nobody cares whether they change or not. The only thing that the world cares about is Saudi oil and the non-proliferation of Wahhabism. Laws are being passed against Islamization. Energy independence is on everyone’s agenda.


  12. Question, Susie: Why is it that you only feature Western music on your blog?

    To continue, about women’s rights:

    The World Economic Forum 2009 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Saudi Arabia 130th out of 134 countries for gender parity. It was the only country to score a zero in the category of political empowerment. The report also noted that Saudi Arabia is one of the few Middle Eastern countries to improve from 2008, with small gains in economic opportunity.

    Saudi activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider compares guardianship to slavery:

    “The ownership of a woman is passed from one man to another. Ownership of the woman is passed from the father or the brother to another man, the husband. The woman is merely a piece of merchandise, which is passed over to someone else—her guardian ... Ultimately, I think women are greatly feared. When I compare the Saudi man with other Arab men, I can say that the Saudi is the only man who could not compete with the woman. He could not compete, so what did he do with her? ... The woman has capabilities. When women study, they compete with the men for jobs. All jobs are open to men. 90% of them are open to men. You do not feel any competition ... If you do not face competition from the Saudi woman ... you have the entire scene for yourself. All positions and jobs are reserved for you. Therefore, you are a spoiled and self-indulged man.”

    I mentioned that before. Saudi men are not sure of their masculinity because they are so unaccomplished in the world. Therefore, they imprison their women because they fear women could do better.

    According to Eman Fahad: “If you actually talk to ordinary people,” including in her circle, she said, “you’ll find that most people want things to stay the same.”

    That is exactly what I have been saying. Saudis seem to like the status quo or they would have changed it a long time ago.

    “My Guardian Knows What’s Best for Me.” is an anti-women’s rights campaign that has, Within two months of inception, … collected more than 5,400 signatures on a petition “rejecting the ignorant requests of those inciting liberty” and demanding “punishments for those who call for equality between men and women, mingling between men and women in mixed environments, and other unacceptable behaviors.”

    Punishment for those ignoramuses who no longer want to be slaves. In February, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Barrak, another prominent cleric, issued a fatwa that proponents of gender mixing should be killed.

    In danger of being murdered for having the audacity to want and demand freedom, equality and God-given human rights. The whole world, billions of people, gender mixes. But, of course, Saudis are exceptional; they are special; they are different from ALL of humanity.


  13. @ Marianne - It's music that I like.

  14. People like Marianne if they get a chance to rule some country in the middle east , they will have hard time striking a balance between religion ,traditions politics,globalization and world will be next to impossible for them to succeed.

  15. I don't like to be a guardian to anybody..! Who wants to be a guardian to anyone ..It is only the women of Saudi Arabia who want to be guardian against,, otherwise they will deem you inadequate . Stop blaming everything on Saudi men .Blaming and complaining by themselves will not get you anywhere..They will only block your vision and prevent you from doing further researches and readings ..Who is lazy now!! Please read more,, come visit Saudi,,mix with them and see everything for yourself before you through accusations and judgments ... Thanking you Susie for posting me again..

  16. @ Marianne - I'm wondering why you are so angry about KSA and it's people? I agree with you on several levels but I am not living there.One thing you said that I agree with and find very frightening is the rise of Wahabi/Salafism. They now have a foothold in Khartoum University and are "brainwashing" the students in huge numbers. The people are being oppressed more and more and the majority are not happy. Freedom and enjoyment of life are in very grave danger it seems. There has always been a strong tie between KSA and Sudan. :(

  17. Susie, don’t you like any Saudi or Arab music? I play a lot of me music. See, now that’s a positive in the culture. ;)

    A Free Spirit said...
    People like Marianne if they get a chance to rule some country in the middle east , they will have hard time striking a balance between religion ,traditions politics,globalization and world will be next to impossible for them to succeed.

    That is a really strange comment. I do not want to rule anyone and even if I did, the middle east would be my last choice. I prefer productive people like the Indians or the Chinese. ;)

    It is Muslims, especially the Saudi sunis, who dream of ruling all of humanity with a worldwide Caliphate. The Qur’an states Islam must reign, does it not?

    I always find that rather amusing, since most Muslims are illiterate and still living in the dark ages. Can you imagine if Muslims ran the world like their failed nations?

    Apparently you did not read my posts AFS. I am not blaming Saudi men for everything. I actually blame the women much more, since as you said they want guardians. Most people really could not care less whether Saudis ever get equal rights. We only care that they do not impose their backwardness on the rest of the world.

    As to being lazy and reading. My dear, I probably read more in a week than you do in a year. I have thousands of books, from literature to highly technical tomes in my personal library and even more on my computers.

    You did not answer my questions about your education, your profession, your travels. I work for a living, care for my family, do my own housework and do not have servants. How about you?

    I have had plenty of contact with Saudis other Arabs, Iranians, Pakistanis, Turks, etc. both in the U. S. and abroad. Why would I want to travel to a land where I am forced to wear a black-sack, cannot go out on my own and “mingle,” cannot drive, cannot visit the most important holy and historic sites and am in danger of being arrested for merely being a normal woman? You should be a real Free Spirit and travel to the West to observe how normal people live, work and play. No one will bar you from any house of worship and you will not be forced to wear a bikini. ;)

    @ Wendy

    I am not angry at all. It amuses and interests me to watch the Saudis chasing their tails, getting nothing done, but still proclaiming their superiority when in fact, they have such a backward way of life. I find it satisfying and important to point out the facts as a counter to their fantasies. Although, there are a few Saudis, like Ibrahim al Buleihi, who speak the truth. Google him for interview transcripts in English.

    You answered your own question as to what it means when Saudis get the upper hand: …”The people are being oppressed more and more and the majority are not happy. Freedom and enjoyment of life are in very grave danger it seems.”..

    Here is a report on the issue with lots of data: Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance

    “…Since the government of Saudi Arabia is trying to assert itself as the world’s authoritative voice on Islam, these religious texts have great significance. What is being taught today in Saudi public school textbooks about Muslims and how they should view their relations with other religions and cultures will influence a new generation of Saudis, as well as growing numbers of Muslims throughout the world who use these texts…”

    There are many quotes of what Saudis teach their children via official text books in all grades through university, approved by the Saudi Ministry of Education.

    • “Every religion other than Islam is false.”65

    • “Give examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity, paganism, etc.”67
    •“True belief means:…That you hate the polytheists and infidels but do not treat them unjustly.”70

    At the bottom of the report there is a Memorandum from Saudi regarding Human Rights. Do read the whole report.

  18. I ask you again, Marianne - in what area of the world do you live? As to your question of why would you want to travel to a land where you are forced to wear a black sack ... you do it so you can actually learn and experience something that you can't get second hand. I've been there. The black sack didn't kill me and I did NOT cover my head. Every time I travel to a new place I learn something about life. I also read a lot but it doesn't make up for the real experience.

  19. Hello Susie,

    Thank you for including this piece. It is an interesting read. It paints a picture of the strange contradictions that must be so infuriating to those who would like change to happen.

    It seems incredible that half the population can be so marginalized from public life. I also find it bizarre that a woman council candidate will have to rely on a male to escort her to any campaign gigs and if she is successful, parliamentary sittings.

    As an observer who has read many posts on this site, I notice that some contributions appear to me to be quite insensitive and smug about the comparative freedom enjoyed by people in the West. For example, although many points made by Marianne are arguably true, the way she frames her arguments about these injustices seems to reflect a desire to denigrate rather than share and consider. In addition, I am not Muslim but I regard her comment on Oct 5: “most Muslims are illiterate and still living in the dark ages” as bigoted and offensive.

    In the debate about how local people could try to make change happen, those of us who don't reside in KSA should be sensitive to the fact that individual people locally engaging in public demonstrations and other forms of direct confrontational opposition seriously risk their liberty, safety and lives. I am therefore very sympathetic to those like Eman Al Nafjan who seem to seek to engage people and spread their ideas about cultural change via electronic media.

    It is also easy for remote readers to criticise publicised efforts made by individual local people to bring about cultural change, for example about women becoming cashiers. Far from being pathetic and shameful, it would seem to me to be essential for steps to be made to integrate Saudi women into these day-to-day roles and to be interacting with others in all places within the community. For a country as gender segregated as Saudi, such developments may be baby steps. Without cultural change at this grass roots level though, how will political change be meaningful if a Saudi woman is elected to the local council?

    Regards from Australia Susie!


  20. Assalamu alaikum.

    For every complaint about Saudi life there can be many complaints about other countries, including USA.

    I do not know why the big deal about driving, other than being car sick by someone else driving the car..

    Truthfully I have been on the side of the road and the radiator ran out of fluids. Or stuck in another city having to rent a U-haul with a car trailer to tow my car back to my own city to get it fixed, as a single female I felt I was always being used to pay absorbant automotive fees. Having experienced the pit falls of having and driving an auto, you really understand why this and why that. Muslim women can and do drive cars,trucks and there is no shame, just for me if there is going to be a problem I would rather he stick his head under the hood of the car than me.

    Now that I am married my husband comes with me 98% of the time( and I do all the driving) and I am never bothered by his constant presence. I do know being completely not free is hard for the Western female, I understand if your husband wants you to ask his permission to leave the home that it is kind of annoying, but what also is annoying is being all alone to cope with problems of life and you really have to rely totally on yourself. As much as my dad taught me to change the oil in the car, I still prefer a man to do it.

    Your blog is very very nice one!

  21. I wrote a reply to you a few days ago Marianne. Perhaps Susie is away and didn't post it so I will try again.
    Where exactly is it that you live? What part of the world?
    You indicate that you have not travelled but that you read a lot. I will say that can read all the print you can find but you never know what it's really like in another country until you have been there.
    The report you want to read is one of many like it and I've read many of them. I don't agree with Saudi life, enforced religion or anything else but I understand how why the population accepts it.

  22. Hi Wendy - Sorry I didn't have internet access for the past few days. I have also received some complaints about Marianne's insults and will not be posting her comments unless she tones them down.

  23. @Habib the problem with having someone else driving you is that you MUST rely on someone else will....

    Sorry but for a western women it's totally crazy to ask permission to their husband to go out.

    Women and Men are EQUAL and i don0t see why if a man can rely on himself a woman can't. Many friend of mine (female and male) go to the gas station when they have to change the oil even if they know how to change.

  24. ‪Wendy‬ said... 
You indicate that you have not travelled but that you read a lot.

    Au contraire, Wendy!

    You do not seem to be reading my posts???

    I have stated that I live in the West, have lived in a number of countries and HAVE traveled a great deal all of my life from a very early age, including: Europe, the UK, N. America, S. America and Asia. I am on the road a lot sometimes an aggregate 6 months out of a year, am well educated at the post graduate level, highly skilled and work for a living in a technical field. I have had business and personal dealings with many Muslims including Saudis. I speak about half a dozen foreign languages, a number of them with native fluency. Like you, English is not my native language.

    Regarding the report. You should read it because: It is what is printed in Saudi textbooks!

    I will never travel to Saudi because I do not want my tourist dollars supporting a gender apartheid system that will force me to be less than a human being. I will not travel to a country that takes away my freedom to go where I want, with whom I want, when I want and dress as I deem fit! I have been harassed enough by the muslim males in the West. I see no reason to put up with that cr@p in a country that presumes I am at fault because I am a woman, have blonde hair, light eyes and did not cover my head. The first Saudi male who harassed me would get a punch in the nose or a knee to the groin. Then I would probably get arrested for defending myself. LOL ;)


    @ Kristina

    It is a statistical fact that most muslims in the world (about 60%) are illiterate. What is “bigoted and offensive” about a fact? I work in a field where supportable, bona fide facts are the only thing that counts.

    OK, here is a quote from General Musharraf he made in a BBC article: “"Today we are the poorest, the most illiterate, the most backward, the most unhealthy, the most un-enlightened, the most deprived, and the weakest of all the human race," …While the collective Gross National Product of the all Muslim countries stands at $1,200bn, that of Germany alone is $2,500bn and that of Japan $5,500bn.

    He said one of the main reasons for this disparity was that none of the Muslim countries had ever paid any attention to educational and scientific development...

    Is he telling the truth or just “bigoted and offensive”?


    Susie, where have I insulted anyone? I have posted the very same things that you have for along time in your blog, the same things that Eman’s article states. I re-read your driving post a few years back. Little to nothing has changed since then. The driving issue is still on the table as is women being educated, going out or working without the permission of their mahram.

    OTOH—I am constantly insulted and misread by certain readers who presume things that are simply not so, such as that I know nothing about islam or that I have never traveled or experienced anything but the West. Why are you not noticing the insults hurled at me for telling the truth?

    Perhaps it would be better if I merely posted facts and figures that have been established by Saudis/muslims on the state of things? There are plenty of those around. :)


  25. The point is Habiba Matrimonials- that you had the CHOICE to drive yourself- and apparetnly you did choose to do it evem if you prefer having a man to. Most women here don't have drivers. First time I had to take a stinky poorly drive taxi was when my son was sick and needed a doctor and my husband was on the other side of the city. So I had to drag my sick son out to the road and flag down a stranger. Yep- not a big deal I guess.

    It IS a big deal. And no one has to drive if they don't want to. But for those women without a man to drive them- they need it. Not only that, it is a violation of every woman's human rights that it isn't her choice.

    It's all very nice to prefer to have a man to lean on. But not everyone prefers that- and not everyone has that option. So I guess as long as it would be ok with you it shouldn't be a big deal to everyone else?

  26. "Question, Susie: Why is it that you only feature Western music on your blog? "

    Marianne - Because it is her blog, and she can do what the hell she wants. Why is this a difficult concept for you to grasp?

    "I always find that rather amusing, since most Muslims are illiterate and still living in the dark ages."

    I'm sure my friend's uncle, who is a retired director of IT at a major university in NYC, and a practicing Muslim would take exception to your comment.

    You remarked upon how much you read. I suggest that you read only those things that fuel your prejudice, hatred, and narrow world view.

  27. Hi, I think you're very brave to decide to live under such strict regulations, the truth I do not agree at all, it amazes me when women are converted to this religion, I say that cuz in my family there is someone who decided to take a Muslim lifestyle.
    and for me it's really annoying to see the place of women in these societies

  28. @habibi matrimonials - 'As much as my dad taught me to change the oil in the car, I still prefer a man to do it.'

    Yeah me too and I'm pretty sure that it is a man that does it at the oil change place that my husband takes it to.

  29. Susie, why are you not being fair? You let people attack me and do not give me a chance to defend myself.

    If you want me to stop reading or commenting then just come out and say it instead of censoring factual posts that actually support and underscore what you have always said and continue to say about KSA.


    ‪Mr. Nighttime‬ said...
    ”Question, Susie: Why is it that you only feature Western music on your blog? "

Marianne - Because it is her blog, and she can do what the hell she wants. Why is this a difficult concept for you to grasp?

    The concept is very easy for me to grasp and I have said so. I am merely wondering about the music since Susie has very little positive to post about KSA. I happen to love middle eastern music and have listened to it since I was a teen. I love the food as well. Saudi music would expose Susie’s readers to something positive about KSA.


‪Mr. Nighttime‬ said... I'm sure my friend's uncle, who is a retired director of IT at a major university in NYC, and a practicing Muslim would take exception to your comment.

    Your friend’s educated, Muslim uncle is not relevant because he is one person. In my field I know plenty of Muslims who have M.A.s, doctorates and Ph.D.s. That does not negate the FACT that over 60% of Muslims in the whole world are illiterate—of those about 85% are women. KSA has a 78.8% % literacy rate . Afghanistan has a 28% literacy rate. Pakistan has a 49.9% literacy rate. Egypt the literacy rate is 66.4%. Compare that with the West where the literacy rate is usually about 99%. Even Turkey has only an 88.7% literacy rate. Literacy makes a difference in how people must live. Education is freedom!


You remarked upon how much you read. I suggest that you read only those things that fuel your prejudice, hatred, and narrow world view.

    My worldview is very open! I have no hatreds or prejudices. I have traveled a great deal since I was a child and as an adult for both business and pleasure. I have lived abroad for years. I speak numerous foreign languages extremely well. I doubt that many people can say the same.

    I merely take issue with cultures/religions that treat women (my gender, which is over half of the human race) as second class citizens. I also have a problem with a religious/political system that claims to be superior to all religions and systems and is trying to foist that system unto all of humanity, while in truth, most of the adherents are still living in the dark ages. That is very much in line with the opinion of many other people both here and all over the world, including human rights organizations, that have taken KSA to task many times.

    What exactly is wrong with believing in equality? Do you think that it is OK that women cannot leave their homes, be educated or do anything at all without a man’s permission? Do you believe that it is OK that women cannot vote, drive, work or co-mingle with men as free people? Do you believe that it is OK that women must be veiled to be “protected” from their men? Do you believe that it is OK for a minor male child to have more rights than an adult woman? Have you ever read what is written in Saudi text books? Have you ever listened to a Saudi sermon? If not, then do avail yourself.

    It seems to me that you have a worldview that is not based in facts and truth if you defend such an apartheid, misogynistic, supremacist system.


  30. Hope you are feeling well and everything is ok with your family. Take care.

  31. To Marianne
    I got a good education to make me survive and be happy .I still find my country Saudi Arabia is a wonderful place to be .You can entertain yourself as well ,preferably in your privates .No one will disturb you and no one will bother you .The weather is lovely 7 months of the years unlike some of your places in the west where you have to deal with the snow 6 months of the year in order to have a good time.

  32. interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you

    تاجير السيارات السعودية