Top Five Fallacies about Women Driving in Saudi

Here are the common five fallacies about not allowing Saudi women driving with my respond to each one of them:

  1. Women driving will increase the traffic:
    Many saudi fear that streets and highways would be extremely crowded when women are allowed to drive and this isn’t true. In fact, allowing women to drive will decrease the traffic.
    In Saudi, Traffic occurs in the peak time especially in the early morning when employees go to work and in the beginning of the night when many Saudi go with their families to supermarket and other things. Now, if women were allowed to drive, they  would have flexible time to go to supermarket and finish home needs instead of just being confined on one specific time (like until their father or husband get back from work). This would decrease the traffic in the peak time.
  2. Women driving will increase the pollution:
    You may wonder since when Saudi began to care about environment and pollution! Ironically, Saudi began to think about being environmental only in the issue of women driving.  This country has no recycling programs, no public transportation to help decrease cars pollution, and no social awareness at all about the environment and yet when it comes to women driving, everyone is beginning to react as if the environment was the center of his attention.
  3. Flirting and sexual harassment:
    Saudi who have been outside of KSA respect fully the law of the country. I rarely heard a Saudi harassing an American woman or a Kuwait woman just because he sees her driving.   A lot of Saudi guys go to Bahrain in the weekend, some for the sake of enjoyment like watching movie, other for getting drunk and having fun with women in night clubs and yet they don’t have any problem with women driving there. So, what is the magic thing that drive Saudi crazy when they see Saudi women driving? I don’t know!
    By the way, many Saudi women get sexually harassed from Taxi drivers so allowing them to drive will really decrease this problem.
  4. Women driving will increase the rate of accidents
    I don’t understand how people sometimes make a conclusion on argument without having a sound and rational premiss like saying that “women are very emanational and not physically strong to drive therefore, allowing them to drive would lead to more accidents”. Sounds stupid, right? but honestly many people have this mentality of thinking. Now, Saudi is ranked among the top countries in car accidents and so if we follow the same mentality of thinking, we can make exactly the same conclusion and say:  Saudi men shouldn’t be allowed to drive because of their irresponsible driving skills!
  5.  Women driving is prohibited in Islam:
    It is either Saudi think they are the only one in the world who follow Islam and consider all other Islamic countries as sinners for allowing women to drive, or we have really stupid religious group who invent Fatwa as they wish and like. We are sick and tired of people telling us what is sinful and what is not, and how we should live our life or shouldn’t! If you think women driving is sinful and Haram, that is great! you can enforce your belief on your family, but not on the whole country.

The Inevitable Change in Saudi

Tomorrow is Friday and unlike all other days, the Saudi government is having a hard time sleeping tonight. Will people really protest tomorrow despite all the warning and fatwa of banning it? and will Saudi government uses the voilience against the protesters? We will know after 12 hours from now. So stay tuned!

We are in a time when military weapon are useless. If you shoot a gun fire on  a person, you get shot by hundreds of tweets that are capable of destroying your existence. Everyone knows that Saudi Arabis is ranked among the top spenders on defense military. According to IISS, Saudi government spends more than 10% of its GDP on defense, an amount that is considered to be double the proportion spent by USA. Saudi has never been in war, and doesn’t receive any big threats from our close neighbors, so why all this huge spending? We don’t know!

I have heard that in psychology, if desperation gets higher than fear, then people will do anything, steal! kill! and even protest! “When there is nothing to lose, you have everything” and Saudi young men and women aren’t just frustrated, they are miserably despair. Everyone I have talked with here is complaining. They complain about the bad infrastructure of the cities and the roads, the absent of civil society and freedom, the bad education system, women rights and finally the corruption.

Now every rational person who has  taken a basic math in his elementary school will know that Saudi Arabia considering its rich oil resources can be the top country in education, cities’ infrastructure, tourism, and almost everything else. We can build huge industrial cities like Dubai and New York, build metros and trains and create million of jobs by attracting Saudi investors to invest in their country instead of taking their investment abroad.

Change is inevitable whether now or five years from now and I hope that my government would hear from its people before it is too late! There is no guarantee in the future. The past events in Middle East have already proven that.

Revolution 101

In 1991 when a massive number of Kurdish and Iraqi people started to rebel and uprise against the dictatorship of Sadam Hussain, the government responded with a military force and chemical weapons. Thousands of people and children were killed in all parts of the country. No body knew what really happened at that time. There wasn’t a youtube or an access to the internet in the Middle East.

Now things have changed, everyone has a camera, a facebook account and mayabe a youtube channel. Every thing is recorded, every gunfire, or abuse of power or a government’s corruption can be simply recorded and exposed to the whole world in less than three seconds. In 2011, people realize that having a facebook account can be more powerful than air force F16.

Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan dictators tried to use military force to kill and silent the protester. The consequence was that every time they kill one protester,  the uprising gets bigger and bigger.  Arab dictators and presidents saw in front of their eyes, the ending cycle of corruption and dictatorships. If they ever thought that they are the god of their people, now it is a time that they wake up. The pictures of their faces in every newspaper’s cover and the compliments  of their vague work in the local TV are just an illusion and they need to wake up to realize the new reality.

So in this course: Revolution 101, I would like to show you how, when and whey revolution happens :).


  • A group of oppressed people join together in online in Facebook page to protest.  They decides to go out and protest in specific day. For egyptian people, it was the 25th of January, for Bahraini people, it was 14th of February. For libyan it was between 15th-16th of February.

 


  • People begins a peaceful protest in some parts of the country. The next day, more people join as they breaks the fear barriers.

 

 

  • The governments react to the protester by using a tear gas and a military force, but that is no longer an effective strategy. It just fuels the fire more and more.

 

 

  • Then, the detectors realize that they are powerless despite of all the military forces and power they have. So they appear on TV giving promises to their people of more freedom and more respect. But unfortunately it is too late, the people responds: where were you in the past 30 years?

 

 

  • Now the dictators get very disappointed and scared, so they play a dirty game to protect their places. They pay people to act and support their regime. But that is too a stupid idea.

  • At the end, people with strong determination and courage will always win. Victor Hugo has once said that when dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right. My prayer now for libyan people. I hope they over-through Gaddafi. Let’s hope for new light of democracy and freedom in the middle east. Let’s freedom ring in every Arab country.

Here is a picture of my nephew, Mohammed, celebrating with egyptians people their victory and their freedom. When he grows up, he surly will understand the meaning of this historical day.

A Lesson From Tunisia

Tunisian revolution has left everyone stunned and surprised. No one in the world has ever thought that a dictatorship like Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled the country by force and torture for decades, would ran like a cat  begging a country after another for a political asylum. Most of the Arab countries, including his old allies like Egypt and Libya refused to provide him the political asylum, not that they don’t like him but because the fear of public reaction. Now as many of you know, Saudi Arabia is always different than any other country. They welcomed him in the country and he is now in Jeddah. Saudi people are very upset of that, and what do Saudi do when they get upset? They tweet a lot in twitter, change their facebook’s pictures and talk all day about it with their friends, until they go to bed at night.

I am very happy that Tunisian people got their freedom without any foreign intervention. I am also happy that they gave a lesson to Arab’s dictatorships around the Middle East . It is that you may control people by oppression and torture for ten years, twenty years, but not forever. People will wake up one day, and get their freedom back. Iran, Iraq and Tunisia have proven that.

The picture above from CBC News

Saudi Arabia With No Makeup

I watched recently the MTV episode “Resist the Power! Saudi Arabia.” The episode represents an inside story of young Saudi: Fatima who fights to change the traditional clothing of Saudi women,  Ahmed who fights for women rights, Aziz who wants to date and see his girlfriend with no fear, and finally the music’s group who want the freedom to play their music and songs in public.

My thoughts of the episode:

  • First of all, the episode is more for an entertainment than for a documentary purpose.
  • I think the young Saudi in the episode represent their individual perceptions and observations of Saudi society which is open for a discussion and debate.
  • It is impossible to make a realistic judgment about any society or religion based on small selective groups of people, or blogs or news.
  • There is no diversity in the participants of the episode. They are all from Jeddah. They are all against the tradition or the society.
  • I think there is a mixed understanding between what is religious and what is traditional in Saudi society. I think the presenters themselves weren’t sure about where to drew the line between religion and tradition.
  • I think it is very good and healthy to have people showing their opposition or agreement on social and cultural issues especially in Saudi Arabia.

My opinion on Fatima part:

  • Her story was very interesting. I thought she did a good a job in presenting her own observation of the Saudi society.
  • I don’t think she represent a large number of Saudi women. She is from rich family. She has her own driver which many Saudi women don’t. She can uncover her face outside while many saudi women get  in trouble for uncovering part of their face in many cities of Saudi.
  • I really like her colorful abaya’s business. I really wish that these beautiful colorful Abaya will replace the black ones in KSA.

My opinion on Ahmed role:

  • I really like his part the most. He was very confidence in speaking about his thoughts and ideas. He stated clearly his vision of change in Saudi society.
  • I think his story possibly represent a specific group of young Saudi who are well-educated and concerned about women rights along with the civil issues of Saudi society.
  • I think he did a good job overall.

My opinion on Aziz role:

  • I thought he was so funny.
  • His story is very common among Saudi teenagers, talking and having fun with girls in the chat rooms or in the messengers then, falling in love and then arrange for a meeting and then one of them may not show up, or maybe both of them show up but they end up getting in trouble or maybe they decide to get married but then their family will oppose the whole thing! You know, happy ending are rarely predicted on this type of stories 🙂

My opinion on the devil music group*:

  • I think the guys were confusing. I have never heard or saw music group similar to theirs in Saudi Arabia before. It was very interesting for me to watch and listen to their stories.
  • Their music and their clothes are unaccepted by the majority of Saudi society.

How do Saudi viewers react to the episode:

Many Saudi (men and women) felt upset and offended by this episode for many reasons. Some think that the episode focuses only on the negative sides of Saudi society and ignore all the positive sides.  Many Saudi don’t like to see any criticism on their culture exposed to the outsiders. Part of that comes from the old belief that the west are conspiring against Saudi culture or that some religions will try to destroy Islam by presenting a bad picture of muslim society.

Other Saudi think that it is perfectly fine to let people share their individual understanding and observation to the world even if it disagree with our observation. In the time of internet, the world has become a very small village and things can’t be hidden anymore.

I personally think that it is better that we become open and honest about our problems. The mask strategy is no longer practical and Saudi should appear to the world with no makeup. We aren’t the best country in the world and certainly not the worst. There are many Saudi who view life and society differently. I think everyone of them should have the right to speak up his/her mind. We may agree or disagree with what they say and think, we may think that they are completely right or wrong but none of us can deny their right to share their own observation about the world around them.

* Clarification: I am not referring to the music group as the devil. I am referring to how the music group is called and perceived in Saudi society. In the episode  summary, they made the same reference as to explain why Saudi society oppose such type of music. Thanks for Hammad for asking me to clarify this point.

Saudi Dreams

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.

I have a dream that one day this country will rise up and live out the true meaning of Islam: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day women will be able to travel everywhere without the need for a permission or a Mahram.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day a son from a Sunni family and  a son from a Shia family will sit together  in the table of brotherhood, not to argue over who is right or wrong but to think about the future of this country.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, a saudi employer will treat his Indian or Asian employee with respect and love.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, the Imam in each mosque of this country, will talk about love and respect for all other religions.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, the rich people in this country, will realize the sorrow and the suffering of the poor people who live in broken houses without food.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, the religious policy will realize that the moral values can’t be obtained with force but rather with love and tolerance.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, no one can be above the law and no Wasta will provide privilege for someone over others.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, our government will stand up and prosecute those who permit and allow the child marriage in this country.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day everyone has the freedom to speak his mind, to live his life the way he want, to be what he want to be without the fear of  society and traditions.

“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to my city with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

And if Saudi is to be a great nation this must become true.So let love ring from the mountains of Mecca to the farms of Alhassa. Let love ring from the land Ar’ar to the desert of Rub Al-khali. Let love ring from building of Riyadh.

And when this happens, when we allow love, freedom and tolerance to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every town and every city, we will be able to live the true teaching of the prophet Mohammed. Then we will all repeatedly remember the saying of the prophet, that “the believers, in their love, mercy and kindness to one another are like a body: if any part of it is ill, the whole body shares its sleeplessness and fever”

Thank you and god bless you.

God bless Saudi Arabia.

Note:

The main speech is from I have a dream speech by Martin Luther King.. I made some changes on it so that It becomes about Saudi Dreams.

Discrimination Against 14 Countries

This week, U.S. announced an intense air screening on the fliers from 14 nations. I am not upset about the law itself at all, I really think that America has every right to protect its country but what I am upset about is the idea of treating people from some countries differently than others. It is simply an act of discrimination whether you like it or not!

Time has shown us that human rights are just a theoretical argument and politicians always use it to manipulate the public! and people  are so pathetic and confused. They have no other way but to believe what they hear in TV and see in the movies.