Women’s Issues: Saudi Arabia

Why are women SO angry in Saudi Arabia. Ever since this ” Give me rights” thing started, I have been doing research on this. Having been here all my life , I have seen the many changes in KSA. I was raised in Murabba. This was the Riyadh Center in the past. Where the Royals lived, where King Faisal was assassinated, where his mosque was. This was where the office of King Abdulaziz was. This is where the Museum is now. I was raised with Saudis. I was a little boy who used to run around Murabba streets with my buddies. I used to wave at King Faisal every friday after prayer as he passed us in his big car, sitting at the front seat , waving  .. with that unforgettable smile. I also remember Queen Iffat. How she and the King did SO much for women and women’s education. I remember my mother and aunt just walking out to Wazir Street for shopping. Not many restrictions.

My neighbors were ALL  Saudis. In the villa next to ours was  Sheikh Abdul Razzaq Al Mishal, his son Shehab and other kids used to love the little me a lot. I was pampered by his mom, fed delicious cakes. In the villa in front of ours was AbdulAziz. We used to watch him on a kids show every other day. And, I was just thrilled to see him come home. Right from my TV screen to my Street. Yes, Riyadh was COOL! Saudis worked.. did all kinds of jobs.

When did these women issues start?

When too many expatriate women came here. When too many different people came here. And, when they brought with them their experiences and demanded changes to suit them. When Saudi Women went abroad and gained a different sense of life. When media showed the Saudi woman the whole world and ESPECIALLY  when the Internet was made available here in 1998.

In 1999, I was talking with my landlord. I suggested that we wire up the building and give internet access to each apartment and charge. He said, go ahead – but I do not want ANY part of this HARAM! In 2005, I saw him wearing shorts and watching “friends” on MBC 4 and laughing. ” Hadha Frinds..wallah.. kwais”  ( friends is a good show), he told me as we had tea. I could not believe this was the same guy.

Here is what is happening. Saudi Society IS evolving. There is a HUGE amount of freedom for both men and women compared to what was 15 years ago. Women DO express themselves through different mediums. BUT: The demand of the world for KSA to change COMPLETELY overnight is becoming really intense and frustrating now. It is becoming ridiculous. What is even more ridiculous is everyone trying to IMITATE western lifestyles. Find freedom in your own way, not someone elses please. Makes no sense.

Women’s rights could not be defined better than they are defined in ISLAM. 1400 years ago, women rode horses. Fought in battles. DID a lot more than any western woman or so-called “free society” women do anywhere in the world. And, they did it right here in THIS desert. They were free.

I know, not so long ago – one powerful man wanted to take a piece of land in the desert somewhere. When he got to that land with his men, an old bedouin woman lived there. Some of it was her land. She walked out with a rifle and shouted ” who wants to take my land, let him come and fight with me”.. the powerful man was amused and IMPRESSED by this and he told his men to go around her land and not disturb her. This is the bedouin woman. More free, more couragous and more kind than any women in “free” lands.

What other countries want to see here is not freedom. It is obscenity and shamelessness. To remove the clothing of a woman is freedom to them. Make her work like a man, provide like a man, uncover her beauty, make her available for everyone – is “freedom”. I have lived extensively in Europe. I do not see women free there at all. I am sorry. That is NOT freedom. They are burdened with life. They are not free at all!

With HUGE expatriate populations and with GREAT global interest in KSA ( wealth and oil) – external elements try to pressure and make changes ( that would benefit them) with no respect for the Religion and Beliefs of people here. Most ideas , issues and arguments are baseless and they are mere assumptions and wishful thinking.

Women DO work here. Women go all over the city. But is that what women think is their purpose in life? To be like men?

Women Driving:  I personally think that allowing women to drive is a GOOD THING. It is also necessary. I also believe that this will happen VERY soon. I am sure about it. I also know that women are already driving “undercover” .  And, the number is increasing. I KNOW that once the e-government systems are in place, women will be allowed to drive. It will be a matter of personal choice. I also know that most women will soon opt out of it. The traffic. The headache and the added duties will bore the heck out of them. But, it will happen. It has nothing to do with Women’s right or abuse – it is a cultural thing.  It is like my neighbor calling internet Haram in 1999 and watching FRIENDS with his laptop online , wearing shorts. Let the people get used to the idea – it will happen.

Abaya: What is the problem with that?  Abayas are selling like hot cakes all around us. They are a fashion thing now. It is part of the female dressing here. It is like a man wearing a Thoub and a Shumagh. It is simply covering. What is wrong with expecting everyone to dress decently in public? What is wrong with this form of protection of the woman?  No one tells them to cover their face anymore, do they?

Education: What is lacking here? All education is made available now.

Finally, let me tell you something very important. And this is not for Just Saudi Women. It is for women. Women ANYWHERE.

You are not, and cannot be like men. NOWAY. Apart from physical difference and different physical challenges, you must know that men cannot be mothers and you cannot be fathers!  Would you like a man who wears pink dresses and puts on lipstick? I am sure you would not – he would be feminine. Similarly, when a man sees a woman who is acting like a man – he gets disgusted. Like men should not lose their masculinity , you should not lose your femininity. 

No, men and women can NEVER be equal in anything. A man will never know what it is to deliver a baby and a woman will never know what it is to be accountable for everything. Men will always be polygamous, women will always love just one man ( claims of a woman being polygamous are not true – please do not lie to yourself and others). No one can change this. If this was not true, the prostitution industry would bot be so huge and protected worldwide.  I am not saying it is OK, I am saying it is fact.  Because, what I say here is based on Reality and it is REAL talk. This is the reality. Protest and anger is not the solution – raising better sons IS. If you work, and your husband works and your kids are raised by the maid – then would you blame them if they left you to maids in your old age? It is what you did to them. To be a mother is the GREATEST job in the world. The reward is HUGE.

Good changes ONLY happen when there is acceptance. This is the universal law, it does not change for anyone.

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