The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the most opulent of the Arab states, being an oil rich country and all, yet it is one of the most backwards and oppressive of the Arab states. Saudi Arabia is also the birthplace of Islam and unfortunately the Islam practiced there is no where near the kind of Islam that the prophet Mohammad first envisioned. before the days of Islam, women where looked down upon, there was a tradition of killing off babies if they where girls because the men of that era wanted only sons that would grow to be « free » men like them and daughters would only grow up to be women, who were regarded as nothing more than property, and more often than not, un-wanted property. So people in those times used to bury their healthy new born babies to avoid the stigma and shame of fathering daughters, which also signified that the men were not men enough because they could not father sons. But that is beside the point.
When the prophet Mohammad came forth with the Quran, he tried to change some of these ridiculous traditions and attempted to emancipate women, or at least to elevate their status to a slightly more equal one. Sadly, old habits die hard and even now, more than 1,400 years after the birth of Islam and Mohammad’s attempt to change the archaic traditions of the land that is now known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, women are still regarded as property and denied their basic human rights. Up until recent times women were denied an education let alone the right to drive. But slowly that is beginning to change, as women become more educated and as they become exposed to other cultures through the internet, women are beginning to defy old traditions and archaic laws. Last May a woman defied the driving ban and was arrested for it. Today a great number of women decided to do just the same as means of peaceful protesting and demanding their rights. Of course, The Saudi men and government, are going to turn a blind eye on this and pretend it never happened. That would be a good thing because then the Saudi women defying the ban would not end up in a Saudi prison cell. But on the other hand, these men and officials are setting themselves up for something that would be worse for them.
Just like women in the west rose up and fought for their feminine rights so it will happen in Saudi Arabia. As a matter of fact it has already begun but it is moving at a very slow pace and may nut erupt in to a full revolution for many more years to come. But come it will, there is no doubt about it. All you have to do is read the odd news that occasionally trickles out of Saudi Arabia, things like women and men being arrested for texting each other, lingerie shops opening up, women being given the right to work at all women stores (although the employer may be a man)…. The young Saudi’s, whom enjoy censored satellite TV and restricted censored browsing, will one day show the policy makers that whether they censor or not the young are still getting a glimpse of the outside world and they now yearn to be free of the chains of ancient and repressive traditions that have nothing what so ever to do with Islam. So yes! There will be a feminist revolution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia one day soon. And I hope that it comes sooner than later, but these things can’t be rushed… it will happen at the pace that the Saudis are comfortable with.