Patterico's Pontifications


They Shall Overcome (Update: 40 Women?)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:02 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: This article says it is only 40 women.  Here’s hoping it grows.

Today we have been seeing a protest in Saudi Arabia.  As you might know, women are not allowed to drive here, so a number of women have chosen today to protest it by defying the ban.  One thing that is unclear is just how many women are participating, but I am going to be optimistic about this.

From the BBC:

The direct action has been organised on social network sites, where women have been posting images and videos of themselves behind the wheel.

The Women2Drive Facebook page said the direct action would continue until a royal decree reversed the ban.

Last month, a woman was arrested after uploading a video of herself driving.

Manal al-Sherif was accused of “besmirching the kingdom’s reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion”, but was released after 10 days having promised not to drive again.

Campaigners have not called for a mass protest – which would be illegal – but have asked women who have foreign driving licences to drive themselves as they go about their daily life.

“All that we need is to run our errands without depending on drivers,” said one woman in the first film posted in the early hours of Friday morning.

The film showed the unnamed woman talking as she drove to a supermarket and parking.

“It is not out of love for driving or traffic or the experience. All this is about is that if I wanted to go to work, I can go. If I needed something I can go and get it.

“I think that society is ready to welcome us.”

Read the whole thing.  And the AFP has a nice video about it (except for some obvious editing flubs), here.  I like especially when I see men standing up with their wives.

And let me also recommend following Ahmed al Omran on twitter, at least for today, because he seems to be covering this well in that feed.

Let’s hope this protest is successful.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

50 Responses to “They Shall Overcome (Update: 40 Women?)”

  1. I fear we will see a large number of women slammed into jail cells by the end of the day. The Saudi women lack political power, and the Saudi government has always allowed the powerful religious police to dictate and enforce this policy. But anything is possible if their movement grew large enough.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  2. bmertz

    i think that’s all true. we’ll have to see.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  3. Perhaps if they use Facebook and Twitter to generate a massive outpouring of support.

    Then again… maybe wishful thinking and good intentions won’t be quite enough to combat tyranny. These days it always seems like people believe a grand gesture will get it done. The gesture is certainly grand, and these women are courageous, but the real world is not a heartwarming movie.

    Gesundheit (d7ea47)

  4. When I see brave women such as these participating in righteous protests I always step back to wonder if, were I in their milieu, I’d be as courageous and willing to risk my safety if not my life as they are. I respect these ladies more than I can express.

    elissa (0d822c)

  5. ges

    Well, Martin Luther King once delineated when to use peaceful resistance and when to get out the guns.

    if your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.

    Bonhoeffer of course was one of the people who tried to assassinate hitler.

    So i think what you are saying is the saudis will prove to be more like the nazis than the english colonials. that sound about right?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. Is their facebook link available? I’d like to friend them just to show my support.

    maybe wishful thinking and good intentions won’t be quite enough to combat tyranny

    I am wondering if they entered this protest expecting nothing more than to shame their government through the nasty treatment they will receive.

    I always step back to wonder if, were I in their milieu, I’d be as courageous and willing to risk my safety if not my life as they are.

    elissa, I agree. You feel humble watching such courageous women. We never know who we really are until fate presents us with a hard choices.
    How can American women understand what the danger these Saudi women face? Contemporary American women protested for civil rights without facing beatings, jail or even death. Our closest historical example is the Civil Rights movement which had the national press and the FBI watching closely. These women have no such protection and national support if they are arrested.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  7. C’mon. Really?! In what world is more women drivers a good thing?

    /runs for cover

    JD (d48c3b)

  8. that’s just so pitiful what a disgusting society

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  9. Chris Chirsite should be more civil to to people who called him a nazi paid off by the mossad?

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  10. There are two facebook sites for Women2Drive.

    Both sites have the same address?-but with a different photo setup and a different friends count.

    They are asking everyone to friend them and leave a message of support. So far, they have only (approx.) 8500 friends on one page and 4500 on the other. Not enough

    bmertz (d77c52)

  11. And it;s disturbing for him to say butt out when they should butt out?


    DohBiden (15aa57)

  12. I’d like to send Danika Patrick and a car to Saudi Arabia just to see how they’d try to get out of that.

    Birdbath (19803d)

  13. Are Chinese women allowed to drive in the Kingdom?

    Birdbath (19803d)

  14. I’m preparing myself for the EPWJ sophistry on the Middle East to follow. Sigh.

    Fingers crossed for the brave women.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  15. Great video here of two Muslim women (one American) driving today in Jeddah. Their nervous excited laughter of breaking the taboo is priceless. CNN calls in an interviews while they are driving.

    It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around this level of courage from the Saudi women literally risking their lives for the right to drive vs. the mind-numbing antics of “feminists” like the Code Pink fairies risking nothing more than looking idiotic.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  16. Correction: the driver may have identified herself as from CNN. It wasn’t too clear but CNN does call at the end and interview her…as she drives.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  17. Comment by Dana — 6/17/2011 @ 2:49 pm


    Thoroughly enjoyed that terrific vid and thanks for posting. Didn’t expect to be moved but I was. And, well said about the “courage” of the Code Pink types in this country.

    no one you know (325a59)

  18. I think it is very important for Saudi women to be able to drive unescorted to the supermarket to buy food so they can cook meals for their husbands.


    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  19. daleyrocks, you missed my comment then?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  20. why are these saudi royal pervert douchebags our allies again? That’s scraping the bottom of the ally barrel I think.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  21. SPQR – I did not understand the first T

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  22. Its the “T” in “T&A”.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  23. it’s about empowerment!

    critics are calling it the feel-good movie of the summer


    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  24. I can say Patriarchy if that helps!!!!!!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  25. The only reason why the Saudis get to push their weight around is because of their oil supply. For that we ally ourselves with one of the most embarrassing, repressive and corrupt governments in the world. They lock their women up by refusing to let them travel without a male family member as a chaperone, provide limited education, and of course require medieval forms of dress. No T&A eye candy there guys. Plus, Forget dating your girlfriend or marrying the love of your life. Don’t forget those arranged marriages by the parents with the bride/husband of their choice. Of course, you can always rape a slave. Yeah, the land of romance. Thank you that I am an American.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  26. Forgive me for sounding grumpy. I know I should laugh and just threaten to smack a few people. But I HATE those guys and how they have destroyed the lives and freedom of people. This is a government that allows little girls to be bought, sold and used up. They make Weiner look good, if that is possible. I can’t forgot the story of those school girls forced back inside a burning building by the Saudi religious police; just because they were not covered up. Yeah, it is just driving a car — big deal to us—but its a tiny step towards freedom. Those women don’t even know what it feels like.

    I will try and lighten up later on– just not on this one

    bmertz (d77c52)

  27. There were, once upon a time, countries with genuinely moderate Islamic cultures or subcultures; Iran and Lebanon spring to mind. But in the aftermath of WWII the Transnational Progressives dictated that anyone who tried to adopt the better features of the West should be savagely criticized and castigated, while out-and-out Barbarians should be treated with kid gloves and kowtowed to.

    Consequently, Iran’s increasingly free culture was taken over by medieval swine, and Lebanon was swamped by the side effects of our not shooting Arafat as soon as he showed his face. The Saudis are stuck with a monumental problem; that HAVE to mimic the temper of the Islamic times because they hold Mecca and Medina, and thus have to deal with the Hadjj. If they don’t want every yearly pilgrimage to be a sh*tstorm of explosives-wearing protesters they preety much HAVE to keep the Radicals happy. Maybe they would anyway. I trust the average Islamic Head of State about as far as I could kick the Kaaba. But until the general trend of the rest of the Islamic world isn’t back to the 12th century, we won’t know.

    Oh, and please God, whatever we do, DON’T let’s attack the Saudis. WE don’t want to administer the Hadjj. Oh GOD no!

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  28. CSP,

    A poignant look at Iranian youth mid-70’s, before it all went to madness. The chick in the hot-pants sums it up nicely. But that was then.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  29. please God, whatever we do, DON’T let’s attack the Saudis.

    @CSP In the years before their revolution Iran had the reputation as a moderate Islamic country. When were Saudis considered anywhere near the same level of modernism? The Saudi royal family has been exporting Wahhbism world wide. That is not an act of defense against radical elements but rather an attempt to export radical Islamic practices elsewhere. I am not ignoring your well-made points on the difficulties their government faces from radicals within and those visiting during the Hadjj. Certainly I don’t see how the US could sever the relationship (if that is what you mean by attacking them) at this point without throwing the area into a further mess. But the Saudi royal family has not acted with consistent intent towards the promotion of a moderate practice of Islam. Furthermore, Muslims on Hadjj include other branches of Islam besides Wahhbism and fighting already occurs between those competing groups.

    Saudi acceptance of slavery is abhorrent.* Are you suggesting we abstain from criticizing the treatment of women, children and the practice of slavery in order to not offend them?

    * I realize they are not alone in that practice.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  30. @Dana, fantastic photos and a sad reflection on today’s Iran.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  31. “I will try and lighten up later on– just not on this one”

    bmertz – Things are sometimes pretty stuffy at this faculty club.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  32. bmeertz,

    I’m recalling vague impressions from back when I was in high school (I’m 50), but i remeber articles on how the Saudis were loosening up on women, trailing but in harmony with more advanced Islamic countries like Iran. But that was a long slide down a mucky slope ago.

    As for Slavery; I would have a great deal more patience with the Trans-nationalists if they had some ghost of a principal on this. They would rather pound on the U.S. because we practiced Slavery in the first century of our existence as a nation than criticise ANY Islamic nation now. Foo.

    I’m not trying to excuse the Saudis completely. I’m saying that they have no motivation to improve (because the Western Intellectual Twits who seem to drive much of our foreign policy won’tgive them any credit until they mirror U.C. Berkeley). , and a lot of motivation to not attract the attention of the Islamic plastique fetishists. If we want Medieval pestholes in the Third World to better their human rights record, we need to ashcan Multiculturalism and be clear about what we believe to be Right and Wrong.

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  33. @daley ty, I understand. Time for me to go run off this grouchy mood.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  34. @CSP

    They would rather pound on the U.S. because we practiced Slavery in the first century of our existence as a nation than criticise ANY Islamic nation now. Foo.

    I agree. I always find it interesting how critics ignore the far greater numbers of slaves imported into South America and the Caribbean islands. Of course European slavers get a pass as well, not to mention the older slave trade market between East Africa and the Middle East. It is amazing how those historical stats disappear from certain memories.

    If we want Medieval pestholes in the Third World to better their human rights record, we need to ashcan Multiculturalism and be clear about what we believe to be Right and Wrong.

    Americans are so confused about our identity and what standards we support. How can we communicate a clear message to others? If I were the Saudis, I would not trust an inconsistent message either. If The State Department can’t resolve its own in-house conflicts, how can they possibly gain the confidence of the Saudis or anyone else?

    bmertz (d77c52)

  35. Hyphenated names and gay marriagings are cool. Those are selling point what Team R should make to Saudia Arabia. WINNING!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  36. gay marriagings are too cool for school!

    Kinda like Saudi womens.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  37. A Saudi woman detained for defying the ultraconservative kingdom’s ban on female drivers will be held in detention for at least 10 more days.. Manal al-Sherif, a 32-year-old IT expert, was arrested at dawn on Sunday and accused of “violating public order.” She started a Facebook campaign urging Saudi women to get behind the wheel to protest the longtime driving ban and did so herself, posting the video on the Internet and launched an online campaign urging Saudi women to stage a mass driving protest on June. 17.

    The second FB site for Women2Drive

    Women2Drive is reporting:

    A Facebook Page advocating the beating of Women that drive in Saudi has launched and collected more than 6000+ likes.

    Women2Drive is also reporting that severe cyber attacks have been shutting down their traffic and preventing friending. People are signing in support from all over the world. I wonder how that attention will influence their government’s actions.

    Fascinating. Facebook has taken on an historical role in Saudi Arabia.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  38. Can someone explain to me why we are encouraging even more women to drive?

    JD (318f81)

  39. *Rolls eyes* I knew THAT ONE was coming.

    Interesting: Prince Khaled Al-Faisal Al-Saud has friended Women2Drive.
    Some of the drive’protesters are twittering that the police are not arresting them but their leader’s jail time has been extended.

    bmertz (d77c52)

  40. JD then why do insurance companies give higher rates to young men more than women?

    bmertz (d77c52)

  41. “JD then why do insurance companies give higher rates to young men more than women?”

    bmertz – The young men do not give insurance agents head when they take out policies, plus young men drive more miles.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  42. daley Ouch

    bmertz (d77c52)

  43. “daley Ouch”

    bmertz – Sorry. Was grouchy from reading about Obama bypassing OLC and DOD advice on War Powers Act to go with ridiculous advice from Harold Koh at State Department who told him what he wanted to hear. Obama is the Deciderer King.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  44. I’m very out of sorts about the sammins Republicans are to free enterprise what autism service horses are to Preakness

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  45. Mr. Feets – Don’t push the river.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  46. the pearl is in the river

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  47. I read that the for the most part, the Saudis are looking the other way today. Not because they support women driving or want to see the law changed but because they are feeling a bit vulnerable with the all the ME uprisings taking place and don’t want to rock the boat at all.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  48. daley- no worries
    Dana- you nailed it
    happyfeet- you are adorable

    bmertz (d77c52)

  49. Peaceful and tolerant right? And remember Saudi Arabia is one of the more forward thinking Arab nations, save their hang-up with alcohol being illegal (another law Saudi royals are conveniently allowed to ignore).

    Buzz Wire (cb75d9)

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