Manal Al Sherif

A couple of weeks back an event page was created on Facebook calling on women to drive their cars on June 17th. The page was started by a group of individuals, one of whom was Manal Al Sharif. As news of the page got around, it caused a lot of controversy and more Facebook pages. The pages that were created are reflective of the different types of reaction such a call has caused in Saudis. One of the pages is a campaign for Saudi to whip women who drive on June 17th and another is simply an anti women driving campaign page. The former has over 1900 supporters and the latter has 2800 supporters. On top of that we have a sheikh Dr. Al Habdan who has made it his personal mission to make sure no woman drives in Saudi. He has called on the PVPV to stop these “rebellious women”.  Many of those opposing women driving claim that it is a Zionist/Western/ Iranian/Shia conspiracy to disrupt Saudi society and corrupt the morals and honor of Saudi women. Also that any woman that speaks out for lifting the ban is not a pure Saudi but rather a woman who is nontribal or an immigrant. Because according to them no pure Saudi woman wants to drive.

So this is what Manal Al Sharif was up against and yet she courageously kept on going. Here is Manal on CNN.  She later posted a video with instruction on how to participate in the June 17th movement :

1- There will be no gathering or demonstrations. Each woman that wants to participate should just get in her car and go about her daily business without the driver.

2- Only women who have valid driving licenses from other countries are to drive.

3- That there are volunteers who will teach other women to drive until the government sets up an official system for women to obtain local driving licenses

4- Everyone should drive with their safety belts on and drive carefully.

5- Women who drive are encouraged to videotape it and upload it to Youtube.

Then she addresses Saudi men. She thanks those that support the cause. For those Saudi men who oppose it, she calls on their famous Arab chivalry and graciousness to not stand in the way of women. She tells them that there is no threat in a woman driving. She asks them if they are happy about the current situation where women are forced to be at the mercy of unreliable drivers or stand on the pavement in the hot sun waiting for a taxi. Manal told them this is your opportunity to show the world how you are capable of respecting women and being civil.

Most importantly Manal points out that the traffic laws say nothing about the gender of the driver. And that King Abdullah, Prince Naif and Prince Sultan all have issued statement where they said that women driving is not a governmental issue but rather a cultural and societal one.

Brave Manal later wanted it to take it a step further and actually went out driving and posted the video on May 19th. The video is of her driving a car in the Eastern Region with Wajeha Al Huwaider in the passenger seat. They spoke about how AlRiyadh newspaper had a piece that morning on how a woman saved her brother by driving his car when he had an epileptic fit in the driver’s seat.

Anyhow the next day when she drove a car again this is what happened according to an interview just published by Alhayat newspaper:

Mamal spoke to the newspaper via telephone from her place of detention:, she had been stopped from five in the afternoon until seven o’clock in the evening, and then contact with the newspaper was lost. She had reported that she was driving along with her brother and his wife and their children. They were stopped by traffic police who had seen that she was holding the steering wheel. She said: «He asked me if I was a foreigner, and when I replied no, he asked for the car registration. So I gave him my license and my brother’s license with the car registration. He asked: “Don’t you know the country’s system? I asked him if there is any reason to ban me as a woman from driving my  own car». She added: «I told him: There is no law that prevents women from driving a car».

She said: «The traffic police called the PVPV, who asked us to ride with them in their car, but I refused, because what I’ve done does not fall under their jurisdiction, and the fact that driving is not a moral crime within the authority of the Commission». She said: «After an hour the traffic police allowed my brother’s wife and children to leave». She noted that the two men from the PVPV demanded that she and her brother get in their car so that they can take then to the traffic police station.
Al Hayat Newspaper also reported that the spokesman for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,  Mohsen M. Al Qafari, stated that the issue will be resolved through other governmental entities and that their presence in these cases is only for support, but not essential».

Some of the interesting reactions on Twitter while and after Manal was detained:

Thamer Al Marzouki referring to when he went himself to support Manal as soon as news of her detention broke:

I was told at the crime investigation center that she had been transferred to traffic, and there I met Khuloud Al Fahad and Haifa Khaled who both refused to stay silent and said: No, Manal is our countrywoman and we will stand by her.

Kholoud Al Fahad tweeted:

Manal related how humiliatingly the PVPV treated her, and they were degrading to us too as we waited outside. They treated us as if we were an abomination of Satan.

Manal was later released that night.  However as I’m writing this at 2:15 am, her campaign’s Twitter account reports that she is being taken away by two women prison officer escorted by police.

102 Comments

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102 responses to “Manal Al Sherif

  1. April Tosch

    I’ve lived in Jeddah 14 years. I have had a good life here. But, this makes me want to cry.

  2. Hey Saudi young, old, and middle-aged women: never dream of hitting the road on driver’s seat unless the car is fully parked..

    • Maggie

      Wow.. im an american, and when i travel over to Bahrain, those Arab men Love to Look at me and pray i aproach them, why, because im Kind… and i did.. you wish you had women who would WANT to be faithful, not forced into anything. andI am amazed from all the Saudis in Bahrain, in the local clubs, picking up hookers.. wheres the loyalty in thet.. Hypocrites, just like the rest of the human race.. sorry sir, but the time will come.. Watch, Sincerly and peacfuly yours… Maggie.

      • I wish that day will come where all rights are properly given, including that simple right of driving..
        I was just shouting out of despair..

      • Abdu Allah

        This kind of generalization that almost all people follow “Saudis or not” including you Maggie is what makes issues more complicated. Man, I’ve seen Americans kill innocent people in Iraq, please don’t tell me that all Americans are killers!
        The whole thing is overblown, we need to focus on what really matters: education, health, jobs, and corruption.

  3. Jasmine

    Ma sha2 allah 3aleeha

  4. Melissa Grant

    I only wish I had some way of showing my support for all the brave Saudi women!! You are inspirational!!

  5. Anonymous

    As an American woman living in the Midwest, I just cannot imagine not having such a basic right as to drive. I decide if I want to go to the grocery store or to visit a friend or to take a trip and I just get in my car and I go – I make that decision as an adult. I have a hard time with women in other countries being treated like children by their male “guardians”. I think it is backward and wrong and I pray for the day that women all over the world have the independence and equality that they deserve. I thank my lucky stars to live where I do.

  6. robin

    I am American and have been living in Riyadh for 5 months now. I found the Facebook page by accident, noticed how many supporters there were, how many were planning to participate, and of course, added my name to the list of supporters, NOT participants. We, foreigners, know(& accept) the no driving situation as part of the package when we sign up for this particular expatriate experience, and make do with drivers, taxis, or even our tired husbands or “already-made-plans” sons. But, there could be such ugly consequences for us as “guests”. We could be deported, for one! For many, that would be disastrous & throw them back to their previous NON-lucrative status, defeating the entire purpose of agreeing to a life in the KSA. While I can most assuredly say that ALL westerners inside & outside the KSA would love to see the Saudi women granted this most freeing and basic of “privileges”, the fight is not ours. The Saudi women, fed up with “life w/the driver,” have recognized this and have decided to act. Now, if the women could convince the powers who continually push this ideology on its subjects that this is, indeed outdated, then half their struggle is done!

    • Christine

      If you have chosen to live there, the fight is yours, too. I cannot believe any American would sign over his or her rights just so as to make money. You ought to be ashamed.

      • kat

        As an American living in America, I can say that signing over your rights for money seems like a really American thing to do.

  7. rufai

    Am from 9ja and fully support the millions of Saudi women who wish to drive. My wife and daughter drive here and its a big relief to me. It would be a much bigger relief to Saudi society and economy if the authorities there allow it. As for PVPV and all those conservatives who oppose it they ought to know that we now live in the 21st century. Not seventh for gods sake.

  8. Such a brave woman…

  9. Pingback: "Manal al-Sherif, Saudi Woman, Detained For Defying Driving Ban" and related posts » The One World Focus

  10. Bizzie Frost

    Manal Al Sharif is a brave woman. I came to Jeddah 27 years ago and was so convinced that within 10 years women would be allowed to drive. Then 15, & 20 & 25 years went by, and STILL they weren’t allowed to drive … As an expat, I can only watch from the wings and applaud the courage of the women who are finally making a statement that they will not be treated like children. The choice as to whether or not they drive should be theirs, and theirs alone. Nonetheless, I wonder how many women will have the courage to drive on 17th June, because they will have to be prepared to be arrested, and for their husbands or guardians to be arrested too … It is extraordinary, and is becoming embarrassing, that this is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. Good luck to all the Saudi women who dare to take part.

  11. St1ngR

    To Rufai,

    Since when were women banned from traveling alone or driving any transport back in the 7th century?? This is 20th/21st Century Saudi Arabia that’s to blame not 7th Century Arabia.

  12. Rosanna

    Manal is indeed extremely brave. How much longer must men go on proving they are as stupid as we always knew they were. They are at the heart of all wars, repressive cruel regimes, family breakdown and sexual oppression. Why? So they can feel they’re in charge!!! My husband has recently been very very ill and if I had not been able to drive he would be dead. Think – you fools – of a night when you might have a heart attack or a burst appendix and your only means of getting to the hospital is your wife’s ability to drive ……………….. otherwise you deserve to die. Men could not survive without women in the world and the sooner the Saudi men join the 21st century the better.

    • Debbie

      but it’s not just the Saudi men it’s the old Bedouin women too. They are all stuck in their ways…I sure hope someone somewhere talks some sense into them real soon. Yes, sad, but true!

  13. J espère;un jour ,voire toutes le femmes saudiennes au volant de leur voiture;et j e souhaite dans un prochain avenir les voir;jouir de tous les droits universels,et de participer dans les élections et avoir droit au vote ,et de la même manière que son homologue;lhomme

  14. Pingback: Women Driving In Saudi Arabia: My Personal Thoughts « Future Husbands And Wives Of Saudis (FHWS)

  15. Hanouf

    please all like this page to support women to drive in KSA , please Ladies !

    http://on.fb.me/j8GSOr

    Please manal spread the word

  16. Janice Blawat

    I don’t ask this to be funny, but are Saudi women out in rural areas allowed to ride a camel or a horse by themselves, or is it just auto travel by themselves that’s prohibited? If only the men who make these rules could know how truly stupid they look to the rest of the world! There are so many things about your culture and religion that could be gracious examples to the rest of us, but things like this are so stupid.

    • Debbie

      yes the women are allowed , the Bedouin women also drive GMC cars and pick ups too… nobody stops them and yes they drive their camels too. it’s not only men creating the problem, there are many women -old type/fashioned- who will believe anything their husbands tell them and so they say no too. Sad but true…but it’s coming !pray for us/them.

  17. I think Saudi women will be allowed to drive as soon as two Sundays come in a week.. :)

  18. Wish I could do more than click a ‘Like’ button on a facebook page to show my support, can’t believe anyone can be locked up for committing the heinous crime of being a female in charge of the safe conduct of a motor vehicle.

  19. Pingback: June 17: Saudi Women Will Drive Regardless of Ban | Pakistan Politics & Current Affairs | Chowrangi

  20. Anna D

    i feel sorry for the women of Saudi. what a stupid rule. what a backward country.Darn shame.

  21. expat in saudi

    As an expat living in the Eastern Province I do want to address what some of the other expats have said. I do not believe that this issue of women driving is an issue only for Saudi women. There are many expat women living in Saudi who are affected by this rule. I am struggling with an appropriate response to this myself. I would love nothing more than to show solidarity on June 17th with the Saudi women who want the right to drive and take to the streets myself. Yes, as Robin pointed out, there would be risks with such an act, but the risk is nothing compared to what our Saudi sisters would be risking. We are here for primarily financial concerns, which means that we are benefiting from this oppressive government as they benefit from our services. Something my husband and I go around and around on, is it actually ethical to be here anyway, to take this salary? By doing so are we making ourselves complicit in the actions of this country? When the world looked at South Africa and the issue of apartheid, they acted, with boycotts and other means of pressure. Should we be doing the same? Are people actually willing to put their money where there mouth is? Are we?

    The one reason why I am considering not going out to drive on June 17th is that the issue is being framed as a Western plot to disrupt the morals of the citizens. My husband has told me he would gladly sit in the seat next to me if I want to go out and drive, but would it further feed into the stereotypes of a corrupt West denigrating an upright society? It is such a powerful statement when I Saudi woman is behind the wheel. I was exhilarated by the youtube video of Manal driving in streets that were familiar to me.

    I would love to hear feedback from Saudi readers of this blog. What do YOU think? What is the place of a western expat in this debate? How can we best help? I live in one of the few places where within my compound I am allowed to drive. I would happily give Saudi women driving lessons if they wanted, but they would still not have legal licenses.

    • Thank you so much for your concern and support. yes, you are right, going out now would work against us. however as soon as the ban is lifted officially then the more women driving of every nationality, the sooner Saudis will get used to the sight.
      What you can do right now however is raise the issue wherever you can, Ask your politicians to raise the issue when they meet Saudi delegations. Ask car manufactures from your country why they sell cars to a place where women are banned from driving them. Talk and write about it as much as you can.

      • انت خائنة ! تطلبين منه التحريض على بلدك ! يا ذليلة !! يا أمة الغرب !

      • ليست النذالة غريبة عنك يالمطيرية ! تكذبين حتى في نسبك وتدعين انك من تميم وانت مطيرية يا بنت النفجان
        يجب تبليغ المباحث عنك ليعرفوا تحريضك على الدولة . !

      • صدق ولا ما تصدق أنا من بني تميم ومن الرس وثانيا هي تسأل كيف تستطيع المساعدة في رفع هذا الظلم والإجحاف بحق المرأة السعودية وأنا جاوبت. كلنا بشر والمفروض انك تستحي ان الأجنبي أرحم بوضع المرأة في السعودية من بعض المواطنين بالذات هؤلاء الذين يدعون كذبا ان المرأة تعامل كالملكة وهي تتمرط وتذل وتدفع أموال طائلة في البحث عن من يوصلها. وتقولون أولويات, أليست أولوية لمن يكون راتبها أقل من خمس ألاف وهي تعيل بيت كاملا وتضطر تدفع أكثر من ربع الدخل لرجل غريب من غير وجه حق, وهناك ألف حادثة وحادثة من تحرش وابتزاز ومنع من تعليم وعلاج فقط بسبب هذا الظلم

      • من قال لك أني أعارض قيادة المرأة للسيارة ؟ هل في كلامي ما يوحي بذلك ؟
        أنا من ناحية مبدئية أرفض تأليب الغرب لقضايا داخلية حساسة , لا يمكن حسمها الا بتوافق داخلي ورضا شعبي. والنموذج الغربي ليس جذابا في مسائل المرأة , وأنت قدمت من هولندا وربما رأيت المقاطعة الحمراء (red district) في امستردام , حيث تعرض البغايا من وراء الزجاج كالبضائع الرخيصة بحماية الدولة ! هذا اسوأ بكثير من منع المرأة من القيادة , كما أن هوليوود أشد قمعا للفضائل من قمع هيئة الامر بالمعروف والنهي للمخالفين ( اذا سلمنا جدلا انها جهاز قمعي) , وهوليوود تدخل بيت وعقل كل طفل امريكي رغما عنه , وهو في بلاد الحرية !! علينا ان نتعلم كيف نحب ثقافتنا يا ايمان ونحاول الاصلاح ضمن اطارها.
        مع الأسف فان الجو السياسي في بلادنا هو الذي يسبب التشنج الحاصل كلما طرحت القضية. وسبب التشنج هوأن القضية لا تناقش في جو حر , ولا يأخذ الطرفان – المؤيد والمعارض – فسحة اعلامية متعادلة , مع غياب كامل لدراسات علمية نزيهة و محيادة , تناقش ايجابيات القضية وسلبياتها , وكيفية تفادي السلبيات , أو تطرح البدائل لها. كما لا يوجد أبدا استطلاعات علمية للرأي . اضافة الى النفاق السياسي من الطرفين – المؤيد والمعارض – ؛ فالكل يريد أن يظهر بمظهر الأقرب للسلطة , والاكثر فهما لتطلعاتها , في الوقت الذي تتمسك فيه السلطة بغموض غريب , وانعدام كامل للشفافية يثير سوء الظن عن الطرفين . وسوء الظن هذا هو علة التشنج الكبرى ! ومما يزيد الأمر حنقا لدى الناس , هو ما يرونه من تعمد مريب من الطرفين لتجاهل قضايا أكبر وأهم بكثير , يطول ذكرها !
        لو كانت هناك – يا ايمان – نقاشات هادئة وحرة , ودراسات علمية نزيهة , واستطلاعات للرأي : لرضي الجميع بأي قرار يتخذ بناء على ذلك , وهدأت النفوس. ولكن هناك على ما يبدو تعمد من قبل السلطة للمتاجرة بالقضية. وهناك أيضا استغلال طائفي شيعي لها لان الشيعة يريدون اضعاف سلطة الدولة بضرب العلاقة بينها وبين أكثرية شعبها. وهذه الاهداف الشيعية واضحة كالشمس مهما أحسنا الظن بالشيعة .

      • expat in saudi

        Yes, I’m working on getting the word out. Its the one comfort I have right now when I feel like my hands are tied and I question the morality of being here. The fact is I am here now, and I can help tell the story.

      • انت يا احمد فؤاد لا تميز بين استيراد الايجابيات وتصديرها الطوعي , وبين حشد الرأي العام الغربي لقضية داخلية. هل سمعتنا يوما ما نحشد الراي العام الامريكي لكي لا يسمح بالشذوذ عندهم ؟
        وهذا يختلف عن مجرد المشاركة بالرأي يا مغفل. الذي يحشد الرأي العام الغربي على أي قضية داخلية هو خائن بلا شك وملعون ويستحق اشد العقوبة. نحن نرحب بآرائهم لكن لا نرحب بضغوطهم. والاخت ايمان النفجان طلبت من الاجنبية ان تثير قضية القيادة باستمرار وان تقول لشركات تصدير السيارات لماذا تصدرونها لبلد لا تقود فيه المرأة !! وهذا الأخير مضحك جدا لان الشركات اصلا لا تفكر الا في الربح ولا يهمها حتى لو لم يقد الرجال انفسهم السيارات او رميناها في البحر !
        آه لو اطلعتم على مراكز الابحاث الامريكية وما تكتب عن هذه البلاد وتطالب الحكومة بالتدخل في كل صغيرة وكبيرة . حتى انهم يطلبون من الحكومة الامريكية ( وانا قرأت هذا بنفسي والله العظيم ) ان تتدخل في تصاميم مشاريع الاسكان في بلادنا بحيث تتيح فرصة ومساحات لاختلاط الجنسين ! اقسم بالله الى هذه الدرجة يتدخلون ! والملعون هو من يستجيب لهم فكيف بمن يحرضهم علينا ؟
        لذلك انا اتفق مع الاخ احمد : انت خائنة يا ايمان . ولا تستدلي بالرسول عليه الصلاة والسلام . سيرة الرسول ليس فيها خيانات للمسلمين !
        انا اتعاطف مع المطالبات بقيادة السيارة ولكني لا يمكن الا ان ادعو لضرب الخونة والمحرضين. لعنهم الله من أولهم لآخرهم.

    • Sandy

      I am not a Saudi- so I will not drive. I am going to get an international license so when and if things change- I will hit the road. I think the more women drive the better. I don’t feel it’s my place as a foreigner to lead a change here- but I will support it.

    • اما بالنسبة لنسبك فأنا خبير في الأنساب وأعرف ان النفجان من الرس من قبيلة مطير . وانت اما جاهلة أو مضللة . انا متاكد انك مطيرية مثلما اني متاكد أن البعير اكبر من الدجاجة .

      • مسكين والله العظيم أنا من بني تميم فخذ وهبة وهذا ليس نقصا في مطير لكنها الحقيقة وجد والدي اسمه نفجان ولذلك وضع ال قبل اسمه واصبحت النفجان وعيال عمي معظمهم العزام.
        وأنا ليست منبهرة بالغرب ولا طفلة كي توعني عن المخاطر والمؤمرات. أنا فقط أدافع عن الحق بقدر ما أستطيع وبأي سبيل يتاح لي.
        قدوتي في ذلك الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم الذي وقف مع الحق بالرغم مما عليه قومه واستعان بقبائل اخرى وحتى ملك الحبشة. يكفي تشويه الاسلام والسعوديون، حان الوقت ان نعترف بأخطائنا بدل ما نغطيها وننكرها باسم العادات والتقاليد. الدين صالح لكل مكان وزمان فلما نحرم ما احل الله بحجة اننا لسنا صالحين؟

      • الأخ المنفعل طالع يتكلم بحدة عن الأنساب والخيانة..
        سلامات..
        الموضوع يالحبيب حول مشكلة محلية تهمنا جميعا: قيادة المرأة للسيارة..
        ولو شاركنا أحد القوم من خارج البلاد برأي فنقدر ونحترم رأيه..
        ولا خيانة ولا طاحت نجوم السما..
        فكما نريد أن نصدر ايجابياتنا وقيمنا إلى الغير.. فلا مانع من الاستفادة من قيمهم وتجاربهم..

      • Women in Saudi Drive NOW!!

        وش دخل الأصل في المسألة؟
        و الا هذه اللقافة و ما تسوي؟

        الأخت المدونة يشرف بها قومها أيا كانوا و يجب ألا تستفز للاجابة من أمثال هؤلاء
        تراه و الله للتعيير و ليس لسبب اخر

        الله يوفقك لقيادة سيارتك بنفسك و الى الأمام

        تحياتي
        أبو خالد

  22. Fernando

    animo a todas las mujeres del mundo, que teneis el mismo derecho y mas fuerza que los hombres. animo a Manal. a cambiar las cosas, injustas, y anacronicas.

  23. Sue Bingham

    There is a certain root cause problem-solving technique known as the 5 whys. Essentially, one mimics the thought process of an inquisitive child and asks “Why?” repeatedly until a reasonable explanation emerges.
    An illustrative example:
    A young husband watches his wife prepare her first holiday feast for their entire family. She has purchased a large and expensive cut of meat. She carefully seasons it to perfection and and even wraps parts of it in foil so it will roast evenly. It is to be the centerpiece for the meal and she wants it to be absolutely spectacular. Before finally putting it in the oven, he notices that she cuts a large slice off and discards it.
    He asks her: “Why did you throw away such a large piece of meat?”
    She replies: ” This is how my mother always fixes this cut of meat.”
    Later at dinner, he asks his mother-in-law about the practice. His mother-in-law replies: “Well, that is how my mother always prepared this dish and you have to admit it is quite delicious when cooked this way.”
    His wife’s grandmother also happens to be present and is thoroughly enjoying the family gathering. After dinner, the young husband approaches her and tells her what her daughter and grand-daughter have told him. He again humbly asks “Why?”
    She thinks, laughs gently, and says: ” I sliced off the ends of the meat because the only pan that I owned was far too small for an entire roast.” FINALLY — AN ANSWER! :-)
    —-
    Now, as an outsider, I mean no offense but would still like to ask “Why?”
    Why is it illegal for Saudi women to drive?

  24. What a nonsense?: Manal broke into tears and asked to interrogate instigators: Alwatan reported today..

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  32. الأخ عبدالله:
    هذه قيمنا وسندافع عنها ونرحب بكل من يشاركنا الدفاع عنها..
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  34. Jack Augsbury

    This is a very brave woman who is standing up to an injustice. It is like this story is from a different age but the right to vote is less than 100 years old in the US. I have no doubt the right and justice will prevail.

  35. Mohiuddin

    I wish to highlight what Sheikh Qaradawi stated: that Yet, “the ulama should convey the necessary advice to the leadership wisely and prudently. If differences of opinion exist, we should do as Allah commanded in the Holy Quran to the effect, ‘Argue with them in ways that are best’.” (Surah al-Nahl: 125)
    So Manal should have handled the issue without confronting PVPV and law; as it is not worth to be in a situation where she may be in jail. Bring change if you want but by addressing the issue at its core, by spreading the word/message and talking to concerned authorities. Further inconvinience caused by not being able to drive is far more less than having to be in jail. However Allah knows the best.

    • Sam

      I think that anyone can learn how to drive and should be allowed to so long as they are physically and mentally able. Maybe we should teach the women of birth control as well so thay can no longer be burdened with bringing backward thinking menchildren into the world!

      As for Mohiuddin & the PVPV you are so wrong!! Allah does not know nor cares about squat as no such god ever did & does not now exist. Worshipping toward a big black rock because some drunken syphilis infected pedophile stole the idea from a previous ancient arabian cult, then he and his followers demanded it at the edge of a sword is down right arcaic and has no place in a modern world.

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  37. lark

    A campaign in Saudi Arabia can inform people everywhere about injustices in Saudi Arabia but it cannot force those people to take action.

    If people boycott Saudi or try to influence their governments or companies to isolate Saudi, that is their free decision as free people. You cannot stop them, and the activists in Saudi are not responsible for their free decisions.

    You may wish you could shut down the channels of information, so that these free people would not know of the suffering in your country and so would not feel impelled to take a stand against it.

    But the times are against you. The Arab Spring is against you. The technology is against you. The human potential and dignity of women (and supportive men) is against you. You would have to throw all the women in jail and deprive them of all contact with the outside world to stop the spread of this information. Do you want that? If you did that, the consequences of isolation for Saudi would be far worse, and your society would decay into meaningless cruelty and abuse.

    It is evil to use religion to justify coercion!

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  40. Jack Augsbury

    There is a fear that some men have toward women that leads them to blame the women for this feeling of inadequacy. It is a feeling of powerlessness within themselves that they transfer to women in the form of blame and control instead of accepting responsiblity for themselves.
    It is a deep dark secret that needs to see the light of day. Everyone is responsible for themselves, blame is for children.

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  42. Way to go! :) Really commend Manal Al Sherif for her courage!

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  45. Hammed

    God (pbuh) mades us equal, repression isn’t working anymore, soon the system will collapse.
    I support my wife driving because I prefer not to have anther man driving her , home driver or taxi driver.

    Cleric and Government PLEASE wake up to modern age and freedom

  46. karen

    I fully stand by this courages woman and hope that her brave conduct will be followed and rewarded by her fellow country wimen.

  47. Khaled

    Saudi Arabia should follow and learn from the west.
    Yeah, we need to make saudi arabia like Dubai, We need sluts, prostitutes, hookers, clubs and bars…. A good glass of vodka with russian girls in Riyadh would be the right way …..

    Imagine saudi topless women sitting in deserts like in France or UK… We need nudist area inside saudi arabia.

    Saudi Women rise up for your freedom. there is nothing wrong with walking topless, when the parliaments of UK, Canada and many european countries have approved it, you should fight for your rights……

    Fight for your nightclubs, fight of rum,vodka, discotheques etc. etc..

    Fight for womanizers like Jamal Khashoggi and make him Interior Minister…

    March towards FREEDOM.

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  49. lefranse

    Animate Manal. Tu eres una mujer inteligente en IT.
    No te dejes llevar abajo por las pasiones de conducir.
    Un sabio profeta lo dijo muy bien..evita los extremos.
    Tu familia y tu trabajo vienen antes de todo.

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  51. alfranse

    Je voudrais faire une explication, se vous plait.
    La femme saoudienne est tres fort et tres belle.
    Cést rai.

    • Saudi_analyst

      hire expats to teach, phew, who are kidding dubious frenchmen…. if you were living and working in saudi arabia then you know for a fact:
      1- saudis are lazy
      check any government institutions
      – they come late and leave early
      – they work very slow as they have some sort of cognitive disease,
      – they disappear from work ( if the work is for 8 hours, come ONE hour late and leave 2 hours early so you are working 5 hours, then in this 5 hours , the guy has to go for lunch, nap, salah prayers and what not… so he is actually working 2 or 3 hours )

      Look, mr. french looks like you had a rotten croissant in your breakfast…. otherwise, you would not have been mocking the reality.

      * Why do Saudi Businessmen hire non-saudis ?
      * Why do Saudi Women not sit in Taxis operated by Saudis ?
      * Why are there so many prisoners who stay in in Jail for years without trial because the judge doesn’t have time or is overloaded or not enough trained judges…etc… ( the issue is not that but lazy saudis )

      But with all my harsh criticism i must admit and say, the Country has made 1000% progression. From 0 ( Zero sifar nich ditto ) they are alteast something. 20 years ago, there was no saudi doctor and today you have few saudi doctors …..
      So, I am not really against Aal Saud or Saudis rather i like to point out sheer hypocrisy and ignorance and pseudo intellectualism by the likes of the owner of this blog or blue-dummy-abaya finnish heretic who is mocking religious institutions.

      Saudi Arabia has made a great progress….and Saudis are improving but they still have a lot to do more…..inshallah they will lead the Muslim Ummah after several thousand years. This cannot happen overnight.

      What Manal al-Sharif regardless of what tribe she belongs to or if she original saudi or not who really cares, ( does the blogger saudi jeans have any iota of brain ?? ) called for
      I repeat MANAL AL-SHARIF CALLED for
      * chaoas
      * disunity
      * disruption
      * rebellion
      for which she should have been punished really harsh 3 to 5 years at the least in hard labour would have been the sentence, but she should thank God then the Government that she was lucky to be released in 10 days. I am pretty sure she got little fat, because of eating mandi and other superb 5 star food at the prison ( islahiyya = correctional facility aka Jail )

      Imagine if all the foolish women started driving cars chased by young saudis … had accidents where is the infrastructure ?
      * does saudi arabia have women police ?
      * does saudi arabia have women jail ?? ( not prison or correctional facility which is different than jail = custody , hold up until proven guilty to be transferred to prison )
      * does saudi arabia have women paramedics ?
      * does saudi arabia have insurance policy for women ?
      * does saudi arabia have women lawyers ?

      so what manal was calling for was totally irrational , and by the way, she is out on BAIL which means she could be called any moment back to prison…… prosecuted and could have a 3 to 5 year sentence…

      *** Saudi Analyst ***

  52. lefranse

    Looki here Saudi Analyst: I have a deep respect for all Saudis, women and men. I love King Abdulaziz, King Faisal, and King Abdullah, because they did or doing the much for their countryfolk. The Saudis that I have worked with, women and men, are not lazy, are fully competent, intelligent, responsible. Saudi Arabia is a good and beautiful country. I have a son, a Muslim, burried there in Riyadh for your knowledge. You need change your vision and disposition, mon ami. I admire Saudi women from a safe distance. Is there anything worng with that?

  53. lefranse

    Manal, for what you did, you would be applauded by men and women all over the world. However, it is not logical nor prudent to take unnecessary risks on your life. Encore, une foi pour toi, ma etoile dans la nuit!!

    Eman, thanks for the professional translation of Manal’s tour of Al-Khobar.
    Maybe, what is needed a new train service between Manama and Al-Khobar over the Causeway.

    Exercise caution Muslimah!!

  54. lefranse

    Mon ami: The public sector in Saudi Arabia does have it share of problems. There are problems of discipline, poor organization, etc. Fire Difa Mandi brigades leave fires to smoulder on their own. However, it does not make Saudi Arabia a bad country. If you a real have problem with public services, please go to a Masjli with King Abdullah and present your case and solutions there, not in this forum. If this does not work, please see a psychiatrist asap. Saudi Arabia must set the example for all Muslims to follow. Real ‘Israil is Arabia and ?. I have no beef with you, habibi.

  55. lefranse

    Saudi Analyst: Do you realize that you are complaining about public services in Saudi Arabia. Manal was doing the same, complaining about a public entitlement for women. The right the drive a car (une voiture), right that all women have all over the world, except in Saudi Arabia because the males are weary and are overprotecting their women from predators. Love affairs at the mall via phising or some other method is nothing new over there!!

  56. Saudi_analyst

    Like i thought, either you are on a cheap french wine or rotten french croissant….
    the public sector has a problem, so does the private sector miss stupidity lefranse ? are the people working in private sector different saudis than the ones working in the public sector. this really proves how much brain you have yet you advice “please see a psychiatrist asap” looks you are the one who requires some psychiatrist help but don’t go to saudi psychiatrist he might screw up your head more…

    as you for claim “Saudi Arabia must set the example for all Muslims to follow.” ; how can some ignoramus lazy stupid people lead muslims ? the likes to Walid ibn Talal Aal Saud calling upon muslim girls to learn belly dance on his Star Academy ?

    yes, i agree with you that Saudi Arabia is not a bad country compared to somalia or republic of congo. No doubt about that. yes, Saudi Arabia is not a bad country compared to Uganda…. but NO Saudi Arabia is very bad country compared to America, Canada or Europe or even India, China.

    you are just a fool in denial, you cannot take it the corruption in saudi society.

    A Saudi Man feel ashamed and shy to call his wife by her name in Public ? why does he hide the name of wife or daughter from his friends ? Ashamed as if women is some sort of sin ? or ashamed because saudi mind is perverted and majority of young saudis go to syria, dubai for sex ?

    Come on if there was real Islam in saudi arabia then it would not be in this condition today ? what about the RIBAWI = INTEREST USURY BANKS like SAMBA , SABB, Saudi Hollandi following Jewish Ribawis ??

    Yes, it is right to say Saudi Arabia is following lefranse version of Islam or liberal-mixed-with-tribalism islam, but real Islam is different.

    So it a nutshell, saudi arabia is a very bad country when it comes to
    1) Islam
    2) Dunya
    from both points of view it is not good country , but they pay good tax free money to westerners , that is why we come to saudi arabia to teach you fools how to eat, work, dress, clean yourselves after using toilet ! 37 years ago, saudis still used to go outside their houses to relieve themselves . there was no concept of toilet amongst the general public in rural areas which is 90% of the saudi arabia. so statistically majority didn’t know about toilets….

    lefranse, i advice you put up or shut up instead of making yourself a laughing stock.

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  58. lefranse

    You work for MOI, Saudi Analyst. Not wonder!!! It is you who needs help.
    I am writing in this blog to support Manal and the Saudi ladies, not to deal with deranged man who does not even know how to write a single sentence.

  59. alfranse

    lefrance=royal prince

  60. Yahya Sulayman

    I believe that Saudi women only want to drive for practical reasons.
    They do not want the libertine and wicked ways of the West to corrup their daughters. You know: Thelma and Louise!! or Bonnie and Clyde!!

  61. louise

    It is important to support brave and individual struggle all over the world if it is for a just cause. This is called progress. It takes one very good person to put their individual good behind that of the greater good. These are special people who will go down in history. They do nothing for themselves, they know the price they may have to pay, but they do everything for their children’s future. Good luck to Manal. She may pay a heavy price for the freedom of people who do not even support her. If you are there, help her to make a difference.

  62. Yahya Sulayman

    May ALLAAH SUBHANA WATA’ALA bless you Manal. Maybe you did not get a driver’s license, but you were instrumental in getting men out of selling undergarments to women. Lingerie shops are going to be staffed bgy women in the KSA. Please the Arabnews article
    http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article449657.ece?comments=all#comments
    May ALLAAH bless all the good women of Saudi Arabia.
    One nuisance down and more to go.

  63. Manal Bibi,

    No CNN or NATO may bring home your freedom or the human rights; they may be seen encouraging you but may do so only to their own ends. For twistsing Saudi government arms and mint few more millions.

    It may be a long haul but only the indigenous and class less and secular Jasmine type revolution may work. You may not see the light of freedom on your clock but the candle you lite; many more will come to lite their candles and go forward.
    And then there was a light.

  64. There will be many more Manal Al- Sherifs who will be pushed behind the bars before they see that they hit the road to drive freely while they are ruled by the depressing regime of King Saud family.

    But as long as King Saud is able to bribe the Saudis with money in the name of their social reforms; no Saudi court yard may ever see the light of dawn of freedom and restoration of human rights.

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  66. Today is the day that Manal planned to take the car out to drive.

    But does she have the licence to drive?

    She is already charged with tarnishing the image of her country by creating the facebook page.
    Having no licence to drive means…a police offence.. Straight away pushed behind the bars.

    Poor Saudi woman

  67. alfranse

    I shot the sherif.
    I shot the sherif,
    but I didn’t kill any deputy now!!
    Manal..you are my Marianne in France!
    Danz La France!!

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  69. White man

    Wow god forbid your women to lead happy free lives? Don’t think any westerners, or anyone else in the world for that matter, actually respect your culture and treatment of women. This is what we call insecurity! You brown boys worried your wives will get a taste of freedom and realize they don’t need to put up with you and your perverted/polygamist ideas? Remember There are plenty of good men in the world ladies… Your happiness is more important than your families, and most certainly your husbands especially if they care more for status and culture than your well being

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  76. Reblogged this on منال مسعود الشريف Manal Alsharif and commented:
    I ran into this by accident.. My eyes filled with tears.. And women are still minors in my country.. and women are still not able to drive..

  77. alfranse

    A women only souk where women sell to women is much more preferable and decent than seeing Muslim men tossing women’s undergarments, or even worse, having decent Muslim women assailed by these salesmen.

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