“What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours,” is how the song goes, and the line could not ring more true for Saudi women.
This week we saw Saudi King Abdullah grant women the vote in an effort to not only keep the “Arab Spring” away from his Kingdom, but also to quell the the momentum the women’s movement has gained there to remove the country’s notorious driving ban.
But the King is offering too little too late. He is missing the point by responding with the right to vote. Saudi women’s demand to be allowed to drive, a ban which only exists in Saudi Arabia, goes beyond the right to simply be permitted by law to start the engine of your car.
Posted in Violence Against Women, Women's Rights=Human Rights
Tagged Arab Spring, Driving Ban, Free Manal, King Abdullah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Manal Al-Sharif, Middle East, Muslim Women's Rights, Russia Today, Saudi Women, Thom Hartmann, Women in Islam
One of the most electrifying outcomes of the recent protests in the Middle East & North Africa has been the shattering of myths about Arabs & Muslims that have for too long been fed to the West: the women are voiceless, passive creatures apathetic to their country’s political processes, and democracy is something we are not only incapable of handling, but do not desire to begin with.
Of course now the truth is out, and the whole world has witnessed the opposite: the deep yearning for democracy actually permeates the Arab world, and women are front and center of the protests. The youth from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen to Libya have shown us they are willing to die for freedom.
Asma al- Assad's Designer Accessories Only Act As a Cover for Syria's Ruthless Dictatorship. Image Credit: Huffington Post
But Vogue has no interest in that. The iconic fashion publication has made it clear that when is comes to the Middle East they are more interested in the choice of designers of dictators, or more specifically their wives, as the recent profile of Syria’s First Lady Asma al-Assad proves.
The Wall Street Journal points out that the magazine, whose characterization of Asma (aptly titled “The Dictator’s Wife Wears Louboutins”) which concentrates on her couture and Chanel accessories, clearly missed the memo that tyrants are no longer trending in the Middle East:
The Assad family—first Hafez and now his son Bashar—has ruled Syria since 1970. In that time, they’ve killed 20,000 Syrians to put down an uprising in Hama, provoked civil war in Lebanon and then occupied the country to “keep peace,” built a secret nuclear-weapons facility modeled on North Korea’s, and established Damascus as a hub for terrorists from Hezbollah to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. All part of keeping their countrymen under foot for 40 years.
Let's Talk About Dior, Not Democracy: Like Asma, Queen Rania Does a Similar Job for Her Husband. Image Credit: Flickr
Posted in Politics Not As Usual, Women's Rights=Human Rights
Tagged Asma al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad, democracy, Dictator's wives, Dictators, Jordan, King Abdullah, Middle East, Middle East protests, Muslim women, Queen Rania, Syria, Vogue