Thursday, November 27, 2008

"[D]emoralizing it would be to allow women to drive."

Reading this post from a Saudi female blogger, I felt as though I was looking through a peephole into a world galaxies away from my own.

Judge for yourself:

Upon return from a training trip to Cairo, I found myself accompanied by a young Saudi (23) in the waiting lounge. Our conversation started when he asked me if departure times were set according to Saudi or Egyptian time.

The boy was from Jeddah, pursuing his Bachelor in Alexandria. Jeddah folks are known to be frequent travelers to Egypt, while people from Riyadh tend to either LOVE Egypt or HATE it. Our conversation fell into that category: how do you like the country, where to go and how to have fun.

He told me that Egypt is the type of place you want to visit with friends, but not family. When I asked him to elaborate, he mentioned that though he didn’t drink alcohol, he enjoyed going to bars and observing people. It is hard to do that with family. Family travel is restrictive and by travelling with friends to countries like Egypt one had the choice to go where he pleases.

As the conversation lost stamina, the boy surprised me by stating, “You must be one of those who want women to drive?” The question caught me off guard, because until then I was an avid listener to him—and quite impressed by his brightness and high spirits. On the other hand, his question –stated in the form of an accusation- struck me as shallow.

“Why?” I asked him, but he didn’t answer. Instead, he said told me how demoralizing it would be to allow women to drive.

“Why?” I asked again.

“It will only lead our sisters and daughters to ruin,” he said.“Allowing women to drive is not the same as forcing them to drive, right?” I responded but he gave me no time.

“Don’t kid me, you will all want to drive and hit the streets as you please and there will be no way to control anything anymore.”

At this point I stopped taking the conversation seriously. I realized that I was talking to a boy who is recently learning to demand personal choice and has yet to learn that with personal choice comes the responsibility of accepting the choices of other people.

Unfortunately, however, if there’s a boy who is yet to learn—remains people who have grown and progressed on so many professional levels yet when it came to defining the world there was:- Their controlled utopia – the tamed virtuous queen which they visit on intervals.-

Their wild ride – the mistresses.

Update: Here is another wondrous ban, discussed on the Saudi blog "American Bedu":

"...Sadly though if you are a woman and visiting Jeddah and wish to see this resting place, you would be prohibited from entry as women are not allowed in the graveyards of Saudi Arabia. "

There is some learned discussion in the comments, disputing that there is such a ban. However, it appears to be inconclusive.


At 4:04 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before going on any trip whether you are driving it or going by another other modes of transportation, it is important to have a variety of travel maps available. The last thing anybody wants to have happen is getting lost on his or her trip. Being lost takes valuable time away from enjoying yourself if it is a pleasure trip, or takes away from working time if the trip is for business.


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