While the President Barack Obama was his speech on the political changes in the Arab world, with a call to the "universal" rights of women to be respected, all we , ally Saudi Arabia --one of the more patriarchal societies on Earth - became ready to put a young woman in jail for having the temerity to take the wheel of a car.Skip to the next paragraph
Manal al-sharif, an activist of women's rights, downloaded YouTube video to conduct themselves in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, last week. The video is part of a campaign encouraging Saudi to take a page from the Arabic online rules uprisings and to challenge oppression while driving on 17 June of this year. Over the weekend, Ms. Sharif was arrested and is currently detained on charges that it disturbed public order ".
Video it downloaded has since been taken down (although some of these shocking images used in this history of Al-Jazeera), like the Facebook group, she started, although a similar page was recently restored by emulators.
The de facto ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia has long been the front line for the small group of Saudi women's rights activists. During the first Gulf war in 1990, the presence of the soldiers of women driving Humvees in Saudi Arabia has inspired a group of rich woman Saudi to organize a demonstration at the wheel, with 14 cars routing around the capital, Riyadh - with male relative caregivers - for half an hour before being arrested by the religious police.
This group, who argued that they should have the freedom to go to the store or drive to work by themselves, have been hailed as whores and worse by the Mutaween, the young thugs that the Government can apply public "morality" that emerges from the Saudi version of Islam. Most of the women concerned were forbidden to travel abroad for a year as punishment.
This time, a Saudi Mutaween online group gathered to attack the Saudi Sharif and aerospace. YouTube and Facebook have filled with vile attacks on Sharif of anonymous keyboard warriors.
As practice, women's rights have improved little in Saudi Arabia since 1990. Women always require the authorization of a male relative to travel abroad and are severely limited in their employment opportunities by separate workplaces and school. Many of the Saudi youth say there are culture underground dissatisfaction at the level of repression in the country and that they would like a change. But in a country where even the polling is controlled by the Government, it is difficult to say how this feeling extends.
With the harsh action against Sharif, it is clear that the Government does not want to know.
King Abdullah is said to be for easing restrictions on women (he opened the first country and only joint university, named after him, in 2009), but the reactionary clerical hierarchy of the country does not. Clerics wield considerable informal power, with many Saudi mean agreement with the proposal that women should be closely controlled by their husbands, fathers and brothers. (Women are beginning to challenge this system of trusteeship, however; see exhibit nice today by correspondent for monitor caryle Murphy on a Saudi doctor woman who is appealing the Supreme Court for the right to choose a husband).
There is probably not much Obama - or any President of the United States - could do to change the culture of Saudi Arabia. Wealth of the country and the position as reliable, producer mass oil has always earned him a much lighter U.S. key on other nations human rights problems. As admitted Obama "it will be time when our short-term interests align perfectly with our region's long term vision.".
But it was a speech that "Saudi Arabia" is not even mentioned, in which promised Obama "we will continue to insist that the Iranian people deserve their universal rights and a Government which does not stifle their aspirations."
For what it worth,Iran, is given a best rating for the equality of the sexes that Saudi Arabia.