(Susie published a lovely post on her blog, Susie’s Big Adventure: susie’s big adventure: Saudi Women: Changing Reality, Making History. I tried to post a comment, but had trouble getting recognized, as usual, so I’ve decided to post my comment here.)
I was happy to read about so many accomplishments by Saudi women– genuine accomplishments, not acts of defiant behavior leading to the jail. I know I am in a minority by believing that Manal Al-Sharif’s day of driving did not help the cause.
It’s interesting that women have been permitted to do the things you’ve mentioned, yet not drive cars. I was in the Kingdom when the first driving episode occurred, resulting in severe censure for the women drivers as well as their husbands.
Driving is still a frontier for Saudi women, maybe because of these episodes and not in spite of them.
At first glance, I may appear to be a middle-aged American woman with kids, grandkids, retired from a job in a hospital, gratefully relieved from the responsibilities that come with all of that. Behind the image, which is true enough, I am fairly unhinged from much of American mainstream living, having spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia, years that sprung me from societal and familial impositions, and narrow bands of truth. I have learned to embrace my identity as a seeker, an artist, and a writer.
I study Arabic and Italian language, because I love them, and I love their people. I still dream of spending more time in the Middle East and Italy, though the dreaming now seems more real than the possibilities. I am a photographer. I write, and sometimes publish, flash memoir, and now a blog or two.
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Sorry you had such a hard time trying to post your comment – I have that problem too at times when I’m trying to comment on other blogs and I know how frustrating it can be.
I just wanted to express my amazement at the progress for women that I have seen here in Saudi Arabia over the last five years since it has been my home. It’s quite remarkable.
Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble posting comments on blogs. I don’t know what the problem is… I always type the curvy letters and numbers correctly, and the program insist that I haven’t done so, and then I have to type a new set of curvy nonsense letters and/or numbers, and the program again says I didn’t do it right, and presents me with a third set. By this time, I’ve given up. This happens on Blogger blogs, not WordPress. Oh, well… it’s a wonder these blogs work at all, and work as well as they do…!
That’s exactly the same problem I have had! Grrrrr – so frustrating!