In writing this blog for the last almost-3 years I have tried to convey a little of what it’s like to live in the UAE, share with you some of the more interesting or offbeat stories and generally give you an unbiased viewpoint on my life in the desert. Where-ever possible I have stayed away from political or religious judgments, comments or opinions, as it has never been my intention to offend or upset anyone. However there is a small and interesting rebellion going on in Saudi Arabia at the moment that I feel I must share with you – in case it’s not made the news anywhere else – and furthermore give my support to. And this is not because it’s a religious or political thing, but rather a way of showing my solidarity with these women who are making a point about what isn’t working for them.
[traditionally passengers only]
Now what the heck am I rambling about eh? Well in Saturday’s paper this week there was a follow on story about a lady in Riyadh called Maha al Qahtani. After packing her toothbrush and prayer mat (in case of arrest) this Saudi Arabian lady has defied tradition and a government ban, and driven herself
in the family car, with her supportive husband beside her in the passenger seat. She is one of about 40 women there who took part in a small unofficial “protest” on this particular Friday, and drove themselves. Now for most of us ladies this doesn’t seem like a big deal right? But in Saudi Arabia this is huge, and took tremendous courage I would imagine. Traditionally women in the country are not allowed to drive themselves, and are either driven by a male relative or a driver. But in an attempt to pressure the government into lifting the ban these few ladies are making a point, and fighting for their right to some independence and a little more mobility. Whilst it may not have been the mass drive-out they were after it is still a massive deal.
Keep pushing ladies, great effort!
Random fact #14: a Dubai number plate (K 50) has sold at an RTA “distinguished number plate” auction for 1.5 million dirhams (about 400,000 USD). A total of 115 plates were auctioned on the day, for a total of 16.9m dirhams.
image source: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images