For a second, imagine that you and a group of women were trapped by flames and you are choking to death after breathing in heavy smoke.
There is no hope, you’re on your own. No one hear your voice. No one is around to comfort you, while your heart beat so fast like it’s going to beat out of your chest.
Meanwhile, you hear the siren of an ambulance or a fire engine, and you are hoping to be rescued from difficult predicament. After a while, you realize that a group of religious men who enjoin good and forbid evil, stopped firefighters to rescue you, they falsely reason referring to Quranic verses and prophetic hadiths that women trapped in the fire are not mahram to officers and firefighters. In such a horrifying situation, there is no other choice for these women to burn and turn into a pile of ashes!!!
The story may be a dark and dreaded nightmares for you as women living in the free world which will be finished by dawn. But the truth is, this is not a fantasy story. It practically happened in 2002 in the country that is known as Saudi Arabia. So, in this article and the next articles, we are looking into this question; indeed, what is the root cause of this brutal harshness against the Saudi woman? Why is the Saudi government afraid of granting the simplest rights to Saudi women?
April 21, 2008, Human Rights Watch published an important report entitled: “Women who remain forever in the infancy.” The report stressed that the government of Saudi Arabia has a very dark record on women’s rights. Condemning the ruling system that Saudi men dominate women, Human Rights Watch called on the international efforts to abolish the male guardianship system, in another report: “the one living in a box, women and Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system”. HRW also released videos on Twitter and YouTube to raise awareness of public opinion on Saudi women.
One of the video is about a Saudi female doctor complaining that she was invited by a prestigious European university to deliver a scientific lecture, but she couldn’t go because her little son, who play video games, didn’t approved.
In another video, a Saudi female detainee disclosed that she have to stay in prison a couple more years after the end of the conviction, because her male guardian knows her as a disgrace to their family and refuse to deliver her from the prison.
These problems and challenges, many of which arose after 1981, made Saudi women activists to intensify their activities which resulted in the emergence of the women’s movement in 1990 at the same time as the second Gulf War. During these years, dozens of Saudi women and girls started driving on the streets of Saudi Arabia in a coordinated manner and called for the restoration of their lost rights. However, the Wahhabi radical elements and the leader did not tolerate the small amount of freedom for Saudi women. They suppressed the movement, defame these women issuing statements in mosques and accused their husbands of being cuckold. However, they were unaware of the fact that the Saudi woman made a decisive decision to leave their peripheral cocoon.
Many analysts and experts on Saudi Arabia are seeking Saudi woman’s problem in the patriarchal and violent culture of the Saudi men. While, I as the author of this article want to look at the issue from a different angle. We believe that Saudi woman’s major problem is not violent culture of the Saudi man, it is actually women’s submission to the patriarchal authority structure of the family. Unfortunately, many Saudi women are not aware of their rights. They know all of their pain and suffering as divine command theories and they know it as God’s will that there is nothing they could do about. Accordingly, it seems essential that, first, the Saudi woman knows her rights to be able to raise men in her arms who consider women as human beings with full rights.
It is double important to know that the overwhelming majority of women’s rights opponents are raised by mothers who have considered themselves immature and child-like. Therefore, it is not surprising that we do not understand their dark thoughts. On the other hand, we believe that submissive mothers against oppression will naturally breed a nation that will deserve themselves to be oppressed without even protesting.
With God’s help, we will examine the issue of women’s rights in the next series of articles.