Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Arab elections and women


The Arab News has an op-ed by Raid Qusti titled "Why Women's Voting Is Complicated," a response to criticisms he heard from Saudi women after an earlier column on the same topic. "To begin with, we need to look at our country as a whole and weigh the reality of things," he writes. "We should look at it rationally and not emotionally." Something tells us this will not placate the ladies. Qusti goes on to explain all the difficulties of letting women vote in the forthcoming local elections:

One of the comments made by a Saudi female, responding to my last article, is that we do not need separate ballot centers for men or women so that sinful mixing could not occur. Instead we could have different voting hours for men and women. Women could come, for example, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. And men could come from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. That way there would be no mixing. Good suggestion.

But employing Saudi women to answer queries from Saudi women is not easy, especially in remote areas. Then of course the problem still exists of finding women who are willing to work in village or small towns. If the women are willing then they would need male escorts to stay with them there, in addition of course to finding male drivers since women are not allowed to drive here.

Hypothetically, let's say all these were resolved. That is, the municipality had given itself enough time to set up everything, even employed women to assigned areas, and everything was set to go. Continuing the hypothesis further, let's say that some Saudi women who registered their names and later nominated themselves as candidates actually won and had become official members of the municipality council. In other words, these women are now officials. . . .

If a single woman won and became a member of the municipality council that would mean the government would have to construct a separate building for her. Whether she is one female, two, or ten, Saudi law forbids men and women to work in the same establishment.

Of course, one could just as easily use this as an argument against men serving in the Saudi government. Anyway, scores of countries, including Muslim lands like Turkey and Indonesia, have somehow mastered the complexity of coed voting. Why is it so hard for the Saudis?


  • At 10:09 AM, December 03, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well can you blame them!?

    They hate America. We let our women do lots of stuff. They may believe that if they let women vote and work and drive then Suadi Arabia might turn into something more like America. Can't have that now can they?

    Army of Dad

  • At 1:30 PM, December 03, 2004, Blogger JD said…

    I have spent some time in Saudi Arabia and watched how they treat women up close. They can't go anywhere unescorted, they can't drive, they can't work. When I was there a wife cost about 10K in USD or 70K in Saudi Rials. It is common for Saudi men to buy several wives. Often they are married to cousins to keep the money in the family. A German nurse I met explained to me that this practice resulted in lots of birth defects. If you get behind a car with women in it on the causeway to Bahrain you will see the border guards put a lot of time consuming scrutiny in checking the women. They don't want any to escape. If you go to the Wendy's in Al Kobar there will be a dinning room for men and another for families. This is true in all restaurants. Weddings are conducted in two rooms with the sexes separated.

    For a while, I lived in an traditional Saudi house. It had two doors, one for men and one for women. The local Arabs thought that it was funny that I would use the women's door.

    When you are there, you get the impression that the government uses Islam to control the people. With both the Imams and the governement enforcing Islamic law, things are very tightly controled. The Saudi's are also very obstrutionist and change does not come easy to them. It looked to me that for wormen to be treated better it would take a dramatic change of government. Something like what is going on in Iraq at the moment.

    When I was there the rumor was that the King kept a plane fueled and ready to escape in case there was ever any threat to his position.


  • At 8:49 AM, December 06, 2004, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Gees, that kind of stuff scares me. It really does. I am so thankful to have been born in America.


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