Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Women Behind the Wheel

The King Decrees. In Saudi Arabia, women will be able to vote in some elections starting in 2015. Meanwhile, here in 2011, Shaimaa (or Sheema) Ghassaneya, a Saudi woman, has just been sentenced to ten lashes' worth of flogging for having dared to drive on her own. It's for this reason that "Automobility and Equality" (first posted here in May) reappears now as "Women Behind the Wheel," with minor changes.   

Conservatives tend to abhor expansive change; this is why a "right winger" like Rick Santorum loathes "progressives." Reactionaries prefer change in the backward direction; they seek to roll back the clock to an imaginary bygone golden era that would presumably benefit them and "make things right again." 

Political and religious conservatives are all essentially the same, whether Southern Baptists, Fundamentalist Mormons, Puritans or Taliban, although on a sliding scale through chronological time, some are more actively repressive and violent than others.

The right to vote has long been a battle between those who seek to broaden voting rights and those who want to restrict and obstruct them. This is true of civil rights ahd human rights in general.   

The right to drive is being contested right now in Saudi Arabia; activists are having to resort to simplistic and fairly disingenuous arguments to further the idea of driving rights for women (what if the privileged male driver has a heart attack? etc.) In any case, I hope that Saudi activists like Wajeha al-Huwaider, Manal al-Sherif, Fawzia al-Uyyouni and others succeed in their efforts to expand the idea and reality of equal rights. I should point out there are "reasons" for blocking women from driving in Saudi Arabia, but they are brutish ones designed solely to prop up an obsolete status quo.  

Today's Rune: Harvest


Charles Gramlich said...

How easy it is to forget sometimes the rights we take for granted, and how easy it would be to lose them again.

jodi said...

Erik, all this explained with a Tamara DeLempinka pic to boot. She is one of my favorite artists!

Erik Donald France said...

Update: Lashing sentence stopped by the King.

Thanks y'all for the comments~ true, indeed, Charles.

Jodi, I dig her work, too ~~

Adorably Dead said...

It is posts like this that reminds me how much freedom to do whatever I actually have. And I am so glad that the King decided to stop the lashing.

Johnny Yen said...

It's amazing how similar fundies are, regardless of their particular flavor, isn't it?

An old girlfriend pointed out that the puritans who landed on our shores left Europe not for religious freedom, but to have a place where they were free to impose their views on one another and the local indigenous peoples.