“Two different worlds
We live in two different worlds
But we will show them as
We walk together in the sun
That our two different worlds are one”
As sung by various artists.
These are the lyrics from an old song – way back in 1956 – and yes it was a love song, but it came to mind today when I read the headline “Driving Car Gets Saudi Woman 10 Lashes”.
Apparently it is illegal for a woman to drive a car in ‘the conservative kingdom’ and this woman has been caught behind the wheel several times in recent weeks. She attended a mass rally in June to garner support for women drivers. Since then, dozens of women have been involved in a campaign to try to break the taboo and impose a new status quo. The campaign’s founder who apparently posted a video of herself driving on Facebook, was detained for more than 10 days. She was released only after signing a pledge not to drive or to speak to the media.
Shaima Ghassaniya, the woman sentenced to the lashes, has been stopped on three occasions and each time was given the opportunity to sign the pledge not to drive again. Each time she refused and this is the fourth time she has appeared in court. The final time she was sentenced to the ten lashes. This woman is Western educated and holds a masters degree and is to hire a lawyer to appeal the sentence.
What makes this all the more confusing to us in the Western world is that just two days ago King Abdullah made an announcement granting women the right to vote and to hold public office. Where does this ban on driving fit in?
We most certainly live in two different worlds. We are allowed the freedom not available to women in so many other countries. Saudi Arabia is the only nation in the world where women do not have the right to drive. What other rights do we take for granted that are not allowed to them?
The breaking news via the BBC is that King Abdullah has overturned the sentence, although this has not yet been confirmed officially. This added to the earlier news that women will be allowed the vote, must help move this nation into the 21st Century where all people are treated equally.
End of rant for today.