Driving As a Subversive Activity

Today's Arab Spring news:

Women in Saudi Arabia have been openly driving cars in defiance of an official ban on female drivers in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The direct action has been organised on social network sites, where women have been posting images and videos of themselves behind the wheel.

The Women2Drive Facebook page said the direct action would continue until a royal decree reversed the ban.

Last month, a woman was arrested after uploading a video of herself driving.

Manal al-Sherif was accused of "besmirching the kingdom's reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion", but was released after 10 days having promised not to drive again.

Campaigners have not called for a mass protest - which would be illegal - but have asked women who have foreign driving licences to drive themselves as they go about their daily life.

"All that we need is to run our errands without depending on drivers," said one woman in the first film posted in the early hours of Friday morning.

If you're on Twitter, you can track the protest with the #women2drive hashtag. Reports of police stopping the drivers are starting to filter in.

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  • ||

    besmirching the kingdom's reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion

    LOL

  • Almanian||

    Well DUH. You let 'em drive, next thing they're gonna wanna VOTE.
    How's that workin' out here in the good ole US of A?

    *taps foot as crickets chirp*

    Yeah, exactly...

    You go, oppressive Saudi douchebags!

  • republican male||

    Allowing women to vote is what gets Democrats elected.

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear - exactly.

  • Bill Clinton||

    He he he... Yup!

  • Ghost of JFK||

    Ahem

  • Dan Quayle||

    Apparentley, it sometimes workes for Republicanes too. If they're cute like me.

  • the real oo||

    more precisely, the anti-choice policy of the gop is why women elect dems.

  • ||

    Even more precisely, that and all the anti-choice policies on just about everything else of the Democratic Party.

    Teh wymyns care more and are prepared to have everyone who doesn't care enough locked in a cage.

    Actually, they don't ever actually consider the violence involved in enforcing all the mandates. Its just that they're always thinking about...ABOUT TEH CHILDRUNZ.

  • republican male||

    More precisely, the fact that women (and progressive males) are more inclined to make decisions based upon emotion than on rational thought, is why women (and progressive males) vote for men who stir their emotions instead of the individual who will do a better job.

  • Kristen||

    Interestingly, all of my male friends - all of them - base their vote son emtion. Both them Dems & Repubs. The Repubs among them allow themselves to get all riled up by Glen Beck, and the Dems allow themselves to get all riled up by Jon Stewart.

  • republican male||

    Maybe you should ditch being a fag hag.

  • rather||

    So you want Kristen to become a fag-hag for a self-hating closeted republican instead?

  • ||

    Women were predominantly voting Democrat long before abortion was an issue in American politics. Until about 1970 every politico believed abortion should be banned no matter which party they were in.

    Just as they all believed that homosexuallity was unnatural and a mental disorder.

  • ||

    I have never seen any evidence that women know how to drive.

    *ducks rotten fruit*

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Women drivers, no survivors.

  • Almanian||

    Hiyo!!

  • reason readin female||

    Interesting. My experience has been that the crappiest, most passive aggressive drivers tend to be middle aged men.
    They're the ones generally parked in the left lane going about 58mph, but speed up to block you from passing on the right.
    Anecdotal and probably meaningless, but that's the reality on I5 in the Seattle area.

    P.S.
    I know you were just joking, I'm just giving you the opportunity to chuck that moldy pear my way!

  • guy in the back row||

    Yo, that chica's hot! Is it lobster girl?

  • Otto||

    If so, she's in real trouble. Lobsters aren't halal.

  • ||

    What, we're going to eat her?

  • Cunning Linguist||

    Why yes, yes we are.

  • ||

    Me first, then.

  • ||

    Thanks to the burqa, no Guy Fawkes mask is necessary.

    I just noticed how similar burqas are to ninja outfits

  • ||

    Form follows function.

  • rather||

    We can play a ninja-Buqua game ;-)

  • hazeeran||

    It should technically be "Ash-Sherif" because the definite article elides with the "sh" sound.

  • Sinic||

    As a libertarian I hate the idea of not letting women drive. But as a man...it's brilliant!

  • ||

    I work next to the Saudi embassy in DC and I see Saudi women driving constantly. All things considered, they're not all that bad drivers either.

    I'll say this much for Saudis, they're punctual as hell. 5 PM every day, they are pouring into the parking garage in droves.

  • emmajane||

    Are the women in the Saudi embassy wearing burqas?

  • ||

    Almost none. Most wear a variation of western garb; some of them are very, very nice on the eyes.

    You do see the occassional full-on niqāb (the burqa below the neck, the niqāb covering the head, with the eye-slit). No matter how many times I see it, it still looks medieval. Esspecially medieval when she's next to her husband in his shorts and flip-flops, smoking like a Victorian chimney.

    And if you think that American women never shut up, don't get in an elevator with 6 Saudi women. They all talk At. The. Same. Time. It's the proverbial hen-house.

  • ||

    *He* is smoking like a chimney, not the wife....

  • ||

    I have thankfully been spared from large collections of BMOs in an elevator. I've encountered the polar opposite: single niqab-wearers riding the lift with or without their kids. They regard Western white guys with extreme suspicion (easy to see in the eyes and demeanor) when they're not with male relatives.

  • ||

    BMOs?

    I've encountered that as well, but IME it's rare that one travels unaccompanied.

    The men are completely western in dress. The younger ones in trendier clothes, particularly jeans, of course. There was some sort of clearing house in my building, as they would bring 20-something Saudi men into the building by the van-loads most days.

    During Ramadan, you'll see the older men in the traditional thawb, wearing the ghutra on their heads. Once, I saw a guy adjusting his ghutra in the reflection of his 7-Series beemer. I had to chuckle.

  • ||

    Well, this is in the UAE, and only very briefly in a hotel elevator. I must clarify, however, that if THEY'RE waiting to get on and it's just unrelated males in the lift already, >75% of the time, they'll step forward, realize they're going to be around strange males, then back away in a combination of horror and polite deference so they can wait for the next car.

    If the BMOs are already on the lift and you're waiting to get on, you get the silent "OMFG RAPIST!!!!!" behavior.

  • rather||

  • Zuo||

    I bet KSA is one of the most pleasurable places to drive on earth. And I support Saudi efforts to keep it that way.

  • ||

    No. Not even close.

  • Tim||

    Sharif he don't like it...

  • Irresponsible Hater||

  • ||

    It's like I stumbled into an alternate universe of shitty early 90s stand-up.

    What's the deal with airline food? I mean, really!

  • Sinic||

    Mmmmm...Delta cookies.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This is a libertarian blog. There are no women here to offend. You won't be getting any tail as a result of your little attack on your fellow commenters, if that's your game.

  • ||

    The women already adore me; I was merely commenting on the level of humor.

  • ||

    until you run out of money......

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The ladies do love a project. Especially one who can't eat their chocolate ice cream.

  • Kristen||

    I do SF just for pointing out the obvious passe humor.

    .....Take my wife - please!....

  • sarcasmic||

    What if all that headgear slips and then they can't see?

  • MNG||

    "an official ban on female drivers"

    Let's all remember that this is an official ally of the United States. Disgusting.

  • WTF||

    "an official ban on female drivers"

    Let's all remember that this is an official ally of the United States. Disgusting.

    I fail to see the problem.

  • KDN||

    Well, we do have a longstanding tradition of keeping allies opposed to our ideals. Why mess with what's worked for 230 years over a silly concept like women drivers?

    Besides, we gotta keep that oil coming in from somewhere since national NIMBY concerns prevent us from using our own.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Actually, the biggest constraint on U.S. oil production in Texas right now is a lack of pipeline capacity to ship all the oil being pumped to refineries. EOG Resources, Inc. is shipping oil on railcars and even in trucks. This commerce just happens to be going on in and around Ron Paul's home district...

    Saudi Arabia is obsolete in a world of $100/bbl oil.

  • X||

    it's for the children

  • ||

    What, you didn't want to bring abortion into this discussion too?

  • ||

    Let's all remember that this is an official ally of the United States. Disgusting.

    France is an ally and they outlawed Muslim dress.

    That is why I love America I can drive my car after a sex change while on a cell phone drinking a beer with a loaded gun sitting on the passenger seat....

    oh wait.

  • Tim||

    Picture one of those ridiculous police chase videos shot from a news copter as the car crashes and this burqa clad figure bales out and starts running through backyards.

  • Tim||

    'Strike oh servant of Allah! The Whore has concealed herself under the kiddie pool.'

  • ||

    +1 for teh lolz

  • ||

    Very nice. Thank you.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    The regimes being overthrown in the Middle East/North Africa (Syria, Libya, Egypt) were generally more in favour of women's rights than the authoritarian religious fundamentalists replacing them.

    Assad's rule in Syria has been centered around religious pluralism. I expect whomever replaces it be composed of the religious majority, which is more fundamentalist and authoritarian in nature.

  • ||

    So the Egyptian military is a religious fundy organization?

  • ||

    Religious freedom has a documented mellowing effect.

    Keeping Muslims under tyranny is only going to make them more radicalized.

  • ||

    To all men of Saudia Arabia:

    I think you are the biggest pile of pussbags in the world. Oh, and my daughter thinks those goatees and stupid fucking sheets you wear make you all look gay.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    A Saudi guy once told me how inconvenient the ban is because you end up having to drive your female relatives around all the time if your family isn't rich enough to afford a chauffeur.

  • DJF||

    A proper religion would require woman to drive so that the men could be chauffeured around in style.

  • Pip||

  • ||

    A Saudi guy once told me how inconvenient the ban is because you end up having to drive your female relatives around all the time if your family isn't rich enough to afford a chauffeur.

    I would have recommended she pack her things so I can drive one final place: to the border so she can leave that backwards country and seek asylum in a country that doesn't have so much theocratic bullshit restrictions on freedom (i.e. almost anywhere else).

  • ||

    To take all the fun out of things, I've got to get serious here for a second: this is genius, and about fucking time. It's always encouraging to see people realize that nobody's going to give them their freedom, so it's up to them to take it.

    And make no mistake about it, driving is freedom, which is why taking away an elderly relative's car keys is such an emotionally wrenching experience for everyone involved. While I continue on my brazen 15 year run of driving without a license, my father has had to start keeping the car keys hidden from my mother; that was the action that drove home the reality of her Alzheimers.

    My lefty friends hate my celebration of aimless driving around and my embrace of the stereotype of the American idiot in love with my car and the open road, but they can kiss my ass. With one exception they drive, too, they just have to act like they hate it.

  • ||

    they just have to act like they hate it.

    Come to DC. You'll hate it too.

  • ||

    Eh. My formative driving years were in Boston, and I drove cabs and Town Cars for a living in the Boston area for years, so I have a pretty Zen outlook on the whole enterprise. It's cheaper than automatic weapons.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Progressives have some weird instinctual drive to push everyone into railcars, buses, or just make them walk everywhere like in North Korea:

    http://goo.gl/2XDMw

  • Zeb||

    You know who else are bad drivers? Everyone except me.

  • Robert||

    Mother was the better driver in other respects, but Daddy could park like nobody's business. He could squeeze a Cadillac into spaces you wouldn't think you could fit a compact.

  • rather||

  • ||

    Say, isn't it also illegal for the women of the kingdom to sing and dance in sexy underwear like Francine Smith in American Dad? I'm just saying.

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