On June 17th 2011, I had the honor and privilege of being among the courageous women who drove on the streets of Saudi to defy the ban on female driving. As a result, my brother, who was accompanying me, got a ticket for allowing an “unqualified person” to drive the vehicle. Funny enough, the car was not even registered under his name. We both signed pledges that I would not drive again. (https://riemism.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/a-subversive-dangerous-element-behind-the-wheel/)
Over two year later, a new campaign was born. This time, the target date is Oct 26th 2013.
Of course I would jump at the opportunity and join the cause but, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this would happen. Both my brother and father will be out of the country at the time. Also my previous pledge and the fact that I’ll have to drive a car not registered under my name makes me reluctant. This is because of the likelihood that I would need my male guardian to bail me out. Otherwise I might have the pleasure of starting my own Orange is the New Black memoir.
And this reason is precisely why this campaign is important. It serves as a reminder of the patriarch society we live in.
Needing a male guardian to bail an adult independent woman illustrates just how much women in Saudi Arabia are pretty much slaves to their masters (their male guardians).
Not being able to drive is just another reminder how my male guardian or any man – as a matter of fact- has the upper hand in when I can leave the house and where I can go. Whether it’s a male relative, a private driver or taxi drivers who takes me places, I am always under the mercy of a man controlling when and where I go. Reaching my destination is governed by whoever is driving the vehicle.
Lifting the invisible ban on driving is important because by wanting more, we risk having our loyalty and allegiance to this country and Islam questioned. Another funny thing is that many of those accusers are not even eligible for the citizen of the year award. They speak on behalf of religion and their actions are furthest from its teachings.
For now I have decided NOT to drive on Oct 26th. However, I choose to participate by sitting in the back seat of a car that has a print of the Oct26th logo on it. You too can help. Organizers of Oct 26th campaign have put a list of ways you can help support women driving. ( http://www.oct26driving.com)
Given my track record, my decisions are not always final and subject to change.