Wednesday, June 27, 2018

On women driving in Saudi Arabia... (National Geographic 1987)

Source - National Geographic (October 1987)
In a beautiful article in The Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi argues that the issue of women driving in Saudi Arabia is a PR stunt since women who have been campaigning about it are now in prison under pretenses they have had contact with foreign entities to disturb the national social fabric. Another article I read recently, also argues that the women in question are in prison so that Mohamed Ben Salman could take full credit for the move in question.
That the kingdom has been using PR agencies worldwide to enhance its image is now a known fact, and as the cute The Economist cover shows - a woman wearing a niqab with her eyes in the shape of car wheels - calling it a "revolution" has gotten some educated people I know unfazed.
I lived in Saudi Arabia in the early oughts, and whereas I am not here to defend its regime, I also know that women driving is a big thing. Any change in that ticking bomb of a place where more than 50% of the population is young and has had access to archaic education and is little prepared for the demands of the market. Has there been a hypocrisy about things? Of course there has - National Geographic published a photo of a woman driving a truck in the desert in 1987. Don't believe me? Please check the image above!