Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Being a woman in Saudi Arabia sucks

This LA Times piece really makes vivid the oppression of women in that country:
Then he said it: "Men only."

He didn't tell me what I would learn later: Starbucks had another, unmarked door around back that led to a smaller espresso bar, and a handful of tables smothered by curtains. That was the "family" section. As a woman, that's where I belonged. I had no right to mix with male customers or sit in plain view of passing shoppers. Like the segregated South of a bygone United States, today's Saudi Arabia shunts half the population into separate, inferior and usually invisible spaces.

At that moment, there was only one thing to do. I stood up. From the depths of armchairs, men in their white robes and red-checked kaffiyehs stared impassively over their mugs. I felt blood rushing to my face. I dropped my eyes, and immediately wished I hadn't. Snatching up the skirts of my robe to keep from stumbling, I walked out of the store and into the clatter of the shopping mall.
Sometimes we take our freedoms for granted. It's good to be reminded that much of the world lives under unimaginably stifling conditions. The cultural gulfs are vast and deep.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it any of her buisness how Saudi Arabians want to live? I've never understood this obsession people have with that country. If they want to live like that then why should we give a shit? Its not like some forieng military is trying to impose what they think is right on the local populace..sounds familiar eh?

6:34 AM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

Well, that is a difficult question. I wonder how many Saudi Arabians actually want to live that way (especially the women), and how many are coerced into living that way by gangs of "virtue police". Undoubtedly, some do wish to live that way, and one must be circumspect about criticizing other cultures. But at some point you have to call oppression and injustice by those names, even if they are a part of time-honored cultural practices.

And Saudi culture is a legitimate area of concern for Americans, given that Osama bin Laden was Saudi and got his money by being a member of a prominent Saudi construction family. Many of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi as well. And of course Saudi Arabia supplies a lot of oil to the world market. It's not like we can ignore what's going on there.

12:04 AM, June 21, 2007  
Anonymous saudi sucks said...

Saudi Arabians prepare to slaughter an innocent sri lankan kiddie

1:02 AM, July 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a saudi arabian i can tell you that here in my country there is no such thing called justice and human rights , you can walk here and see it by your self but its just a picture so we can tell the first world countries that we care about our citizens , but if you intered any saudi family house and talked with a real saudi guys you can realize that the country is falling down with its problems , you cant get a job unless you got connections otherwise you can die or live the poor live its a true , I dont hate my country but I m telling you the real fact I know its sucks thats why we are from the third world country ITS SUCKS

2:11 PM, September 23, 2010  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

Thank you for posting, Anonymous. I hear your frustration. What do you think those of us in the United States can do to help change the situation? I hope things improve for you and your country.

8:26 PM, September 23, 2010  

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