What a courageous and interesting woman. Although the dilemma of women not being able to drive in Saudi Arabia may take some time to resolve, I feel that I have been educated and made aware of the campaign for change within the country. Lets hope that eventually, some progress is made.
This is more than just a story about the right of women to drive a car it also gives women to have a voice and control in their own lives. In 2011 Manal al-Sharif, a young Saudi woman was detained and then put in prison for driving a car despite nothing in the country’s traffic law making it illegal. This is an amazing and moving story, which left me thinking how much of my life I take for granted. I want to thank the author for writing this book and educating me. Now at least I feel I have some understanding of Muslim life, culture and religion. Manal certainly had the confidence to persevere with what she believed was right even though other people did not agree or approve. Women will be allowed to drive from next year on the proviso a male family member can still stop her from doing so and the religious police are officially not permitted to arrest people, any more. Repression of women continues in other ways. Every country has its rules and customs but Saudi ones appear to be more conservative and inflexible than most. The process of change will not happen overnight. Even though I have a great interest in medical related matters, I still found the details of female circumcision very graphic. It is horrifying to know this ritual continues despite society’s best efforts to wipe it out. Recently (http://www.theweek.co.uk/60339/nine-things-women-cant-do-in-saudi-arabia) a now banned senior cleric had made claims about the size of women’s brains and their ability to drive while distracted. Things like this are so outside of the world I live in and hard to understand that someone could really think like this.
I really enjoyed reading and discovering the background etc to Muslim’s and their faith. It was also interesting in light of events over the last few years and the role IS radicalization plays. When Manal was at school students received lectures, specifically designed to arouse feelings of guilt or fear which indoctrinated them to the Muslim way of life. I also spared a thought to the large number of foreign women eg servants who continue to be contained in Saudi prisons. Thank you very much to the publisher for providing a digital copy of this book via Netgalley. This was a great biography and I enjoyed the opportunity to provide my review.