The sad story of Manal al-Sharif: The woman who fought for equality in Saudi Arabia
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2017-08-02 02:36:13

The sad story of Manal al-Sharif: The woman who fought for equality in Saudi Arabia

 

Manal al-Sharif is determined in her fight to improve women’s rights in the Saudi regime.

 

Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia for some unknown reason. Manal al-Sharif is a Saudi Arabian woman who was arrested for driving her car in the city of Khobar. She filmed herself with Wajeha al-Huwaider’s help while driving and uploaded the video on Facebook and YouTube. The video was meant for a campaign that she helped start in 2011. Following the viral video, she was arrested for breaking the law. She then was released, but rearrested the next day.

 

Al-Sharif is a computer scientist graduated from King Abdulaziz University. She also has a Cisco Career Certificate. Manal worked for the Saudi national oil company, Saudi Aramco, as an Information Security Consultant, but after her arrest she was ignored by her employers and was finally pushed out of her job. Manal has also lost the custody of her children due to her activities that raged the Kingdom’s officials.

 

“Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself” was a Facebook page that Manal al-Sharif and a group of women created with the purpose of supporting women’s right to drive cars. The page received international attention. The video of Manal driving while talking to Huwaider, received more than 600,000 viewers in two days.

 

Video of Manal al-Sharif driving which was posted on YouTube, the “Women2Drive” campaign on Facebook, and Manal al-Sharif’s Twitter page, were all deleted in an attempt by Saudi Arabian authority to silence her voice. But how did the authorities manage to do that? These powerful social networks never acknowledged this violation of virtual privacy. Did the Saudi Arabian government use behind the scenes relations to suppress freedom of its citizens in social networks?

 

 

It is not the first time that Saudi regime has suppressed the women’s voice. In 2014, Loujain al-Hathloul was similarly jailed for attempting to drive into Saudi Arabia from the UAE. Al-Hathloul is a 27-year-old human rights activist; she also has been arrested for the second time on 4 June for unknown reasons. Loujain has no lawyer access and her family has not talked to her since.

 

 

The women’s right in Saudi Arabia is absurd. Women face more and more restrictions in this misogynist regime. Under the regime’s law women are banned from driving cars, opening bank accounts, going to libraries, going outside of their houses or having a job without permission from their male guardian.

 

All the violations of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, prove the country a misogynist one. However, countries like the United States that consider themselves to have leading roles in protecting the civil rights, do no acknowledge the crimes of the Saudi regime.

 

 

Despite all, Manal al-Sharif continues her women’s rights activities. She wrote a book called “Daring to Drive” that published recently in an attempt to draw the world’s attention to the existing oppression of women in Saudi Arabia. She is now living in Australia, married to a Brazilian man.

 

 

pk.shafaqna.com

 

 

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