It could be said, Saudi Arabia is easily among the most polarised of Middle East nations. The oil-rich emirate that happens to be a royal hub of princes and kings rules over its denizens with an iron-fist. How else could one describe a country that often picks up ways to find the wrong corners of news in lines with the harassment of its women?
It often seems, that there’s a clear division between the population of Saudi Arabia.
On the one hand are the men, who are, well almost in charge of running businesses and their jobs and on the other, are poor, hapless women. In all honesty and fairness, the way Saudi Arabia has been discouraging its women for decades together, it seems the only task of the womenfolk is to be baby-producing factories.
Freedom of speech is limited, the economics of home or businesses are in hands of the male-folk and, freedom of expression and individual liberties are mere terms that look promising in human rights books.
Only recently did Saudi Arabia experience a breakthrough; a rarity that hadn’t been experienced or thought of before when the ban on women from driving cars was taken off. Surely, this, in itself was a major shocker.
How on earth could there have been a country that didn’t permit its women to drive especially in this part of the 21st century? But then, you try and doubt Saudi Arabia’s dogma and it stumps you right then.
But that told, it brought about a major relief of sorts when it was known that women could drive and hit the road in Saudi Arabia- a watershed moment in their journeys. And right after the harbinger of good news, came a serious dampener; something that pushes the country backwards, its back against the wall.
It’s been reported that a harmless woman’s car has been set ablaze. The incident, at present, is being investigated by the Mecca police. It is believed that a resident of Saudi Arabia had her car fall victim to an attack by the arsonists. This was a brazen assault toward threatening the safety and very integrity of the Saudi women and it’s really uncalled for.
But while the police hunt for the perpetrators, the owner of the car, Salma al-Sherif- a 31-year-old- lady has been desperate and worried. And perhaps, it’s not that hard to understand why. Seeing one’s close possession being set to flames can certainly bog one down or infuriate an individual.
It’s been shared in local Saudi Arabia-based news that the lady is a resident of the holy city of Mecca, a humble and pious abode of hundreds of thousands of religious Muslims who seek refuge and spiritual homage in arguably, the most important destination in their religion.
To come to think of it, there’s a sense of strange irony that a ghastly crime can happen in the holy city such as Mecca, isn’t it? Ms Salma al-Sherif who works in the capacity of a cashier, shared with the police, that her car had been deliberately set alight by a clout of men who were passionately opposed to the idea of women driving in the country.
That is something which is not only preposterously against celebrating the individual liberty of women but also stemming from a clear bias against a gender.
Perhaps, it makes a lot of sense to identify the criminal record of men in the city of Mecca who are reported to have been engaged in wrong-doing or criminal activities of some kind. And maybe the government back in Saudi Arabia should try and market social campaigns to generate awareness about the safety and integrity of women.
Any country that sides with an idea of the suppression of its women is despicable, not only in this age or century, rather at any point in time.