‘No Woman, No Drive’: Satire comes to Saudi Arabia and a journalist gets jailed
IT WENT up on YouTube on October 26 and has so far attracted over nine million hits (click on pic to watch).
Alaa Wardi’s very amusing “No Woman, No Drive” coincided with a campaign in the Islamic Kingdom that encouraged women to defy their country’s ban on driving. As far as we know, Wardi remains free, but the authorities took a very dim view of articles written in support of women drivers by columnist and high school teacher Tariq Al Mubarak.
He was arrested on October 27. Reporters without Borders has called for his immediate and unconditional release, and a petition has just been created calling on King Abdullah Al-Saud and the Saudi government to free him.
In an article published within the petition, Mubarak brands conservative knuckle-draggers who hold back progress in society as “terrorists”.
Meanwhile, over at the Blue Abaya blog, “Layla”, tongue firmly in cheek, laid into the authorities with a satirical piece – “26th October, The Day The World Almost Came To An End” – that spoke of the “crime” of DWF (Driving While Female). She wrote:
One of the main concerns of DWF is the correlation between how much fabric covers a woman’s body and driving a vehicle. When females start driving it automatically leads to removal of clothing, as can be seen in the West were women almost always drive naked.
A concerned citizen, Ibrahim Al Shammari, drafted up a car cover which he called the ‘Mobile Burkha’ in order to prevent men from seeing a woman driver. The initiative was rejected by the Traffic Ministry because it was the wrong colour.
The report added:
The traffic department had stepped up their presence all across the Kingdom due to the increased security threat of women taking control. Check points were set up in all major cities to catch any females disturbing national security.
A record total of 567,899 police cars, secret police cars, police motorcycles, police boats and camel police were placed on level 5, highest security alert status. The National Guard pitched in with tankers, helicopters and check points.