Tribute to Manal Al Sharif
I have faced many challenges in telling my story about gender discrimination. One major challenge is that of a language barrier. I am happy to find out so many Arabic speaking folks also speak English. I am not proficient with Arabic language, so it is imperative that I find ways of accurate translation in the online forums. I hope to find ways to translate and share my story with others around the world, especially within the Arabic speaking regions.
I had many conversations with Arab men about the subject of women driving in Saudi Arabia, but never with Arab women! I have only read online certain opinions, but never had an in depth, eye to eye conversation. This is a huge barrier for me in my understanding of cultural, religious, and social customs. I have listened to many reasons why a woman should not be permitted to drive, but all from men. I hope get a balanced set of opinions from women who have lived or currently live in Saudi Arabia.
A woman named Manal Al Sharif posted video of herself driving in the Kingdom on You Tube which caused a major awakening to the issue of women driving in Saudi Arabia. Women in that country had been voicing their demands to drive for years. Manal got the attention of many people around the world through a single video posting! She also found herself detained twice because of this act.
It is my sincere hope to eventually connect personally with Manal to offer my support and gratitude for her convictions and courage. I believe this is a possibility while utilizing forums such as Facebook, and through my journal postings on World Pulse.
I hope Manal hears of our story and understands how much she is a part of why we chose to come forward publically with our wrongful terminations in 2010. June 17th 2011 was the day Saudi women took to the streets in Saudi Arabia to begin their journey through the Women 2 Drive campaign. This gave us an opportunity to express our support for Saudi women by hosting a drive in, and publically releasing our story to the press.
I plan to continue to follow the movement toward Saudi women getting the driver’s training and road experience they are calling for. There will be many difficult situations for these women to face as they unify and empower each other to achieve their goals. There are delicate and complex issues surrounding the driving issue. I plan on using all resources available to me to educate myself, so that I may post in my journal with the highest ethical standards, sensitivity, and correctness possible. I believe this is what the World Pulse forum will ultimately assist me in accomplishing. Inshallah!
Here is a link to Manal’s YouTube video:
Here is a link to our event information: