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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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sowNSH_W2r0

Here is a link to our event information:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155100927893920

G.E. Cooper

Comments

Stella Paul's picture

It has to be you

Dear Friend

If anyone can tell the story of women drivers' struggle, it has to be you.Because, you have been there you told your story first. Please go ahead with courage and passion. The world is listening. I am listening.

Love

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

usha kc's picture

Dear Cooper,, thank you for

Dear Cooper,, thank you for sharing this story. Story of Manal's struggle and bravery inspires all .

Potter's picture

Driving in Saudi Arabia

Hello, Princess! Check the World Pulse member directory for Farona in Saudi Arabia. She was in the last VOF group and posted a great article on the issue of women drivers. She is a wonderfully articulate visionary. I'm sure you would enjoy connecting with her and gaining from her insights into Saudi society and culture.!

G.E. Cooper's picture

Thank You!

Thanks for the connection. Farona is on my friend list already! She does have amazing insights and I hope she continues to write and educate us about the progression to drive for Saudi women.

mirette's picture

Thanks for talking about this

Thanks for talking about this issue that currently raises a hot debate worldwide. I'm from Egypt and I was talking with a friend who was living in Saudi Arabia for sometime. The issue is much more complex than what appears. The questions that arise here is that a demand by the majority of the Saudi women, or the majority still feel secure in a society that as much as it deprived them from many freedoms, it also took off their backs a lot of responsibilities. In my opinion, this issue can't be raised exclusively.

Also, reading about the decision for Saudi Arabian women to vote in the coming elections gives hope that more pressure can actually change the status quo.

Dextra's picture

ge cooper, interesting how

ge cooper, interesting how you mention issues of communicating in a shared language as a major challenge and barrier to creating change. I would agree with you and hope that you can find some good resources on the internet to help with effective translation. It sounds like you are effectively reaching out and that web 2.0 can help even more with that effort in future. Keep up the good work.

stephaniecubbon's picture

Hi GE, This is a really

Hi GE,
This is a really interesting post. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I hope that through women like you, making this issue known to the world, that Saudi women will achieve equality- the step to drive is a big first step!
Sincerely,
Stephanie

DinaYazdani's picture

Knowledge is power

Dear G.E.,

Foremost, thank you for sharing your thoughts on women rights in Saudi Arabia! I agree, we are so limited on the news we hear because it is usually always talked about through men and completely void from women. I appreciate how you talked about a Saudi women taking leadership in her country, which personalizes the issue in Saudi Arabia. I hope that you continue writing, and spreading awareness!

Thank you,
Dina

Email- Yazdani.Dina@gmail.com
Twitter- MojoThinkTank
Blog- TheGlobalConsciousness.Wordpress.com

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