Saudi Arabia Doesn't Want You To See This Video

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The NY Times reports:

Manal al-Sharif, one of the organizers of an online campaign encouraging Saudi women to drive en masse on June 17, was arrested on Sunday, days after she posted video of herself flouting the kingdom’s ban on female drivers on YouTube. Traces of Ms. Sharif’s campaign also started to disappear from the Web.

Following her arrest, the YouTube video of Ms. Sharif driving became inaccessible, as did a second clip, in which she outlined how women could take part in the June 17 protest. A Facebook page she set up called “Teach Me How to Drive So I Can Protect Myself,” which had more than 12,000 fans, was deleted. The Twitter account she used to spread news of the protest movement was copied and altered to make it seem as if she had called off the campaign.

As much as we tend to value cars as the ultimate tool of personal freedom, TTAC could definitely do more to cover the plight of those banned from the roads for nothing more than their gender. Though a hugely loaded and controversial issue, it is perhaps one of the most truly principled causes at the confluence of cars and culture. We wish Ms al-Sharif the very best in her struggle to attain a right we too often take for granted.

Bonus challenge for TTAC’s Best and Brightest: can you identify the car Ms al-Sharif is driving in this clip? I’ve wasted enough time today trying to figure it out…

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  • Lynn Ellsworth Lynn Ellsworth on May 24, 2011

    Saudi Arabia is ruled jointly by the Saud family (politically) and by the Wahabi (religiously). The Wahabi are not real Muslims, some of their beliefs, especially their treatment of women, predate Mohammad. Mohammad attempted to change the old Arab fears about and cruelty towards women. Mohammad wanted better treatment towards women, he did NOT make them equal to men but Mohammad did want much better treatment for women. As an example of Wahabi teaching: Osama was taught by the Wahabi. Osama killed many non-Moslems but also killed many Muslims and treated women terribly. For these last 2 reasons he can not be considered a Muslim. Osama's primary goal was to overthrow the Saud family and he failed at this. Please don't blame the stupidity and cruelty in Saudi Arabia on Mohammad or Islam. Put the blame on a religious group that has turned its back on the hopes of Mohammad. You can also blame the Saud family for its "deal with the devil", it is a very interesting history.

    • See 1 previous
    • Musiccitymafia Musiccitymafia on May 25, 2011

      History is sooo valid in explaining the present. Mohammad walked the earth a long time ago. Even his teachings are out-dated ...

  • JimothyLite JimothyLite on May 24, 2011

    Maybe they're just trying to conserve oil.

  • Sfdennis1 Sfdennis1 on May 25, 2011

    Thank you for this article/post. What you're seeing is a (female) human being with more courage and self-dignity than 95% of the rest of the population. Of course, this is a difficult topic...difficult because the issues most central to the problem are a culture of male supremacy, extremist religious views, and repression of dissent. Of course, we deal with "kinder, gentler versions" of these very same issues in our own country...where one class/gender/religious viewpoint tries to supress the rights of others', and/or enshrine them as second class citizens via supression, law, ballot initiative, or in deed. We enjoy freedoms and protections that should be (and are) the envy of much of the world, but Manal al-Sharif's plight is a reminder of the human spirit of positive rebellion, demanding one's equal rights, and risking one own's freedom in an attempt to secure the rights of others. Activism in it's highest form. And yes, it's definitely a 1st gen CTS...

  • M 1 M 1 on May 25, 2011

    "TTAC could definitely do more to cover the plight of those banned from the roads for nothing more than their gender" Please don't. There are plenty of other news outlets and blogs that are better suited to vying for our attention on subjects like this. Is it important? Yes, of course. Is it car-related? Only in the most tenuous, peripheral sense. I rarely buy into the discussion threads about whether or not a particular topic is "on message" for TTAC, but this is car-related only to the same degree that OJ Simpson's slow-speed "chase" was car-related. (And before the usual crowd wastes their time to post "Skip it if you don't like it," again, normally I'm with you, and if this continues I probably will; but this is how conversations work, and I felt it was worth a quick comment.)