Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unabated War Against Saudi Women

Director’s Comment: In their undiminished insistence that the country’s wealth, decision-making and governorship remain property of the ruling family and its theocratic partners, any meaningful reform in Saudi Arabia will remain aesthetic. The recurrent tactic has been to pre-design royal decrees that sound liberal to the public, but are sure to be rejected by the religious establishment and its royal handlers, such as Princes Naif and Salman. The king consequently benefits of a favorable public opinion, despite the fact his highly praised reform efforts remain “ink on paper”, especially when it comes to women’s rights.
Case in point is a recent decision taken by the Panda supermarket chain, to hire 16 women cashiers in a store in Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, Jeddah. Members of the religious establishment immediately protested against the company’s decision. They called it “ungodly” and urged people to stop patronizing the supermarket. Despite the fact that the women were covered from head to toe (except for their eyes) and are only allowed to serve families, the store was empty of customers, and cashiers were sitting idol as of last reporting on August 31, 2010. Not surprisingly, there was no word from King Abdullah to support the supermarket’s decision to hire women cashiers or to instruct his religious zealot to quit harassing people.
These duplicitous political maneuvers employed by royals, usually result in an unfair blame of society for rejecting women. Religion is also blamed for denying women their basic citizenship rights. In reality, neither society and/or religion are responsible for denying women their natural and human rights to feed themselves and support their families. It is politics and the Saudi economy that are responsible for denying women their right to work. Allowing women to work would challenge the country’s economy as well as its sterile, patriarchal ideology. These same policies exonerate the system from meeting its obligations toward all members of society.
The attached article explains the regime’s methods of playing genders against each other by blaming it on society, tradition and God. Read article

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