Oppressed Saudi women: ‘Where are you, Mrs. Clinton?’
Saudi Women for Driving have a message for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “Where are you?”
The women fighting for the right to drive in the Sharia-compliant nation have been surprised by the radio silence coming from Clinton, a leader of female empowerment in America.
On June 17th, women in Saudi Arabia staged a mass drive-in, during which they risked bodily harm by ignoring the laws banning women from driving.
On June 3rd the group, which came together after the arrest of Manal al-Sharif (a Saudi mother jailed for driving her own car), wrote a letter begging Clinton for a statement of support. With none forthcoming, the group reinvigorated their calls today.
“Many of us have met you personally during your decades-long journey as a champion of women’s rights all over the world, and we expected our call to be met with a warm, supportive response,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, that has not happened, and we write to express our deep concern over the US government’s public silence on the issue of Saudi women’s right to drive”
The group sent a similar letter to Clinton’s EU counterpart Catherine Ashton. (Saudi women to protest driving ban)
“But as we launch the largest women’s rights movement in Saudi history, where are you when we need you most,” they added. “In the context of the Arab Spring and US commitments to support women’s rights, is this not something the United States’ top diplomat would want to publicly support?”
Saudi Arabia remains the only country in which women are barred from driving a car or even a bicycle.