Saudi Barbaria could never be accused of allowing monumental stupidity to stand in the way of the implementation of stone-age misogyny:
JEDDAH: Almost every woman in the Kingdom needs a man to chauffeur her around. In most cases, such men tend to be husbands, fathers or adult sons. Many women also depend on taxis.
Working women who earn good salaries usually hire drivers. But there are some women who cannot afford drivers’ wages and so let their sons chauffeur them, even if they are below 17 and do not have driving licenses. These youngsters, who also do not have proper training, are a danger to themselves as well as others on the road.
Young boys can be seen driving their mothers to malls on any day of the week. Some of the boys are so small they need cushions under them to see over steering wheels. Some of these young boys are seen driving large SUVs and people carriers.
At the mall was Um Rami whose husband is unwilling to drive her to shopping malls and markets because he comes home from work exhausted and needs to rest. “My husband doesn’t earn much and we can’t afford a driver. It’s expensive to have a driver, they also need accommodation,” she said. Um Rami’s son is 14. To avoid getting noticed by traffic police, Um Rami makes him wear an igal and shumaq to look older.
Batool had also come to the mall along with her son, whose age she refused to disclose. She said she is divorced and cannot afford a driver and that taxis are very expensive.
“Taxi fares are too much. Sometimes I need to make frequent stops, which of course taxis will charge me for. If I ask a taxi driver to wait, he will charge me more money for waiting. My income is very moderate and I can’t afford it,” she said.
Asked how her son learned how to drive, Batool said she would let him drive in their neighborhood late at night when there are few cars on the street.
At another mall, Um Naif was seen getting down from her van, which was driven by her son who looked 12. “My son drives slowly and I always sit next to him and give him directions. Drivers cost too much and my son drives well. When he gets older, he’ll apply for a driver’s license,” she said.
Strangely, when Arab News asked these women if they would like to see women driving in the Kingdom, they all said they were against it. “I think there will be many accidents if women were allowed to drive, because many irresponsible girls will go out joyriding and try showing off. There will be accidents and they will get hurt or killed,” said Um Rami. “There would be madness on the roads. I am not prepared to face this madness and danger every time I need to go somewhere,” she added.
Ahmed Al-Nimary from the Jeddah Traffic Police said driving a vehicle when one is below 17 is a violation of the Kingdom’s traffic laws. “We will fine the father and these children will be detained if caught driving. Seventeen-year-olds, however, can get temporary licenses until they turn 18.” he added.
The Saudi ban on women driving is based on nothing other than sexual jealously – the childish notion that if you give a female a set of wheels, she will automatically use them in the commission of adulterous behaviour.
Even other backward Sharia states such as Iran and Pakistan do not implement such draconian and offensive discrimination against their womenfolk.
Yet, even though the consequences of such restrictions are indefensible – parents allowing young children to drive powerful cars on a public highway, for example – logic loses and mediaeval dogma wins, in this the world’s most absurd kingdom.
[Source: Arab News]
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