I’ve always been drawn to stories from this continent. Their regimes have never quite deviated from the path where oppression and misogyny collide, to the point where basic human rights seem like a cloth, cotton, and button puppet holed up in a mythical dungeon, ready to consumed and swallowed by earth and disappear without any trace. I’ve read quite a few books written by Saudi women (none from Saudi men had come across any radar, yet), but this is my first on the basic human right to operate a moving vehicle – such a fundamental yet “an unspeakable act of moral defiance” (my own words).
When the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving, I knew I had shelved one tbr book that had something to do with women and driving. So I went googling for it and there she was, the game-changing, larger-than-life, Manal al-Sharif.
I liked the book because it provided a detailed, chronological account of her journey. She may not be the pioneer of the movement (there was another group in the 90s), but she sure as hell made it worthwhile. Social media, brave journalists, and supportive family and friends (especially men), and sympathetic government officials – they all contributed to the cause. Don’t forget that. It wasn’t just one woman’s fight, like how some reviews made it out to be. It wasn’t. It was a collective effort front by a brave woman who went against all odds to change history.
Times are changing.