At midnight on June 24, Saudi women drove their cars in Riyadh, Jeddah and other Saudi cities bringing an end to one of the strangest controversial issues which lasted for about three decades consuming the Saudis’ energy.
Ever since a group of female activists drove their cars and held a protest in November 1990 in support of women’s driving during the tense phase which accompanied Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the tension in the region due to the war and during the phase of the Sahwa’s sedition, i.e. of politicized fundamental groups which worsened the situation by exploiting some causes and confronting women and those who support them, the issue of women’s driving turned into a debatable subject between Sahwa supporters and those who support women’s “natural” right to drive cars and the decision to allow them to drive because it has economic and social benefits...etc.
The state’s usual rhetoric, as conveyed by its officials, said this decision pertaining to women’s driving is the society’s business and not its own. However, the situation developed thanks to the era of decisiveness as King Salman finalized the issue and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promised to solve the problem and he did. The move thus deprived the kingdom’s rivals of the excuse they often used to continuously criticize it.
These developments reminded me of some of the articles I wrote in this daily several years ago.
Preventing women from driving cars represents an important symbolic significance pertaining to preventing her from participating in leading life or at least leading her own fateMashari Althaydi