Anyone, who knows the Saudi society well, also knows that the decision to allow women to drive (as they were allowed to join the Shoura Council earlier) is more like the moment of landing on the moon in the social context. To get into a completely forbidden area that was not previously imaginable is significant.
Living communities are always moving and adapting to their changing situation and the movement that has taken place in Saudi Arabia in the last one and half years with the number of “exhilarating” decisions being taken indicates that Saudi Arabia is the most dynamic country in the region today and that the reform movement will have great effects on the region as a whole with no exception.
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The symbolism of the resolution is sometimes more important than the decision itself. For many years, the issue of not allowing women to drive was incomprehensible (to most of the Saudis more than others).
At times the matter was deliberated from a religious point of view, but the whole Muslim world permitted it, so there was a contradiction in the understanding of the issue and then the social factor was also incomprehensible.
Driving in the villages and the city outskirts are socially accepted and many people are fed up with the “silly” questions that why women are prevented from driving the car and everyone appeared awkward who tried to answer this question because there was never a convincing answer.
The most important issue is the presence of a Saudi leadership today that is ready to take decisions and move forwardHussein Shobokshi
The most important issue is the presence of a Saudi leadership today that is ready to take decisions and move forward without looking back because it is confident and having firm feet on the ground.
The public approval for the series of reformative decisions shows us that the misconceptions that were built around the Saudi society in the recent years to frighten and intimidate people against any reforms or change are rapidly falling apart one by one and collapsing like a house of cards.
Confidence and firmness
Saudi society has passed the test with diligence and has decided with all strength to move with confidence and firmness toward a better tomorrow. The historic decision to put women in the driving seat symbolically pushes militancy of all kinds to the back seat, as the right religion is innocent of all kinds of militancy.
On the personal level I talked to my grandfather about letting the women drive and he died before they were allowed. Then I talked to my father about the same issue and he died before women were allowed to drive, then I talked with my children, and here I see the decision coming before the arrival of my grandchildren to this world.
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There is no country today in the Arab world witnessing a slew of positive decisions being taken in a short period as what is happening in Saudi Arabia today. It is a sign of confident leadership, which is not hesitant, and this is what makes the difference.
The decision will have economic and social impact in the most positive way and we will close a file that is no longer reasonable to keep. Greetings and respect for the historic decision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and a thousand thanks to Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on October 16, 2017.
Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the “Global Leaders for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.