Sunday, October 25, 2009

Changes: Some Positive, Some Negative

I feel quite positive about many of the changes which are occuring in the Gulf right now.

Image taken from:  

Having said that, as westerners we often expect change to happen fast, although that's something that's open to interpretation. Women were banned from voting in Switzerland until 1971 (and in the area of, 'Appenzell Inner Rhoden' until 1991), whilst the last witch trial was held in England in 1944. Helen Duncan was convicted and served nine months in jail.

But I digress. If we accept changes occur in the Middle East at a Middle Eastern pace, because it is the Middle East, then things are moving very quickly indeed.

Two years ago Saudi newspapers were noticable empty of women; not a single woman would be pictured, ever. It was as if only one sex existed. Last week I counted 10 photos of women in the Friday newspaper, with one of those photos covering half a page, in full colour, with the woman's arms and head hair on display. In local terms that is F1 speed.

Some Positive
So, why all the positivity? Last week it was announced

Kuwaiti women would no longer need a Mahram {see wgaw blog archive: divorce}, which leaves just Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan {see wgaw blog archive: rape} the only places in the world in which a woman is legally not allowed to leave the house without a male escort.

Mixed education can now take place, up to the age of 9, in private schools in Saudi Arabia. See this article

Some Negative
However, on the negative side, the Sudanese fundie group, 'al shabab' [al sha-bab] (the boys) announced this week in addition to women being banned from wearing trousers, they could no longer wear bras. It seems they check if a bra is being worn by forcing the women to shake her breasts.

I shouldn't joke, in general sarcasm is not used or understood in the Gulf, but what article of clothing is next I wonder?

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♥ Arab Mania ♥ said...

Thanks for the news..
Interesting news ... abt S3audi mixing courses classes, is it on way to be applied or just need some more time to implement this in the country?
It's surprising me a lot , i know sa3di most strict Islamic country.

wgaw said...

hi arab mania,
good to see you again and thanks for visiting :-) i'm not sure when the mixing of school children will be implemented, but it's only for private schools.