Saudi Arabia has granted women permission to drive. On this occasion, I wish to center and congratulate Saudi women activists. On this occasion, I do not wish to center my own ironic commentary on how it is 2017, women wear abayas in Saudi Arabia, and that they only just got permission to drive. This is their triumph, and they will, inshaallah, continue to gain victories from the control of the nation-state. Inshaallah, the male guardianship system will also fall. As for abayas, they are not really relevant to the discussion.
And for those who imagine Saudi women to be helpless victims of the driving ban, check out Hind Makki’s words here:
For Westerners – including many Muslims – who take this opportunity to smirk at this “small” progress, I wish to remind them that they are residents and members of a global patriarchy, a home that continues to be violent for women in their private homes as well as public spaces. Women continue to be beaten, murdered, and raped – yes, in 2017 – in large numbers in the heart of Western liberty.
In 2017 campus rape victims have been dealt a “huge blow,” right here in the United States. Women are further disadvantaged when they wish to seek justice for sexual violence as Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has rolled back Obama-era guidelines on Title IX, so that now schools can seek a higher level of evidence for sexual misconduct, leaving victims in the trash. This just happened this week. Yes, September 2017. The American government, an American woman kicked rape victims in the gut.
Also, dear Western rescuers of Muslim women, allow us to remind you of the historic role of Western imperialists in picking and putting in place the present dynasties of the Middle East, as well as the carving out of multiple nation-states in that region. Thanks so much for that.
Not to mention recent Western adventures that have destroyed Middle Eastern stability and pushed millions of people into penury and homelessness. Guess what happens to women when they are refugees and homeless, and when men are killed by thousands in war. Wait, you already know, judging by the war on black men in this country.
But Muslim women are continuing to fight on multiple fronts, in spite of Western militaristic adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, and Pakistan, in spite of a global epidemic of Islamophobia which hurts and destroys Muslim women also. We continue to wrest victories from patriarchy and from empire of many hues. We will continue.