Samar Badawi + Brother Raif Badawi Remain In Saudi Arabia Dhahban Central Prison, As Saudi Arabia Disallows Any Dissent

Saudi women's rights activist honored by Clinton+Obama.jpeg

Samar Badawi + Brother Raif Badawi Remain In Saudi Arabia Dhahban Central Prison, As Saudi Arabia Disallows Any Dissent

Coming to grips with the horrors of Saudi Arabia’s torture of women’s activists at the same time Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud — or MbS — lifted the ban on women driving in the kingdom is no more complicated than following the daily mental machinations of Donald Trump.

Jailing the Saudi women activists behind the women driving campaign seems irrational, but only if one fails to understand that machinations are not rational thought processes. Perhaps this is why MbS and Donald Trump have such a lovefest. It takes a self-absorbed schemer to know one, which is precisely why they end up so often hanging out together as the world’s leading autocrats.

Updating AOC two days ago about the jailed women’s activists, I zeroed in on the name Samar Badawi, knowing her to be the sister of jailed liberal blogger Raif Badawi. In 2015 Raif was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for his writings. After receiving the first 50 lashes — which nearly killed him in front of the entire world — Raif Badawi has languished in Saudi prison.

Women activists arrested in Saudi Arabia include Loujain al-Hathloul, who I considered to be a major face behind the driving ban. Samar Badawi has campaigned for years against the most discriminatory of all the Saudi laws against women’s rights — as if it’s possible to enumerate them in order. Badawi opposes against the male guardianship system, under which women require the permission of a male relative to travel, marry, or work in certain jobs. In this article ‘Saudi Arabia: Where Fathers Rule and Courts Oblige’, Human Rights Watch details the mutual litigation of Badawi and her father against each other.

It was for this work that Samar Badawi received the US State Department International Women of Courage Award in 2012, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Note that Waleed Abu-al-Khair, Samar’s former husband and Raif Badawi’s lawyer, is also jailed for 15 years.

As Saudi Women Activists Suffer Horrific Torture, Kingdom Puts Women In Cockpits + Main Cabin

YASMINE AL-MAYMANY  IS AMONG THE CERTIFIED SAUDI WOMEN PILOTS  WHO TOLD ALARABIA IN AUGUST 2018  THAT SHE HOPED TO SOON BE IN THE COCKPIT WITH A JOB SANCTIONED BY THE SAUDI GENERAL AUTHORITY OF CIVIL AVIATION.

YASMINE AL-MAYMANY IS AMONG THE CERTIFIED SAUDI WOMEN PILOTS WHO TOLD ALARABIA IN AUGUST 2018 THAT SHE HOPED TO SOON BE IN THE COCKPIT WITH A JOB SANCTIONED BY THE SAUDI GENERAL AUTHORITY OF CIVIL AVIATION.

As Saudi Women Activists Suffer Horrific Torture, Kingdom Puts Women In Cockpits + Main Cabin

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is promising to not only put women in the cockpit as co-pilots but to train them as flight attendants as well. In January, 2018 Eqbal Darandari, a member of the Saudi Shura Council, called on national airlines to empower women by creating jobs. “We’ve seen Saudi women piloting aircraft outside the kingdom. Now it’s time for [Saudi Arabia’s aviation authority] to take the initiative. Saudi women deserve to find work in their own country,” he said at the time. 

Soon Saudi Arabia’s Oxford Aviation Academy opened it doors to women to train them as pilots. Six months later, Flynas, a domestic airline in Saudi Arabia, announced that it would be hiring female flight attendants after proper training. In the new year, a Saudi air hostess will fly this month, in another move forward for the severely-limited in rights Saudi women, writes Vogue Arabia.

The magazine’s website writes that Flynas will also hire women as co-pilots. “The move aims to enable Saudi women to have a greater role in supporting the Kingdom’s economy,” stated Bander Al-Mohanna, CEO of Flynas.

Vogue Arabia Remains Silent In Women Driving Issue June 2018, On Imprisoned Women Leading Driving Campaign

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Vogue Arabia Remains Silent In Women Driving Issue June 2018, On Imprisoned Women Leading Driving Campaign

Model Sophie Rask is lensed by Mannbutte in traditional plaids and classic looks for Vogue Arabia's June 2018 issue./ Hair by Annesofie Begtrup; makeup by Toni Malt

Sophie Rask Honors 'Rebellion' In Vogue Arabia June 2018, With No Word About Imprisonment Of Women Leading Driving Campaign

Featuring Sophie's editorial on the Vogue Arabia website, the copy reads"In our latest issue, Vogue Arabia’s fashion desk explores how to style a cool mix of heritage fabrics – houndstooth, picnic blanket gingham and traditional tartan. The prints exude a youthful energy that feels right again, but how to wear them? Flip the script on styling codes and pair your checks with a rebel spirit. See the full shoot in our June issue, on newsstands now."

On the topic of classic traditions, there is no resolution to the heated controversy led by websites  and Twitter users like AOC around Vogue Arabia's decision to feature Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, daughter of the deceased King Abdullah, behind the wheel of a  vintage red 1980s Mercedes 450 SL, making it clear that she will join the new movement of Saudi women drivers.

The cover is gorgeous and a milestone for Saudi women, but it comes at a time when the Saudi government is literally imprisoning the women activists who led the drive to put women behind the wheel in the kingdom. It's also relevant that a woman cannot drive without the approval of a male guardian, although we're not clear if a signed affidavit must be on record with the government or what the policy is giving a woman male permission to drive. 

Looking for any updates just now, the Sydney Morning Herald introduced yesterday the backdrop of British colonial history into the convo, saying

Will Vogue Arabia's June 2018 Celebration Of Saudi Women Speak To Current Arrests & Imprisonment Of Saudi Women Who Led Driving Campaign?

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Will Vogue Arabia's June 2018 Celebration Of Saudi Women Speak To Current Arrests & Imprisonment Of Saudi Women Who Led Driving Campaign?

Vogue Arabia's June 2018 issue celebrates the TRAILBLAZING women of SAUDI ARABIA, featuring HRH Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud on its cover. The image is meant to celebrate the and of the Saudi kingdom's ban on women driving that will take effect on June 24, applying to women of all nationalities. 

The entire June 2018 issue of Vogue Arabia will be dedicated to Saudi Arabia. HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, an artist, mother of three and the daughter of the late King Abdullah, who was the ruler of Saudi from 2005 until his death in 2015, sits behind the wheel of a vintage red 1980s Mercedes 450 SL, making it clear that she will join the new movement of Saudi women drivers.

Boo George shot the cover in the desert outside Jeddah.

There is a negative side to the celebrations around the new women drivers campaign in Saudi Arabia. In what feels like a giant contradiction to the new freedoms for Saudi women, the activists who made the movement happen are being arrested. 

Over the past two weeks, about 13 women's rights activists have been arrested. Including Loujain al-Hathloul, an activist with a large social media presence; Eman al-Nafjan, a blogger and activist; and Aisha al-Manea, a veteran driving activist. All three women were public leaders of the campaign, which AOC has long supported.

Saudi Women Will Be Driving In June 2018 As Kingdom Harnesses Their Economic Power

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There are few greater symbols of women's oppression worldwide than the prohibition against women driving in Saudi Arabia. AOC has lobbied against this absurd law for nearly a decade.  The New York Times reminds us:

Some said that it was inappropriate in Saudi culture for women to drive, or that male drivers would not know how to handle women in cars next to them. Others argued that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family. One cleric claimed — with no evidence — that driving harmed women’s ovaries.

Pure economics is part of the change promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king's young son charged with overhauling the kingdom's economy and society. Low oil prices have limited the government's ability to fund unneeded jobs. Women's incomes are critical in expanding economic demand in the kingdom. 

Saudi women are expected to legally hit the road in June 2018, after a period of training male police officers how to interact with women and teaching women how to drive. 

Earlier in 2017 King Salman bin Abdulaziz Saud issued an order allowing women to benefit from government services including education and healthcare without getting the permission of a male guardian. The decision came after spring 2017 outrage over the the election of Saudi Arabia to the UN's women's commission, whose role is to shape "global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women".

A Joke or Not?? Saudi Arabia Awarded Seat on Commission on the Status of Women

A Joke or Not?? Saudi Arabia Awarded Seat on Commission on the Status of Women

In an appalling act of absurdity, The UN Economic and Social Council voted days ago to award Saudi Arabia a four-year term on the Commission on the Status of Women. beginning in 2018 

“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s absurd.”

“Every Saudi woman,” said Neuer, “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia also bans women from driving cars.”

“I wish I could find the words to express how I feel right know. I’m ‘saudi’ and this feels like betrayal,” tweeted a self-described Saudi woman pursuing a doctorate in international human rights law in Australia.

Saudi Arabia was elected by a secret ballot last week of the U.N.’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Usually ECOSOC rubber-stamps nominations arranged behind closed doors by regional groups, however this time the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley  U.S. forced an election, to China’s chagrin.