To our Saudi sisters we say "You go, girls!"
"Single life beats marriage to an emasculated man" headlines a Haaretz article on Saudi internet iconoclast Wajiha al Huwayder. Fired last year by a Saudi newspaper because she "damaged the foundations of the nation and wrote about issues not permitted by Shari'a," al Huwayder turned to the internet and a British Arab website called Ilaf, where she "embarked on a major attack against those whom she defines as 'the pathetic and emasculated men of the East.'":
The use she is making of the internet is very important for increasing the awareness of Saudi and Arab women of their status and their situation in society. Because while the Saudi woman is prevented from talking to a strange man or going to meetings without supervision, the internet is becoming her actual meeting place. No less important is the reaction of the men to things written by al Huwayder and other women on the internet . . . And this is what she writes:
"Most Arab men have been emasculated since they were young. They have no power to give, and therefore they are incapable of granting a respectable life to anyone" . . .
"Let's begin with the original land of the Arabs, Saudi Arabia. The most important characteristic borne by the men of this country is the impotence complex. That's the reason why the most common medication among them is a drug against impotence. These men spend more money on its purchase than all the men in the world, in order to achieve the missing sense of masculinity.
Al Huwayder has strong words for Saudi women as well, [accusing them] of having become accustomed "to laziness, to relying on someone else, and to waiting for the men to bring loot and gifts from 'the hunting fields.'"
We blogged here recently about the pressure for change in the status of women in Saudi Arabia, where womenmay soon get the vote, "or something like it," as Gulf Reporter quipped.
Al Huwayder and other outspoken women have been accused of sacrilege and received threats, and Samir Abid, an Iraqi journalist who lives in France, has come to their defense, writing on the same web site. Abid believes that there are religious excuses for the limitations on the status of women, but the real reasons for it are "masculine" and relate to the fact that Arab men fear the entry of women into politics and economics, and the increase in women's power to the point where they will compete with men.