Manal al-Sharif's campaign for women's right to drive – Click above to watch video after the jump

The Arab Spring has brought a wave of change and reform to the Middle East, but that tide has seemingly stopped at Saudi Arabia. According to The New York Times, the Saudi government has effectively squelched a movement championed by Manal al-Sharif. The woman wasn't campaigning for the overthrow of the government or the death of the country's leaders. Instead, she was simply demonstrating for women's right to drive in her country. Sharif posted videos of herself driving on YouTube and started Facebook and Twitter accounts that prompted other Saudi women to do the same.

That's when the Saudi government stepped in. Sharif was arrested for her transgressions and her videos were removed from YouTube. Later, a Facebook page she had set up to instruct other women about how to get involved was deleted and a duplicate of her Twitter account began posting messages indicating that she had stopped her efforts.

But this is the internet, and nothing is gone forever. Copies of Sharif's original message have reappeared on YouTube and an Al Jazeera report on her campaign is still available. You can check out the full report at The New York Times and watch the videos after the break.





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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 78 Comments
      dukeisduke
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the same country where girls were forced to remain in a school that was on fire, rather than be allowed to escape without proper attire (niqabs and abayas), by the mutaween. Fifteen girls died. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1874471.stm
      kevsflanagan
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seeing some of the video's out of Saudi Arabia of their men "hooning" on the highways, you'd think they'd prefer women to drive.
      Kai F. Lahmann
      • 4 Years Ago
      That country is competing with North Korea about having the least personal freedom.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 4 Years Ago
      There has been a lot of movement in women's rights lately in the middle east. This is pretty cool to see. I hope they succeed. Anything that can make those extremely conservative countries less wacked out is a big plus .
      • 4 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      KaiserWilhelm
      • 4 Years Ago
      Religion : Repressing the weak and powerless since 10,000 B.C.
        TruthHertz
        • 4 Years Ago
        @KaiserWilhelm
        This goes double for the "peaceful" religion of Islam.
          Ace Convoy
          • 4 Years Ago
          @TruthHertz
          peaceful is the reverse blow-dryer noise that my old 94 Taurus makes. Heck if I could I'd donate a car to her every time they take hers away. When it comes to Cars and God nobody better block my path. Whether Male or Female She should refuge to another country somehow. I'd die if I was in her position.
        Chris
        • 4 Years Ago
        @KaiserWilhelm
        Please read. I'm not a religious person, but I've become pretty tired of some people continuously whining about religion. I know you'll have kooks, but many good people believe what they want without wanting to force others to believe the same. If you could think for 5 seconds, you wouldn't make this about religion. The problem is not religion, Islam, atheism, or whatever one may believe in (or not believe in), the problem is too much government and power over others. If a handful of people in government are given too much power to do what they want, they begin to impose their ideals on others... That always ends badly. Just think.... What about communist countries with state atheism? How many innocent people have they imprisoned and/or killed? Did the promotion of atheism make things any better for them? Are they any better than Saudi Arabia's Islamic monarchy? I don't think so. Or what if Star Trek fans were given the power to tell TV stations what they could run, we'd all be forced to watch nothing but Klingons, reruns of the original ST series and William Shatner interviews 24/7. My point is, if ANY handful few have too much power and control, it is never a good thing.
          KaiserWilhelm
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Chris
          Well since Saudi Arabia is a theocratic state, religion is to blame here.
          Chris
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Chris
          Good grief, you just ignored what I said! If you're just being a narrow-minded bigot, I can understand why you'd ignore it. If this is how you want to see it, atheism is to blame for the the persecution of religious people and others in communist countries with state atheism. Are you ready to say that about atheism? I don't believe that. I believe people need to direct anger at big, imposing governments, the individuals that run them, and not a belief mold. Many state leaders outwardly use theism or atheism, but only to fool, divide, manipulate, and hold onto their power. Adolf Hitler, Lenin, the Saudi royals, even US presidents all have done it. The Saudi royals use religion the same way communist leaders used atheism to keep themselves in power and oppress their people. It's same story with many other world leaders. You can't continue to blame it all on religion for what these monsters do.
        Synthono
        • 4 Years Ago
        @KaiserWilhelm
        Religion does not oppress on its own. It only oppresses when those who want to oppress use it as a tool. To ascribe all oppression to religion is to absolve the ones in power who use it to manipulate the population.
          ksrcm
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          And your point is? When I believe that there is a superior being that doesn't like squid, cross-dresses and hates very much all bans on smoking, that is NOT a religion, that is personal belief. For something to be called "a religion", it HAS to be institutionalized, have pyramidal hierarchy and be abused by a few at the damage of the many. Your clarification makes no sense.
      PistonHead
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am from Saudi Arabia. Don't blame Islam and don't blame us, we are great and misunderstood people because of some fools who think they represent us, the people of the country. Please, blame those nuts who run the country. Women drive in other Muslim and neighboring countries. It is just unfortunate that this country is led by those stupid $#@!# ugh! Free Manal!
        ksrcm
        • 4 Years Ago
        @PistonHead
        Sorry, I also came from a sh**ty country but I will not say "we are great people, it's rules who are bad" because if the people were THAT good, they would have different rulers. Americans are not some God created nation that was given civil institutions and Constitution from a higher entity. The reason for America having those things are Americans. If you could theoretically replace every American with a Saudi, it would take 6 months and USA would become Saudi Arabia. People ALWAYS have Governments they deserve - no exceptions.
      Hyns
      • 4 Years Ago
      Real woman are also NOT afraid to show their FACES you dumb muslim garbage. Either you muslim or not, suck it up, SORE LOSER.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Hyns
        [blocked]
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 4 Years Ago
          What does any of this have to do with Fox News, or Sarah Palin? People like you are the problem in this country. You are always trying to make everything about conservatives and liberals as if the whole dang world gives a crap about and lives by America's "battle" between right and left. Are you really that cynical?
          • 4 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      EB110Americana
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't buy the Islam claim at all. This is a bunch of delusional elitists running a “no girls allowed” clubhouse as a country. It’s misogyny as a political platform, not religion. FYI, all you losers who do your dirty work behind closed doors and spread misinformation via the government run media: this does not make you strong men, it simply shows the rest of the world how pitiful you really are if you have to subjugate your women just to feel superior. Get a clue! I’ve ridden with female race car drivers who could make you look like you’re pedaling your first BigWheel. We ought to send Sabine over there to teach them a little humility! I wish the utmost success to Manal al-Sharif and her campaign!
        Hector Djibaou
        • 4 Years Ago
        @EB110Americana
        Coming from a country where Women rights don't really exist, all I gotta say is "YOU GO GIRL". Good luck to you and more women around the world should follow in her footsteps. I'm 100% African, and honestly my continent wouldn't be so f**ked up if woman had a say in how their countries were ran, too many egotistical bastards run those damn countries and look at how shitty they are. One dictator gets removed for another and it never ends. Keep doing what you are doing Manal al-Sharif, good luck!
        dukeisduke
        • 4 Years Ago
        @EB110Americana
        Well, Islam is a political system, too, not just a religion.
      jbh2os
      • 4 Years Ago
      There is a bit more to this story. Manal was taken from her home at 3am without warning and is still being detained contrary to news reports of her release. To add insult to injury, her children were taken away by her ex-husband and she was dismissed from her job. Men in KSA have been calling for the beating of any women caught driving. Quite a harsh punishment for a privilege we all take for granted here in the states. In contrast, it is worth mentioning that three young men were recently arrested for vandalizing several shops. Their punishment? Essentially, they received a slap on the wrists and were released. How is that justice? (Information from source in Saudi Arabia)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @jbh2os
        [blocked]
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 4 Years Ago
        @jbh2os
        "How is that justice?" It's only just in a backward culture that still thinks we are in the 6th Century.
      Ducman69
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is amazing how much religion has been able to hold back societies development around the world. Wherever you go, the more religious the society, the more its like looking back in time. The places where Sharia law are practiced are virtually lagging a century behind.
        Jake
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        Yes, its not like the Church in Europe fostered science and is basically responsible for bringing together the scientific thought and reason responsible for modern science.
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Jake
          [blocked]
          KaiserWilhelm
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Jake
          Right, and we've only taken it from there to the FREAKING MOON.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        A century? Try 1400 years.
      Dick Trickle
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saudi Arabia is a scumbag country, always has been , always will be.
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