Lubna Hussain and Abeer Mishkhas, as well as John Burgess, were all really angry at what happened in Riyadh last week during an international medical seminar: a presenter called Dr. Yousef Al-Ahmed from King Saudi University insisted that all women — including medical and media professionals — leave the room before he would enter the room to give his presentation. I can’t blame them. It was outrageous.
However, I don’t agree with Hussain and Mishkhas that the female attendees are to blame for leaving to the request of the organizers, who are the only to be blamed for this ridiculous incident.
Dr. Al-Ahmed knew well there will be women at the event. He for sure knows that KFSH has a mixed work environment, unlike KSU and King Khaled University Hospital. If he was offended by the presence of women then he should have rejected the invitation. The organizers should not have agreed on his request to kick women out, and if he had a problem with that then, well, this is his problem not theirs, as one of the attendees, a Saudi female neurologist, told Arab News.
Considering that he comes from KSU, I should say I was not totally shocked by his actions. Those of us familiar with the environment of Saudi Arabia’s oldest university, and its medical colleges in particular, would come to expect the most bizarre things. Do believe me when I say that despite the strict segregation at KKUH, there are some teachers in the College of Medicine who are not satisfied with the situation and demand the current dean to be sacked in order to implement their views.
I know that some people would jump down my throat for simply writing this post, and to that all I can say is: I don’t care. They would bash me as Westernized, un-Islamic, etc, and whatever they can come up with of their sorry accusations, and you know what, I don’t care. Silencing critics and sugarcoating mistakes would only set back our country, and if we want to move forward we should never give in to the nay-sayers. Now if you excuse me, I would like to make sure that no woman will comment on this post.