Manal released, Shoura still a joke, and why Islamists are silent

  • Manal al-Sharif has been released on Tuesday. After her release, she released a statement in which announced that she will no longer be involved with the women’s driving campaign that is scheduled for June 17. The campaign, however, is still on track according a statement published on Facebook.
  • Meanwhile, the Shoura Council said the they are ready to discuss the issue of women’s driving if asked to. Very funny. The speaker talks as if his council actually matters, as if they have a say in what does or doesn’t happen in the country. Even funnier, some people did ask the Shoura to discuss the issue. What the Shoura did? They called them to discuss the issue then cancelled the invitation on the same day.
  • You think Saudi Arabia is a dry country? Think again. In the past six months, 243 drivers in Jeddah alone have had their driving licenses withdrawn after they were caught drunk-driving. I wonder what the numbers are like in Riyadh and also the Eastern Province, where legal access to alcohol is just a short drive across the Johnny Walker birdge King Fahad Causeway.
  • Stéphane Lacroix, who wrote extensively about Islamists in Saudi Arabia, says the reason why these have been largely silent during this season of popular uprisings in the region is because the government has effectively co-opted them. The relationship between the regime and Sahwa is mutually beneficial, and neither party is willing to lose the benefits anytime soon.
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Driving While Drunk

You would think that in a country where the consumption of liquor is illegal, drunk driving won’t be a problem to deal with, but Molouk Ba-Isa got some news for you. She, like many who live near King Fahd Causeway, aka the Johnny Walker Bridge, is complaining that they have to deal with impaired drivers every weekend, and it gets much worse during the Eid week every year.

king_fahd_causeway

She goes into the details that I’m not sure if most of you need to know, but here is the money quote: “The problem is a lack of enforcement.” On both sides of the causeway, little is done to prevent the potential dangers of drunk drivers. Sadly, some people don’t know how to celebrate without putting others and themselves in danger.