On Alienating Opponents

I respect the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR). Compared to the other human rights organization in the country, I believe that they have been doing a decent job. For instance, I was pleasantly surprised by their latest report. But even NSHR occasionally manage to get on my nerves too.

NSHR still lacks a stance on issues like women’s driving. One of the founding members of the Society was recently asked why they don’t have a stance on the issue and he gave an interesting answer. He said some members of NSHR supports women’s driving, while some other members don’t. We don’t want to alienate those.

Say what?!

I understand that women’s driving is a controversial issue. But I believe it shouldn’t be. To me, the issue boils down to this: freedom of movement is a basic human right. Therefore, you would think it’s obvious what kind of stance NSHR should be taking. Any member who has a different opinion can then express their reservation on this stance, or they can quit. It’s that simple, really.

But that’s just me. And I would gladly admit that I know very little about the inside politics of the few NGOs operating in Saudi Arabia. So people of NSHR, if any of you is reading this, please enlighten me.

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