Shocked, is the way I would describe my reaction when I received news that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia declared that women in that country would receive full suffrage. This is a telling moment for oppressed women in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East that treat women as second class citizens. To have to beg a male family member to be allowed to apply for a job, to be denied the right to drive and certainly to be denied full suffrage by denying women the right not only vote, but to hold office is to treat a woman as subhuman.
“We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society and in every aspect, within the rules of Sharia,” Abdullah said, referring to the Islamic law that governs many aspects of life in the kingdom.
So Saudi women can now vote and run for office, however, as we all know, one thing is to say it, declare it, even make it law, another is to implement and permit the execution of the law. There are factions involved here that will use strong arm tactics to stop women from running for office, which will certainly include threatening the family, shaming male members of the family and even murder to preserve the status quo in an overtly male dominated society.
In any event this is only the beginning of the end for the Saudi women who will still need to beg a male member of the family to be allowed to work at the very polls they may be allowed to vote at.
Women will also have to obtain a male driver to drive them to the polls or to the local municipality where they may serve as a council member if they’re able to overcome the election fraud that is sure to prevail.
I would say that these women who today live under an oppressive Saudi male dominated regime, are the pioneers of suffrage and will encounter resistance very similar to that which women in the United States encountered from a chauvinistic male dominated democracy.
I say to them, أتمنى لكم التوفيق وبارك الله فيكم, which for you who have embraced and respect full suffrage, translates to, “I wish you the best and may God Bless you.”
Now I’m left wondering how long it will take for them to break the glass ceiling that women here in the United States continue to struggle with?
Carlos E. Galindo is a radio talk show host & political analyst conducting radio shows in both English and Spanish on five radio stations in Arizona. Mr. Galindo is a weekly contributor to KPFK 98.7 FM Los Angeles and has appeared on CNN, Univision and Telemundo as a political analyst. Mr. Galindo is also an Op-Ed columnist on Prensa Hispana and the Tucson Citizen. Arizona. www.nospinonair.com/http://www.carlosgalindo.com
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