Sunday, October 27, 2013

Saudi women risk a drive offending one of US capitalism's staunch allies

by Richard Mellor
Afscme local 444, retired

Middle class women are on the move in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world that doesn’t allow women to drive automobiles. Women have been beheaded and publicly flogged for violating strict laws that keep them penned in the home, perhaps readers will recall the woman that was gang raped and then received 100 lashes for leaving home without a male relative. They are forbidden to travel or leave the country without being accompanied by a male relative.

The thugs that run this regime, men of course, get their rocks off in more liberal climes like Monte Carlo or LA where they can hire expensive western prostitutes for thousands of dollars for a few hours entertainment, do a little drinking and gambling in private.

Few women braved the authorities and took to the cars during the latest protest fearing retribution. Many of those that did were fined, though they drove with a male guardian.  The fact that the women in this recent protest haven’t been publicly flogged, or worse is the threat of global pressure, at least that’s what I figure. The Saudi thugs are involved in a lot of schemes around the world with their oil money, horse racing, real estate and other investments. They are subject to pressure economically. Plus, the women involved in these protests are not after an Arab Spring in Saudi land.

The US provides this brutal misogynistic bunch of thugs with lots of military hardware and weapons that ensures their rule is secure; “We don’t want to break any laws,” said Ms. Ajroush, who has been campaigning for the right to drive since 1990. “This is not a revolution, and it will not be turned into a revolution.”  The New York Times also reports one religious nutcase, Sheik Mohammed al-Nujaimi, describing the campaign as a “great danger,” saying it would lead to ruined marriages, a low birthrate, the spread of adultery, more car accidents and “the spending of excessive amounts on beauty products.”

What difference is there between these guys and their right wing religious counterparts in the US? We have to applaud the courage of these women and the men that accompanied them. It is hard to know exactly what this means in an oppressive and violent society like this but we know that they and their male supporters must come under considerable pressure. It is interesting to take note of the way the US mass media, even the liberal New York Times covers such events in what cannot be described as anything but a brutal, violent and misogynistic religious dictatorship. The women are challenging, ”…one of the most stubborn social codes in staunchly conservative Saudi society” the Times writes.

This is very generous to the thugs that govern this country. I am sure the Stalinists in the old Soviet Union or the Iranian regime would not have gotten such a light rebuke. But then the Saudi ruling class has very close connections in the US. They invaded Bahrain at the behest of the US government in order to put down the movement for reform there. This was necessary as the Arab masses are not happy with the US presence in the region and its support of ruthless dictators from Ben Ali, to Mubarak and of course, Saddam Hussein, and US boots on the ground would likely be a problem. And the Saudi rulers are quite willing to share the oil with their US friends, the 1%, a natural resource that should belong to the Arab masses. The US capitalist class has no problem making nice with the Saudi Sheik's equals in Iran either if they would share the loot a little more readily; democracy be damned. I got the video above from Twitter (@oct26driving) as many of the women have been posting pics or videos of themselves up there. I am sure this also is an attempt to keep the executioner at bay; social media has meant a lot to the workers in the Arab world.

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