Monday, April 23, 2012

Things to Think About

A couple of days ago, I posted the following:

"I read this very passionate article today from an Egyptian woman about the plight and status of women in the Middle East. Before moving to Saudi Arabia, I would have read the article and thought about it a bit and then moved in. It is much more poignant and real to me after living in Saudi Arabia. If you do read it, let me know what you think.
Beware: this post does have some graphic language in it and is pretty harsh."

In retrospect, after reading a few comments, I made a couple of mistakes.
1) When I posted, I didn't clarify my own position or thoughts about the article. I also didn't give the article closer examination or look at it critically.
I posted the article because I was interested in what a Muslim woman had to say about the experience of women in the Middle East. The author, highlighted a number of terrible offenses against women. Other news reports have confirmed some of the incidents discussed in the article. But the author's whole purpose is to pull together a very bleak picture of being a women in the Middle East. A Saudi man, whom I know, commented on the post and pointed out that the actions of a few men shouldn't characterize the whole of Middle Eastern culture and society. Alhasan's comments reminded me of conversations I've had with my husband where I rail on gender inequality and evil actions of men and my husband gets defensive. In the past, I would get so mad at my husband, but as we've talked, he's reminded me that  (Please read his comment--I think it was an excellent one.)
2) I was looking at Saudi Arabia culture and judging it from my own context and culture. After living in Sweden for such a long time, I've realized that is an incredibly arrogant thing to do when you live in a different culture.


  1. Wow. That was really bad. Sounds like Satan has his grasp on ALL the men over in the region. The women are enslaved.

  2. We definitely take for granted our liberties as women here.

  3. Well, first She does not live in the Middle East ..
    Some of what she wrote is true and some is not and to take that as if it is the norm or as if every single man acts like that is just unfair. I live there and I don't think Satan has his grasp on me and I definitely don't think women -at least in my family- are enslaved.

    Look, we have some bad examples just like anybody else. It is just unfair to think that we are all bad people!!

    You know what T, when you come to Jeddah I'd like for you to visit my family. You might have a different prospective.


  4. Alhasan,
    So glad you commented and BTW congrats on your acceptance to grad school. That is really great and I'm proud of you.

    I'm glad you weighed in. I think your perspective as a Saudi man is invaluable. I thought the article was interesting because it did make a very passionate case, using the most extreme examples of abuse.

    I most definitely agree with you about your comments.

    There are plenty of men (and women) who mistreat, abuse, and enslave women in the U.S. Sadly, the U.S. has a roaring sex trade with sex slaves (women, boys, and children) who are literally slaves. I can't think of anything more evil than that, can you?

    I most definitely do not think that Saudis are bad people. There is a lot of good here. I deeply respect the way Saudis value families. I love not having to deal with alcohol here. I'm thrilled that the government blocks porn sites.I love how I'm treated with respect when I go out with my children.

    I'm sorry that I've only pointed out the negative. I didn't present my opinion about this piece because I was interested in reader reaction. I'll have to post my thoughts about the piece in a later post.

    I'm very interested in the way this fight for "gender equality" plays out in the middle east. I can see how Muslims would view the movement with mistrust, especially looking at some of the ways western women behave.

    And yes, Alhasan, I would love to meet your family.

  5. Emily,

    I would agree that there are some bad things going with mistreatment in the Middle East. But I don't think that Western society is immune from the mistreatment and abuse either. As I remarked to Alhassan, you know the U.S. has a roaring pornography and sex trade where hundreds of thousands of women and children are enslaved. I think that is a great evil. For all our talk of equality in our own countries, we have a lot of problems with abuse. So it is definitely a mixed bag.