Video dispatch 20: No Woman, No Drive: First stirrings of Saudi democracy?

October 27, 2013


[Note by Tom Gross]

Yesterday, according to Saudi activists, an estimated 25-30 brave Saudi women risked harsh punishment by driving a car, in an extraordinary display of civil disobedience in the dictatorial kingdom.

I attach four videos on the subject below.

The first is a satirical song by a Saudi man and his male friends poking fun at the country’s driving ban on females – itself a courageous act given the kind of punishments used by the Saudi authorities for those who step out of line.

This song – based on the Bob Marley classic “No woman, No cry” – was only uploaded to the Internet yesterday and has already been watched on YouTube more than 1.5 million times:

The lyrics in the song about “ovaries” and “making lots of babies in the back seat” are a reference to this item in a dispatch three weeks ago here:

* Driving will affect your ovaries and pelvis, Saudi sheikh warns women ahead of calls to defy the despotic kingdom’s female driving ban with a mass female drive-in on October 26.


The second and third videos are from BBC and CNN reporting on the brave women who drove cars yesterday – and allowed themselves to be filmed doing so.

Authorities stopped five women who were spotted driving in the Saudi capital and “each case was dealt with accordingly,” Col. Fawaz Al-Meeman of Riyadh said.


And here is TED talk by Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drive.

Her sons were assaulted at school for he daring act of driving:

Al-Sharif, who now lives in the United Arab Emirates, was one of those spearheading the driving campaign yesterday.

Saudi Arabia is poised to win a seat on the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council in elections to be held on November 12th.

To learn more about the anti-human rights work of the UN Human Rights Council – which we are all funding with our taxes – please see my articles here:

* If the UN had integrity.

* The speakers were never meant to live and tell their stories.


* There is another dispatch today, which you can read here: Senior Middle East writer for The Guardian attacks Robert Fisk’s “comedy of errors”.

Other dispatches in this video series can be seen here:

* Video dispatch 1: The Lady In Number 6

* Video dispatch 2: Iran: Zuckerberg created Facebook on behalf of the Mossad

* Video dispatch 3: Vladimir Putin sings “Blueberry Hill” (& opera in the mall)

* Video dispatch 4: While some choose boycotts, others choose “Life”

* Video dispatch 5: A Jewish tune with a universal appeal

* Video dispatch 6: Carrying out acts of terror is nothing new for the Assad family

* Video dispatch 7: A brave woman stands up to the Imam (& Cheering Bin Laden in London)

* Video dispatch 8: Syrians burn Iranian and Russian Flags (not Israeli and U.S. ones)

* Video Dispatch 9: “The one state solution for a better Middle East...”

* Video dispatch 10: British TV discovers the next revolutionary wave of Israeli technology

* Video dispatch 11: “Freedom, Freedom!” How some foreign media are reporting the truth about Syria

* Video dispatch 12: All I want for Christmas is...

* Video dispatch 13: “Amazing Israeli innovations Obama will see (& Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz!)

* Video dispatch 14: Jon Stewart under fire in Egypt (& Kid President meets Real President)

* Video dispatch 15: A rare 1945 BBC recording: Survivors in Belsen sing Hatikvah (& “No Place on Earth”)

* Video dispatch 16: Joshua Prager: “In search for the man who broke my neck”

* Video dispatch 17: Pushback against the “dictator Erdogan” - Videos from the “Turkish summer”

* Video dispatch 18: Syrian refugees: “May God bless Israel”

* Video dispatch 19: An uplifting video (& ‘Kenya calls in Israeli special forces to help end mall siege’)

* Video dispatch 20: No Woman, No Drive: First stirrings of Saudi democracy?

* Video dispatch 21: Al-Jazeera: Why can’t Arab armies be more humane like Israel’s?

* Video dispatch 22: Jerusalem. Tel Aviv. Beirut. Happy.

* Video dispatch 23: A nice moment in the afternoon

* Video dispatch 24: How The Simpsons were behind the Arab Spring

* Video dispatch 25: Iranians and Israelis enjoy World Cup love-in (& U.S. Soccer Guide)

* Video dispatch 26: Intensifying conflict as more rockets aimed at Tel Aviv

* Video dispatch 27: Debating the media coverage of the current Hamas-Israel conflict

* Video dispatch 28: CNN asks Hamas: “Do you really believe Jews slaughter Christians?” (& other items)

* Video dispatch 29: “Fighting terror by day, supermodels by night” (& Sign of the times)

* Video dispatch 30: How to play chess when you’re an ISIS prisoner (& Escape from Boko Haram)

* Video dispatch 31: Incitement to kill

* Video Dispatch 32: Bibi to BBC: “Are we living on the same planet?” (& other videos)

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.