Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Vote? Yes; Drive? Not yet
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Saudi Arabia
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12691
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:35 pm    Post subject: Vote? Yes; Drive? Not yet Reply with quote

Sept 25th, 2011

SAUDI ARABIA: Reforms will allow women to vote but not drive


REPORTING FROM CAIRO -- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia surprised his ultraconservative nation Sunday by announcing bold reforms that for the first time give women the right to vote, run for local office and serve on the Shura Council, the king’s advisory board.

The measures by an aging monarch who has battled Islamic hard-liners for years will marginally improve the standing of women in a country that still forbids them from driving or leaving the house without their faces covered. The moves appear likely to enrage religious conservatives while serving to advance at least a veneer of change in one of the world’s most repressive states.

“Because we refuse to marginalize women in society in all roles that comply with sharia [Islamic law], we have decided ... to involve women in the Shura Council as members, starting from the next term,” the king said in a five-minute speech to his advisors.

He added: “Women will be able to run as candidates” in the 2015 municipal election “and will even have a right to vote.”

The announcement suggests that the ailing 87-year-old king seeks a legacy as a reformer, despite making only modest inroads on human rights. Abdullah built the country’s first coeducational university and has granted 120,000 scholarships to Saudi students, many of them women, to study outside the country. Each was opposed by clerics and religious ultraconservatives in the royal family.

Allowing women to vote is “hugely significant,” said Lubna Hussain, a Saudi writer. “The king is implementing the reform promises he made when he became leader. It shows he is not willing to pander to religious fundamentalists ... who are quite weakened and don’t seem to have the voice they used to.”

The new rights for women come as Saudi Arabia has bristled at demands for political freedoms that have spirited rebellions across the Arab world and toppled such longtime allies of the king as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. When rumblings of revolt echoed in Saudi Arabia, the government, whose security forces are omnipresent, promised $130 billion in salary raises and spending for social and religious programs.

Such largesse and attempts at modernization have kept Abdullah popular even while challenges to the royal family have been quickly crushed. Saudi dissidents and human rights groups have condemned the government for crackdowns that have occasionally damaged the king’s image and led to criticism that his family’s reliance on religious conservatives to stay in power makes him too cautious a reformer.

The king is the counterbalance to influential anti-reformist forces, including Prince Nayef ibn Abdulaziz, the Saudi interior minister, who many believe may succeed Abdullah. Nayef is sympathetic to fundamentalist Wahhabi clerics who uphold the segregation of sexes and have resisted the monarch’s attempts at modest reforms to ease religion's grip on schools, courts and other institutions.

Yet discriminatory laws, such as preventing women from driving, have become an international embarrassment for the kingdom, a key U.S. ally that relies on oil wealth to expand its diplomatic stature. A number of women were arrested over the summer for defying the driving ban. Analysts predicted that by allowing women to vote the king has opened the possibility for wider rights debates.

But others said the latest reforms were diversions that did little to change the plight of women in a country where they can be beheaded for adultery and cannot travel abroad without the permission of a male guardian.

“It’s a mixed feeling. On one hand he opens the door for her and on the other hand she is still banned from driving,” said Mohammad Fahd Qahtani, a college professor and human rights advocate. “It doesn’t save her from horrible treatment by government agencies and the courts. It’s a symbolic gesture but it is in no way enough to improve the lives of women.”

He added: “These rights to vote are still, if you see how it’s worded, are contingent on Islamic jurisprudence. So we'll have to see in coming years what happens. The devil could be in the details. But maybe it’ll get some international praise for the regime.”

Sunday’s announcements “represent an important step forward in expanding the rights of women in Saudi Arabia, and we support King Abdullah and the people of Saudi Arabia as they undertake these and other reforms,” said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council.

The change will not alter the Saudi power structure. Municipal councils have little authority and only half their members are elected. The Shura Council, a body akin to a parliament but with no legislative power, advises the king on economic, social and international affairs.

But liberals and activists believe that even a little nudge forward in the kingdom is significant.

“It’s almost like a watershed,” said Hussain, who has written eloquently over the years on women’s rights. “You’ll now have women in [the Shura Council] taking up women’s causes. Before it was men talking for us. It’s quite revolutionary and it will open up a Pandora’s box.”

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/09/saudi-arabia-king-announces-reforms-allowing-women-to-vote.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150287710332452_18092550_10150287802692452#f16779108

Regards,
John
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
It's Scary!



Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Abdullah built the country’s first coeducational university...


A hard-worker that old fella is. Do you suppose that he had some help?

It's amazing the monarch can do a day's honest labor when his subjects cannot!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12691
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear It's Scary,

And - he used rocks to built it. Hence, the expression: ABDULLAH ROCKS. Wink

Regards,
John
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
It's Scary!



Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Dear It's Scary,

And - he used rocks to built it. Hence, the expression: ABDULLAH ROCKS. Wink

Regards,
John


Oh, John. You're much better than that! Shocked

It must be a slow day in Santa Fe! Cool

And, all the winking in China won't fix that! Embarassed


It's at least, not low-brow humour! Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12691
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear It's Scary,

You're just envious Rolling Eyes And just why are you using the British spelling for humor?

Regards,
John
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
It's Scary!



Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Dear It's Scary,

You're just envious Rolling Eyes And just why are you using the British spelling for humor?

Regards,
John


It'd be a bit self-defeating for me to be envious of you as I couldn't hold a candle to you. Very Happy As to my spelling conventions, sigh, I'm feelin' a bit puerile at the moment!

It's my more pedantic side!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12691
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear It's Scary,

Aw shucks - you have my express permission to hold a candle to me any time you wish.

Just don't get it TOO close.

Your use of that old expression got me wondering - what's its origin?

"Before the days of electricity, it was common practice to light candles after the sun went down. Since street lighting was almost non-existent, the fairly well to do had servants who followed them everywhere carrying a candle. It was also possible to hire “linkboys”. These boys carried with them lanterns and candles and they provided the necessary light for the people going from one part of the town to another. Since the servants and the linkboys were looked down upon by the masters, the expression “can’t hold a candle to someone” began to mean someone who is inferior."

or

"Apprentices used to be expected to hold the candle so that more experienced workmen were able to see what they were doing. Someone unable even to do that would be of low status indeed."

And you're no "linkboy" or apprentice.

Regards,
John
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the Saudis eliminate honor killings and other misogynistic practices, then Saudi Arabia has truly advanced women's rights.

Mad
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ganesh77



Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a chat with some of my students this morning about it. They seemed kind of amused about women getting the vote, and were dismissive about anyone actually voting for a woman. Their chances of getting elected could depend on whether a constituency has more male or female voters during a given election Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ganesh77



Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then again, if we take into account the apathy that has driven the incredibly low turnout of male voters on Thursday, even a modest turnout of progressively-minded female voters in 2015 could be enough to elect a number of women into the municipal councils.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most Gulf countries set aside X number of seats in their Majlis that must be filled by a woman. I suspect that this is imperative in such a misogynistic culture, but then of course it is a small enough number that they can be effectively ignored.

VS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12691
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reform in Saudi is ALWAYS shway, shway.

No overnight (or even "overyear") changes are going to happen. And I'm not surprised - you don't bring a country/society from the 15th century (I've always thought is so appropriate that the Hegira year is 1432) to the 21st in a hurry.

Regards,
John
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
posh



Joined: 22 Oct 2010
Posts: 430

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last week a woman was given 10 lashes for driving in Riyadh - no doubt to serve as a warning to other rebellious females. I often see boys as young as 8 driving around and feel that their fathers should get lashed for it.

I asked a few Saudis if women should be able to drive and one mutawa was furious that it should even be considered. "There is not enough space in the car parks!" was one of his reasons.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
It's Scary!



Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"There is not enough space in the car parks!"


...a British-educated mutawa???

It's "on its face ridiculous"!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

posh wrote:
Last week a woman was given 10 lashes for driving in Riyadh - no doubt to serve as a warning to other rebellious females.

Except that she wasn't as King Abdullah stopped it.

VS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Saudi Arabia All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC