From the Google Doodle that supposedly promoted Saudi women to remove their veils, to the Facebook page and YouTube video supporting their protests to be able to drive, it seems many Saudi Arabians see parts of the web as agents for change they don’t want.
According to Al-Watan Daily, the Martha Graham Doodle showing a dancing woman who removes a veil during the animated dance prompted tens of thousands of Saudis to protest it being shown in their country.
“The ‘Google doodle’, which depicts a woman casting her veil behind her and starting to dance, was placed on the company’s international zone, and Al-Watan said that complaints from Saudis asked the company to ‘respect the privacy of its Saudi zone’ and remove the images,” the paper reported.
Meanwhile, a YouTube video and a Facebook page led to the arrest of a Saudi woman who broke the national law that doesn’t allow women to drive.
“Manal Al-Sherif, a 32-year-old IT expert, was arrested at dawn on Sunday and accused of ‘violating public order,’ according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media,” the Associated Press reported. “She was ordered held for five days while the case was investigated; her brother, Mohammed al-Sherif, who was in the car while she was driving, also was taken into custody. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women – both Saudi and foreign – from driving.”
Al-Sherif is part of a protest group that has a Facebook page – the new popular Middle Eastern protest platform – trying to gain support for women’s right to drive. She had been arrested before and was again once she posted a video on YouTube that recorded her driving.
Al Sharif, who has taught other women how to drive, is resolute about Saudi women being more outspoken. “We have a saying,” she told CNN. “The rain starts with a single drop. This is a symbolic thing.”