Manal Al-Sharif's book is a deeply personal and profound story; equal parts biography, cultural education, history and spiritual transformation. Al-Sharif's incredible journey of awakening follows her through experiences of abuse, the tyranny of religious extremism, and frustrations with oppressive tradition. Yet, while enlightening the reader with difficult realities and strong criticisms she also speaks with an abiding respect, pride and love for both the country that she was forced to leave and her family. You will admire her grace for those individuals working and living within the system and traditions that she feels called to question and her commitment to a transformative process that is as much concerned with healing of a nation as it is with revolution. "The rain begins with a single drop." Manal Al-Sharif.
A brilliant woman from the Middle East who through change came to realise she has the strength within herself to stand up to male authority. Go to all female drivers anywhere in the world. What’s the men’s problem?
This book is about a great deal more than a Saudi Arabian woman driving. It isn't a straight autobiography, either. By the end, Manal has led us through enough Saudi history, and the story of several generations of her family, so that we have a clear understanding of why the most conservative country in the world, and one of the richest, bases its culture so strongly on gender segregation. Women driving is merely an example. Manal and all her family suffer greatly because of it—among other things, the immediate family has to move out of the country, and her two children can't get visas to both visit family members in Saudi at the same time. The family is strong enough to overcome the problems because her generation is well educated and can get good jobs, and because of their love and faith. Ironically, this week I heard on the news that in ten months, women will be allowed to drive legally. The time gap is to allow adjustment to the large cultural change. The events around Manal driving happen in 2011. I wonder how much they influence the decision to finally allow women to drive without having a man in the car? Interesting, well written, and highly recommended.
This book is about more than the simple freedom to drive in Saudi Arabia. Its a biography on Manal's life and misogynistic social customs and extreme Wahhabi religious interpretation that treat women as personal property, similar to slavery. Insightful and a quick read.
This book is essential reading for anyone, anywhere. It gives us a glimpse into what some of the plights Saudi women have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. There is a not so fine line of difference between the judicial and moral laws of that country and you will see examples in this bio. I applaud Manal Al-Sharif for her courage and all that she has accomplished thus far - but still has a ways to go. Like she said, "The rain starts with a single drop." Excellent read!
Words are unable to describe the lives of women in the Middle East, and in this case, Saudi Arabia. Although I have read many books about the plight of Muslim women, I was again horrified by Manal's story. Manal has led us through the unbelievable customs that rule the lives of women in this hugely-wealthy but barbaric and prehistoric society, ruled by men who have absolutely no respect for women. Daughters who are regularly beaten by their fathers or family for reasons beyond comprehension.
Manal has introduced the Western world to the oppressive and cruel dictates of the Muslim man. Yes, there are decent Muslim men; however, they are silent and cowardly in terms of protecting girls and women· Brainwashed and abused, the young women silently submit to this horrific tyranny! Meanwhile, the Imans' self-righteous rants based on the inferiority of women continue. My heart breaks for the girls and women who have been brain-washed into this way of life by parents and religious leaders.
Manal suffered days in prison for DRIVING A CAR! She is a true heroine who fought for the rights of Muslim women to do such a simple thing. Progress is very slow in these backward countries. It is amazing to see the propaganda on TV about Dubai, showing women as medical professionals. After reading this book, one can readily see the absurdity of their actual reality.
North American politicians cozy up to this horrific kingdom based on obtaining money from oil revenues. They show no concern for basic human rights towards women. Shame on them for enabling cruelty and a lack of justice in their oppressive rule.
Do you ever read a dystopian novel and think "oh my gosh all these harsh things would never happen in our world!". That's how I felt reading this book.
Never in my life did I have a serious contemplation of how simple my life as a woman is in the Western World (especially the United States) in comparison to a woman born in Saudi Arabia. For example, today I woke up and left for work in my own car without a man, and clocked into my own job where I work beside men and women, and just last night I mingled with my boyfriend's family for dinner. Simple customs like this are so different and more complicated in Saudi Arabia. If I were living there I would never be able to leave the house without my male guardian to drive me, I could not work like I do among men, and it would also be out of custom to mingle so casually with men in general let alone have a sit down dinner with them.
We read books today like The Handmaid's Tale and think "we can never let this happen!". I struggle to say, it has already happened/is happening. Maybe not in the style of women being literal baby-making slaves on a mass scale, but the true reality of women being second-class citizens with no rights and zero ways to move forward in their life without men. Manal al-Sharif made a great point in the book- women's rights in Saudi Arabia are like running a race against men but your legs and arms are chopped off. In whatever way you need to do things, you must rely on a man or men. Everything from driving, signing a lease for an apartment, enrolling in university, EVERYTHING is set up to make women easy targets to fail. The customs and religious traditions are so engraved into the backbone of this nation that when she was pulled over for driving, the police could not give her a solid reason for her arrest- just that she broke "tradition" (there is actually no law saying women cannot drive!).
I commend Manal al-Sharif for her immense bravery and guts to stick up to a system that is so stacked against women. She left the book with a lighter note of hope for the future of women's rights in Saudi Arabia including a tweet by the current Prince saying the country needs to move forward with allowing women to drive. I highly recommend her Ted Talk.
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