Discriminated against by a foreigner in my own country

This is not good! I was treated wonderfully by Saudis when I lived there between 1978-1992 and this blogger is right — most of the westerners I knew truly cared and were there to make a difference. Too bad this westerner is discriminating against the very people she should be befriending. I know that when I was there, it was relatively easy to make friends with Saudis and those friendships I cherished. Now it seems there is a line drawn between expats and Saudis. Makes me sad to see this change. This westerner needs to adjust her attitude and realize that she is a guest in Saudi Arabia and that she should do all she can to bridge any differences and misunderstandings.

Saudiwoman's Weblog

I just had a really frustrating phone call. A friend of mine recommended a ballet instructor for my daughter. She gave me the number and I called to inquire and the lovely British ballet instructor informed me that she could not accept my daughter because we carry Saudi passports. I asked her why and she said that there is a directive that Saudi girls are not allowed to learn ballet. I asked her if she was ever provided with a written directive that Saudi girls weren’t allowed to learn ballet, and she said no that she was verbally instructed. I told her that that is not true and that there are ballet classes at some gyms here in Riyadh. So she changed the story and said that she had instructions that Saudis weren’t allowed on compounds. I told her that I’ve been in compounds. So she again changed the story…

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Wife-tracker revisited

Saudiwoman's Weblog

In my last post I wrote about how guardians receive SMS notifications if their dependants leave or enter the country. Dependents in Saudi Arabia are defined as anyone on a man’s family card, including wife and adult daughters. A few years ago only men were allowed to have individual national ID cards once they turned 16. Women had to rely on being listed by name and number only on a man’s family card. The only way to have a photo ID for a woman is to get a passport. But that didn’t matter too much because the family card was accepted everywhere including banks, hospitals and courts. No need and requirement for a photo ID resulted in a lot of men abusing the system in several ways. Cases where men have another woman pose as his wife, daughter or even sister to get access to benefits or harm female relatives…

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posting from Rome

Saudiwoman's Weblog

I am currently on a family vacation in Italy but I had to post what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent my husband. Apparently they have a new service where they send the male guardian a text every time a “dependent” leaves the country. They don’t state which country the dependent left for but simply state that they did leave. My husband tells me he got the same text when I left for Germany. I am an adult woman that has been earning my own income for over a decade now but according to the Saudi government, I am a dependent till the day I die because of my gender.
Otherwise, I am having loads of fun. yesterday I met one of my readers, Carmen. we had espresso near the Piazza Navona and then she showed me her beautiful shop, Via Dei Banchi Vecchi. It’s a Rome showroom for her…

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English version of piece published in Stern

VERY interesting and from the mouth of one who is living it…

Saudiwoman's Weblog

This is the English original version I wrote and was translated to German and published in the new print edition of Stern magazine no41/2011, out today, Thursday, 6th of October, pages 54-57.

In Saudi Arabia my gender decides whether or not I can enter certain ministries, what I can major in college and if I can name my own child.
My gender mandates that I cannot drive my own car. No matter what age I am or how well I drive, I have to find a male to drive my car.
If I were divorced, a widow or simply had a husband that was out of the country at the time, my gender dictates that I have to find a male relative to obtain a birth certificate and document my child’s name at government circles.
My gender also mandates whether I can freely leave the country or not. As a…

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Divorce in Saudi Arabia

Even after all this time, so difficult for a Saudi woman to get a divorce. But, having said this, things ARE improving, slowly but surely, for Saudi women.

Saudiwoman's Weblog

No matter how many reports you read about the rise in numbers of divorce cases in Saudi Arabia, it still remains a dirty word that Saudis are taught not to even contemplate. For my generation and those younger, there is a growing number who rebel. But for older couples it is still very true. No matter how much they hate each other, divorce is not an option. “Real” men and women never divorce. We are taught in schools that it is the most abhorred by God of all things Islamically permitted. Couples have separate bedrooms on different floors and lead chiefly separate lives and yet are still married. A man might take on a second wife and not see his first except twice a month to pay the bills and buy groceries. He does it because he thinks its manly and the woman stays on and is patient because that’s…

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The child bride of Onaiza

Glad this worked out for this innocent child — too often it does not!

Saudiwoman's Weblog

This story has drawn a lot of press. The girl is from Onaiza which is a part of Qaseem, a central region north of Riyadh. It’s the same place that produced Sheikh Bin Othaimeen and it’s most known for how fanatic and social the people there are about religion. And how the women of families there dress and live is the expression of the whole family’s piousness and honour. Just to give you a flavor of how people think of women over there, I’ll tell you a couple of incidents that I’ve come across when visiting. A relative of mine has a daughter who when she was around ten became quite good with rollerblading and would skate in their tiled big yard all day. Once my relative while watching her daughter skating, it occurred to her that the daughter might fall and seriously injure herself. So out of concern for…

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Princess by Jean Sasson: Book Review

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A Little Something by Arsh Azim

Princess by Jean Sasson- Book Review by Arsh

One of my favorite books so far, Princess is based on a true story of a Saudi Princess who is considered worthless for being a woman beside having all the wealth of the world. It is about the life of Princess Sultana Al Sa’ud who belongs to the royal house of Saudi Arabia. Being a woman is a shame for Saudi Royals and they keep it a secret when they’re born or bury them alive or if not, they are worthlessly caged. These women are considered slaves of their male masters, the youngest ones get married to the old men and are brutally murdered for smallest allegations.

This book is totally heart-wrenching and you’d want to finish it in one go. It took be 4 days to finish it since I had no time, work and all but still every time I opened the book to read it, I didn’t…

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