Friday, November 23, 2012

1 step forward, 2 steps back

by Clifford F. Thies

Thanks to technology, Saudi women's male guardians - their father, older brother or husband - are now automatically informed when they leave the country. Many Saudis - men as well as women - mocked the development. According to the France 24 news service, one Saudi tweeted, "Hello Taliban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!"

The incremental reforms of the government, easing the country into modernity while being respectful of the traditional ways, seem undone. We mention the right of women to vote and run for office in the municipal elections of 2015, and the approval of two Saudi girls to participate in the 2012 London Olympics. Maybe some ultra-orthodox persons in the religious establishment do not embrace the policy and this is how they react.

Let us always remember the honor God bestows on us, men in particular but also women, to be guardians of the community and of the vulnerable among us. In exercising this guardianship, we should seek to enable all members of the community to be free, and not to become ourselves the ones who deny freedom to any members of the community.

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