What It’s Like To Be A 20-Something Woman When You’re A Citizen Of Saudi Arabia

via Flickr - Edward Musiak
via Flickr – Edward Musiak

About a month ago, the head of the country’s religious authority said that legalizing cinemas and concerts would ‘open doors to evil.’ If this is so, then the whole world except Saudi Arabia is a ‘sin city’ of creation! To me– and I believe to the whole world– this seems to be just like an evil joke. While many youngsters enjoy their life being happy with their family in a joyful weekend somewhere in a cinema, my family and I have never experienced being together in a place called cinema. It just seems to me like a dream! Sometimes, I just ‘dream a dream’ that we can afford to go outside the country and watch a Hollywood film in a cinema.

There is a committee called the “entertainment committee” in Saudi Arabia that decides on cultural issues in the country. Before a Mufti (Muslim legal scholar) condemned cinema and concerts, the committee had begun paving the way towards establishing several cinemas but as soon as they heard the Mufti’s decree they had to stop.

It is so bizarre that the lives of so many youngsters depend on the decision of just one person that they never voted for. Indeed, people did not vote at all.

Having no cinema is not the only bizarre thing here. Valentine’s Day is another banned joy in Saudi Arabia. Can you believe it? John Niven, Scottish author and screenwriter, once said “non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia can only celebrate Valentine’s Day behind closed doors. Apparently, this has led to a huge black market for flowers and wrapping papers.” It is so embarrassing to live in a country where you cannot celebrate one of the purest aspects of human life; love.

This becomes a further tragedy when you realize that not only can we celebrate Valentine’s Day in Saudi Arabia but men also have guardianship rights over women which allow men to beat them on such a day or any other day. Simply in one word, women are NOTHING in this super-patriarchal country. The House of Saud who administrate Saudi Arabia put protesters in jail when they cry out against such a brutal and cruel rules.

For example, Manal Al-Sharif, a woman who dared to drive a car in 2011 was quickly put in jail by the government. Yes, the government imprisoned a woman because she drove a car in the street.

There are many other human right abuses in Saudi Arabia and many women fear to write about them. I encourage all those other Saudi women all around the globe who have a passion for human rights to express their opinions and feelings and share them with other people so that the world can hear our voice and help us to live like women and young women, not slaves!

“I believe a society will not be free if the women of that society are not free.” TC mark

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