A Saudi Woman Speaks

A Saudi woman has written a letter to the Jerusalem Post that just might force us obstinate Westerners to rethink our assumptions about the land of Mecca and Medina. Maybe we’ve been a little keen on the propaganda, and Saudi Arabia isn’t so bad after all! From the letter:

We do have a choice on who to marry. You do realize we live in the 21st century?! Both my sisters and brother knew their spouses before they were married, and I come from a relatively religiously committed family.

Hmmm. You don’t say. Well, what about that Saudi prohibition on all other religions thing?

It makes sense not to allow another religion to be practiced in such a sacred place. As far as I know there is no mosque in Vatican City. I respect the fact that it is a sacred place for a religion, and I would expect to receive the same respect from others about my country.

You know, I never thought of it that way. Say, you’re pretty smart. Where did you learn to reason like that?

As for our education, it is well on its way to becoming one of the best in the world. We have a wide range of opportunities. The college I attend has marketing, accounting, media, nursing, special education, electrical engineering, architecture, management, finance, and psychology.

I have to admit, that’s an impressive list. Can you attend these classes on your own?

. . .contrary to what people assume, we are allowed to leave the house. Even without our brothers or fathers. It is a cultural choice whether a mother of father permit their daughters out without male supervision. Perhaps one in 15 families take a stringent position.

Not bad odds. So, women live pretty decent lives there, huh?

Our way is our choice. Nothing is forced upon us.

I guess not. Thanks for clarifying things.

One day my country will rise and shine above all, and I am sure when that happens the world will suddenly want to befriend us.

Why wait? I want to befriend you right now. How can I get in touch with you? Wait . . .what’s this?

Editors note: The writer asked that her full name be kept in confidence.

Yep, life for women in Saudia Arabia seems pretty great. What with all the identity-concealing for fear of reprisals and whatnot.

Google+ Print

A Saudi Woman Speaks

Must-Reads from Magazine

The Trump Right’s Martyrdom of Kim Guadagno

Too many martyrs make a movement.

If the GOP is to be converted into a vehicle for politicians who evince Donald Trump’s brand of pragmatic center-right populism, Trump will have to demonstrate his brand of politics can deliver victories for people other than himself. Presidential pen strokes help to achieve that, as do judicial appointments. Nothing is so permanent, though, as sweeping legislative change. On that score, the newly Trumpian Republican Party is coming up short. If the passive process of transformational legislative success fails to compel anti-Trump holdouts in the GOP to give up the ghost, there is always arm-twisting. It seems the Republican National Committee is happy to play enforcer.

Google+ Print

The Conservative Crack-Up, 2017 Edition

Podcast: Conservatism in shackles while O.J. goes free?

On the second of this week’s podcasts, I ask Abe Greenwald and Noah Rothman whether the health-care debacle this week is simply a reflection of the same pressures on the conservative coalition Donald Trump saw and conquered by running for president last year—and what it will mean for him and them that he has provided no rallying point for Republican politicians. And then we discuss OJ Simpson. Give a listen.

Google+ Print

Macron’s Terrorism Idiocy

Hyperbole yields cynicism, not the other way around.

Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron surprised almost everyone when he invited President Donald Trump to celebrate Bastille Day with him in Paris, especially after the two leaders’ awkward first meeting in Brussels in May. After all, between now and then, Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and Macron has become perhaps the most vocal critic of Trump among European leaders.

Google+ Print

Trump Quietly Gives Putin What He Wants

Quid pro quo?

Until now, the notion that Donald Trump was providing Russia and Vladimir Putin with concessions at the expense of U.S. interests was poorly supported. That all changed on Wednesday afternoon when the Washington Post revealed that Donald Trump ordered his national security advisor and CIA director to scrap a program that provided covert aid to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

Google+ Print

Voters in the Age of Affect

Is it Trump's posture, or is it simpler than that?

Though it enjoys a level of political dominance unseen since the 1920s, the Republican Party’s agenda is stalled. Yet, despite their failure to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Republicans are damned like Sisyphus to keep trying. Republican office holders must now administer health care’s taxes and subsidies, and the rest of the GOP agenda cannot advance without freeing up the revenue dedicated to the administration of ObamaCare. A dysfunctional, one-party Congress led by an unpopular neophyte in the Oval Office should precipitate a backlash among voters. But that outcome is far from certain. Ubiquitous surveys and studies dedicated to uncovering the mystery that is the curious and contradictory Trump voter suggests that this may indeed be a new political epoch.

Google+ Print