So, Saudi women will be entitled to vote?

It appears that Saudi Arabia will be allowing women to vote and even run in municipal elections. At first, it looks like a promising step, but then my jaded side comes up.

For starters, most of the REAL decisions in the country are taken by the royal family, and opposition parties are forbidden – in fact, the Economist ranked the country as the seventh most authoritarian country in the world in 2010. There is still no mention of women being allowed to drive a car on public roads (to clarify, there is no written law against it, but they’re not allowed get licenses for it), or overturning the laws on “guardianship”. And don’t forget the whole issue of religious freedom, or rather the utter lack of it. Apostasy (leaving a religion, Islam in this case) is punishable by death.

Imagine if that was the case here in Ireland: my dad would have been executed 35 years ago for deciding to not go ahead with his confirmation at 16. My mum and sister wouldn’t be allowed to leave the house without my dad, or possibly myself or my brother once I became old enough – brilliant idea if it were me! (What’s the colour of sarcasm?)

Come on, Saudi – you’ve moved about an inch closer to the 21st Century, why don’t you move a bit closer by, for example, allowing opposition parties?

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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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