A short time ago I ran across a news story about Saudi Policewomen making a raid on a drug den. The first paragraph of the article was all that was available, I was not able to access the “rest of the story.” Each time I tried clicking the Read More link I sat for several minutes while waiting to access it. There was a related article from last fall however that I was able to read about the Kingdom debating whether or not to have policewomen. A couple of days later I decided I might want to write about this, as one of my son’s is a policeman in the states and it is quite interesting to me as to how a woman in the Kingdom would go about becoming a policewoman here. There are enormous obstacles she might have to overcome to get this job. Jobs for women here are few and far between and the comments I read really were not too favorable for this happening. But lo and behold neither article were available at all just two days later! There was no hint of these articles anywhere on the internet! What had happened??? Well I did finally find that same opening paragraph about the policewomen making a drug raid in an archived police blotter on the internet hosted outside of the middle east but of course again all that was available was that one paragraph and you can’t access anything more. Was it all a hoax? Is that why it has suddenly disappeared? Or is it that the program has been discontinued because of a possible backlash? Men here would never allow themselves to be arrested, much less even be touched by a female officer however if the drug den was run by women I suppose that would be handy to have policewomen but it seems unlikely that was the case. It is possible I suppose the story was removed because generally you do not hear anything about drugs and drug use in the Kingdom. Women are not allowed to speak to any man who is not a relative so how would it even work for a woman to be a part of a police force in the Kingdom? They also have to be accompanied always by their male guardian so I am not sure how it works at all for women to work here, other than perhaps they only need be accompanied to their workplace. Some professions that would be quite dangerous such as being a policewoman I doubt seriously are being allowed, as the main point of having male guardians and all the restrictions on women are supposed to be to protect them from any unwanted advances and criminal advances towards them. Women being allowed to work in the Kingdom is a fairly new thing in these times though in times past women here did work. I don’t know when exactly that all changed but expat women I have met here and others I have read their blogs have stated they did not have to wear an abaya to go out and there were women employees in stores. These days, I have noticed the make-up counters that are now being served by women employees are walled off by some manner such as a frosted glass wall or complete walls with signs on the doors stating it is a women’s only shop and no men allowed. Even where women are being allowed to be grocery cashiers there is a wall of separation between where there are men cashiers and women cashiers so there will be no possible mixing of the sexes in the workplace. As to Saudi Policewomen, I can only assume that if there were any, perhaps they have discontinued the program or they simply do not want it publicized. It is virtually impossible now to find any reference to this online, at least for me living in the Kingdom.
Last week was a landmark when it was announced Saudi women and girls are now allowed to ride bicycles and motorbikes in the Kingdom. Of course there are rules they must abide by such as having to be accompanied by their male relative or guardian, be dressed in the abaya and only for recreational use, not for transport. It may not seem like much of a landmark to some but for others, it means an end to harassment they have encountered trying to ride these in recreational areas in the past.
Haifaa al-Mansour is a Saudi film director, the first woman, indeed person, ever to make a commercial film in Saudi Arabia; a country which does not allow movie theaters. “Wadjda: A Girl Who Dreams To Ride A Bicycle,” is a film about a young Saudi girl who dreams of owning her own bike and racing it against the boys in her neighborhood. The movie highlights the fact that riding bicycles in Saudi is often thought of as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. Saudi society places a very high value on virtue and the protection of it. That being said however, most of the world thinks differently about how to protect virtue and leaves much of the say in that up to the girl’s parents or a woman herself. This country is playing a game of catch up in many ways with the rest of the world because it has not until recent years had access to the outside world, particularly as regards media of all kinds, that we in the west have taken for granted for many years. It was my great-grandmother’s generation who took to riding bicycles and the women’s suffragette movement. The bicycle was one of the important steps in leading the way into that movement and all of women’s rights. I do think this announcement from the PVPV was a landmark in Saudi Society in general and a step forward for women, in spite of the fact it is still quite restrictive. Many other steps forward have already been taken as well. It was in the fall of last year, 2012, that women in Saudi were granted the right to vote in upcoming elections and the King appointed women to the Shoura Council that makes policy for Saudi Arabia. Saudi women participated in the last Olympics for the first time ever! I think and certainly hope the next few years will be full of landmarks for women’s rights in Saudi. Even if there are baby steps, at least they are a step forward!
My mother sent me this email today and I wanted to pass it on as well. My mother, sister and I visited this site at Christmas a few years ago. It truly is an inspirational place to visit! It is even more special to my mother because the son of a friend of hers is one who did a lot of the metal work at this site. Her friend, who has since passed away, was very proud of his son for working on this project.
I wanted to share the pictures of this fantastic place and the inspirational words from this email. Happy Easter 2013!
IN A TOWN CALLED GROOM, TEXAS
There is always someone stopped here to visit, pray, or meditate.
Trucks, buses, or single vehicles. Groom is a tiny town on I-40,
But it gets lots of visitors because of this.
This is about 70 miles from Amarillo outside of town
called Groom, TX.
Read message at the end of pictures! These are the
pictures of the crucifixion of Christ, Sculptured from
metal by a man near Amarillo , TX . The crosses are made
of metal also. The man did this out of the kindness of
his heart. Someone donated the land on which to erect them.
IN CHEMISTRY, HE TURNED WATER TO WINE.
IN BIOLOGY, HE WAS BORN WITHOUT THE NORMAL
IN PHYSICS, HE DISPROVED THE LAW OF GRAVITY
WHEN HE WALKED ON WATER AND THEN LATER,
ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN.
IN ECONOMICS, HE DISPROVED THE LAW OF DIMINISHING
RETURN BY FEEDING 5000 MEN WITH 2 FISHES &
5 LOAVES OF BREAD.
IN MEDICINE, HE CURED THE SICK AND THE BLIND
WITHOUT ADMINISTERING A SINGLE DOSE OF DRUGS.
IN HISTORY, HE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END.
IN GOVERNMENT, HE SAID THAT HE SHALL BE CALLED
WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, PRINCE OF PEACE.
IN RELIGION, HE SAID NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER
EXCEPT THROUGH HIM;
SO, WHO IS HE?
HE IS JESUS!
JOIN ME AND LET’S CELEBRATE HIM; HE IS WORTHY.
THE EYES BEHOLDING THIS MESSAGE SHALL NOT
THE HAND THAT WILL SEND THIS MESSAGE TO
EVERYBODY SHALL NOT LABOR IN VAIN.
AND THE MOUTH SAYING AMEN TO THIS PRAYER
SHALL SMILE FOREVER.
REMAIN IN GOD AND SEEK HIS FACE ALWAYS. AMEN.
IN GOD, I’VE FOUND EVERYTHING!
The Greatest Man in History Jesus had no servants,
yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
He had no army, yet kings feared Him..
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crime,
yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today. I feel honored
to serve such a Leader who loves us! If you believe in God and in Jesus Christ His Son,
you may wish to send it on….
“My scales lie!” My friend emailed me frustrated about what her bathroom scales had to say! I know just how she feels too! When I stepped on my scales this morning, my first thought was, “my scales lie!” It really just has to be some kind of weird computer type virus that infects only bathroom scales, surely I can’t have gained that much in the short amount of time since I last weighed! Hmm, I thought to myself, perhaps I will fix my hair and go for a walk and think about it. Can’t hurt to go for a quick walk now can it? As soon as I stepped out the door I realized the March winds are blowing like crazy today and of course so is the dust here in Saudi. Oh boy! Should have remembered to always carry a dust mask with me when I walk here. And so much for having fixed my hair! Not that it matters anyway, but you know we all seem to be obsessed with our appearance thesse days. Which brings me back to the very reason I was walking, and that was to think about how to “kill” this virus that seems to be affecting both my friend’s scales and mine as well. In the good old days we would just say these scales aren’t weighing accurately and there was a little dial like a gear under the scales and you could set it back to before the 0 and it would “read accurately” again; a very easy fix! But of course these days all the bathroom scales seem to be digital so it’s not so easy to fix them where they read like you want them to. They are supposed to be accurate, but how can this be?! I see many more walks (and dust masks maybe) in my immediate future!
Palm Sunday is a very special day, evoking memories of marching up and down the aisles at church as a child waving palms. The children always love this Sunday at church, it means also that Easter soon will be here! As an adult I came to fully understand the significance of this day and the triumphal entry into Jerusalem Jesus made that day. How quickly everything changed afterwards though! Our lives are often like that, a wonderful triumph occurs and then before you know it, everything changes. I am so thankful that I have had the lessons learned from childhood that were from the wonderful examples of Jesus and many others in the Bible. The greatest triumph of all was yet to come on Easter Sunday morning when Jesus walked out of the tomb! He is my rock and my redeemer! Whatever the ups and downs of life, we also can have that final triumph, hand in hand with our Saviour!
I added some newsfeeds in the right hand menu that have news from Saudi and Bahrain. It isn’t all like the news you might see elsewhere in the world. The culture and laws here are quite different so I thought it would be interesting to have those posted. I have also added a few photo’s but will try and work on getting more put on there. Because of the file size constraints I must process photo’s down to a size that can be uploaded. This site is a work in progress but I’m getting there!
I’ve lived in Saudi Arabia for the past 4 years. It has been a very interesting experience! Life here is quite different from life at home in Oklahoma. Here I am not allowed to drive so I have to ride the shopping bus from our compound, take a taxi or wait until my husband is off from work to take me shopping or out anywhere. All women are required to wear the black abaya covering the entire body from the neck down. It’s kind of like having to wear a long black coat, and I must have it on to go outside the compound. Inside the compound western women can wear normal clothing and of course we have our normal clothing on underneath the abaya when we go out. I always carry a skarf with me to cover my head if need be, but generally Western women do not cover the head. In the winter time it’s not so bad because the temperatures can get chilly here. We live near the coast of the Arabian Gulf so it can even be humid at times. Summertime temperatures do get very hot and I try to make my visits back home during the hottest times to avoid the heat. My husband and I enjoy just driving around this area, admiring all the beautiful and different architecture of th is region. We love to go to Bahrain and visit but there has been a lot of trouble over there so we always are on our guard when we go anymore. Still we haven’t let it stop us from driving across the Causeway to Bahrain and go shopping and visiting our friends who live there! There is a very rich heritage and culture in this area, many wonderful things to do and see and we are still enjoying being here, most of the time anyway!
I have been working on changing my website to something more easily maintained. I have used WordPress before as well as Joomla and written pages in HTML code in years gone past but I haven’t done much with webpage designs in awhile so I’m finding the learning curve a bit more than I thought it would be. I hope you’ll bear with me as I find out more about this later version of WordPress and get my website in order! Thank you for your patience!