A new era in Saudi history, say EP women


Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM/ALKHOBAR — Saudis, women in particular, were ecstatic over the Royal Decree that will allow Women to drive in the Kingdom. As the news broke around 10 p.m. Saudi Gazette Bureau here was flooded with calls, mainly from Saudi women seeking confirmation of the news.

At 11.30 p.m. a convoy of cars driven by men but carrying women came out on Ali Ibn Abu Talib Street. They were flashing the victory sign. Al-Khobar beachfront too witnessed a similar scene. Families gathered at Dammam Corniche and congratulated each other on the announcement.

Expatiates too were excited over the announcement and in some areas where Pakistani and Indian families are concentrated, sweets were distributed.

By morning the frenzy and excitement slowed down, but at every shop, supermarket, shopping malls and even on street there was only one issue on everyone’s lips: Women have been allowed to drive.

Leila Habbal, a writer, journalist and also owner of restaurants said, “This is a proud and historical moment in Saudi Arabia. Progression is inevitable and this momentous change was bound to happen since it is a necessity for women to drive. I am overjoyed and filled with gratitude that King Salman made this decision to change the path of history for women. And I am looking forward to a brighter future filled with hope toward Vision 2030. Everyone should be celebrating. I personally cannot stop smiling and am so excited to be part of this.”

An emotional Noora Al-Nayeemi said, “A new chapter has opened in the Kingdom.” She thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman for their vision and understanding of the women’ problem. “Now we will be able to take part in nation building side by side with our brethren,” she said, adding: “Our life will now never be the same. We have freedom and I take this opportunity to assure the King that we will never misuse this freedom and dedicate our effort to the nation.”

Shamsa Al-Hadi has only one sentence to express: “We are free now.”

Deena Al-Habib was absolutely elated. “It is one of the most bold move of King Salman and his deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. It has changed the course of history in Saudi Arabia. Actually it is now that we have entered 21st century.”

Most of the Saudi men welcomed the decision but there were few who were skeptical over the decision. Saleh Al-Humaidan congratulated the King and his Crown Prince for the wise decision calling it a “historical moment in Saudi history. Our lifestyle will undergo tremendous change. Our economy will have positive impact and above all women will be much safer,”

Saeed Al-Qahtani said it was overdue. Now our women have equal opportunity the country will prosper. “He however, warned traffic department to be more vigilant initially. People will take time to accept it.”

Tariq Al-Misfir, though, was among the minuscule group who opposed women driving. “We are still not ready,” was his cryptic remark.

Expatriates too welcomed the move. Shahriyar Khan, a senior business executive said, “The historic decision is a step forward to women’s liberation. This decision will create more jobs. Expatriates too will benefit from this decision.”

Anisa Fatima, welcoming the decision, said, “Our life will undergo drastic change — a change for the better. Welcome to new Saudi Arabia.”