- By Kedar PavgiKedar Pavgi is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy.
Saudi King Abdullah has had a busy week. First was his slow-motion legalization of women’s suffrage this past Sunday. Today, there’s news that the sentence of 10 lashes for a woman convicted of the crime of driving while female has been revoked by the king.
The AFP reports:
Saudi King Abdullah has revoked a sentence of 10 lashes imposed on a woman for breaking the ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom, a Saudi princess said Wednesday on her Twitter account.
"Thank God, the lashing of Sheima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved King. I’m sure all Saudi women will be so happy, I know I am," said Princess Amira al-Taweel, wife of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
"In tough times we stand together; in good times we celebrate together," the princess said. "I’m proud to be Saudi. To all Active Saudi women thank u for ur efforts."
Several months ago, a video surfaced on the Internet of a woman protesting the ban by driving and posting her commentary as she did it. While that did not cascade into the wider changes that have been associated with the Arab Spring, the subsequent protests were a cultural earthquake that had many within the kingdom questioning the meaning of this movement. As FP‘s Simon Henderson reported on Monday, Saudi Arabia is facing multiple challenges in the coming future, one of which is the cultural direction of the country.
David Kenner is the Middle East editor for Foreign Policy.| Passport |