Electronic tracking: new constraint for Saudi women

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Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.


Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.

The husband, who was travelling with his wife, received a text message from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh.

“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.

The move by the Saudi authorities was swiftly condemned on social network Twitter — a rare bubble of freedom for millions in the kingdom — with critics mocking the decision.

“Hello Taliban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!” read one post.

“Why don’t you cuff your women with tracking ankle bracelets too?” wrote Israa.

“Why don’t we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?” joked another.

“If I need an SMS to let me know my wife is leaving Saudi Arabia, then I’m either married to the wrong woman or need a psychiatrist,” tweeted Hisham.

“This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” said Bishr, the columnist.

“It would have been better for the government to busy itself with finding a solution for women subjected to domestic violence” than track their movements into and out of the country.

Written By: Assaad Abboud
continue to source article at google.com

18 COMMENTS

  1. This would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so tragic. It’s hard to understand how the people who make these rules can do it with a straight face. Did the authorities responsible for this policy really think “Hey, what a suberb idea! Today we did a great job.”

  2. Well, just think of it this way, if you had negotiated to “purchase” a wife, a female who you’ve probably never even met,   and who has never been let out of the house on her own, never been on a date with anyone, can’t drive or stroll through the mall with friends, wouldn’t you be worried too?  These women are assigned to mate with men that they didn’t choose and they could find themselves coerced into participating in sex every night with a guy that they find repulsive to them. If there weren’t draconian measures to keep them in their places then the whole system would collapse. You would suspect every single male around you of catching her eye and finding favor with her.  She didn’t choose you in the first place.  She could easily find any other guy more attractive, more amusing, smarter, richer, etc. 

     If in some fantasy world the borders were opened and resident visas were offered to these women so they could start over again in the free West, it would be a stampede exodus!

    This is nothing less than sexual, reproductive and domestic slavery.  

  3. I am disappointed that adherents of the perfect religion have to rely on western technology.  I would have thought that some special incantation would have emerged to deal with the curse of women who deliberately blight the lives of pious muslims. This should be especially true of a religion that proliferates ideas that technological advancement is unnecessary. If they are so concerned about their women wandering off unattended into gaze of other creepy misogynistic raping infantile imbeciles they should have something more in keeping with the 8th century like a ball and chain.  They go well with a burka.

  4. Apologies for some of my off-message comments, now deleted, suggesting that the KSA might not *always* be as bad as the popular conception.

    ‘Wars’, ideological or otherwise, are rarely won without an appreciation and understanding of the other side’s beliefs. The finest negotiators I have met are those who effortlessly put themselves into the other chap’s shoes.

    How many of the commenters/moderators on here have actually been to Saudi Arabia?  I suspect not many.

  5. Comments are never removed for being “off-message”. Frankly, we welcome insights from people who know what they are talking about.

    Only one of your comments was removed, so far as this mod is aware, and that was for being a flippant and sexist contribution to the discussion.

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