In a break from what is certainly becoming an unhealthy obsession with the dazzling drifts of snow buffeting our vistas, I forcibly point you in the direction of Mr Fouad GM and the plight (and fight) of Saudi women against their mahrams:
Despite the appalling state of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, the biggest challenge women face in the conservative monarchy is male guardianship over women. Women cannot travel, gain admittance to a public hospital, live independently or “even buy a phone” without the guardianship and consent of a “mahram.”
Most importantly for single women, they cannot marry without the consent of their guardians. Nevertheless, more women are challenging their guardians in court for “purposefuly turning down marriage proposals” and “forcibly keeping their daughters and sisters single” – a practice known as adhl. [Source]
With almost 800,000 cases a year, adhl is a human rights issue that needs to be put and kept on the agenda.
It never fails to irk that Saudi Arabia, on the basis of its cordial relations with the West, benefits from the blind eye of justice.
Case in point:
Some judges even punish the women themselves for rebelling against their fathers. In one high-profile adhl case, a young single mother, Samar Badawi, sued her father and demanded he be stripped of his guardianship. She fled her house in March 2008 and spent around two years in a women’s protection house in Jeddah, waiting for the court ruling.
In April, she got it — she was sentenced to six months in prison for disobedience. [Source]
This is why the notion of democratization is farcical: conditional equality and immunity following repeated mass abrogations is unacceptable and by staying silent, the West is similarly guilty.
One cannot be merry bedfellows with human rights abusers and sustain a clear conscience.