To think that I’ll be breaking up for the summer a few short months fills me with so much happiness. Nothing against Saudi Arabia, but damn, do I miss England. It’s the little things too – the coffee shops, the walks, the cold, not to mention the basic human rights/freedom.
But more than all of that, I miss not being a walking target simply because I have certain body parts. I miss not having to have a semi heart attack when I realise my leg or my arm is showing, for fear of being hounded by the so-called Religious Police. I miss not having to tune out the whistles, the degrading and sometimes abusive comments. I miss being able to go to the local shop without being thrown looks that could kill from all the men in this supposed men-only zone. I miss not having to rely on taxi’s and favours to get around. For a while, I tuned out the religious part of this country, mostly because I find it to be despicable, but also so that I wouldn’t go bonkers. It’s not really something to discuss, and even if it were, there would be nobody to discuss it with.
I can deal with the fact that women can’t drive, I can deal with covering up what my mama gave me, I can deal with alcohol being strictly illegal, I can deal with the fact that cinema’s, bars and pretty much anything fun is non existant and illegal in this country, I can deal with murder and theft bring punishable by amputation, torture and death (okay, not really but that’s an entirely separate blog post). I can also (with much sadness and depression), deal with the fact that all books go through strict regulation control before entering the country (because sex and violence) and therefore, it is basically a myth buying any books. I can deal with it. I can deal with all of it.
I can’t however, deal with the fact that this country hates women. Literally, they detest us so much. If they only remembered the fact that they came from one. At first I thought, no, they don’t hate women, they’re just old-fashioned. And I was fine believing that for a while, until I stopped blocking things out and realized this country and the men in it for what the really are. The looks they give. Oh, the looks of disgust the men will give a woman for no reason at all. They really don’t like that we’re even out of our houses. When I went to Jeddah a few weekends ago (Jeddah is just lovely btw, it’s so much more relaxed than Riyadh), a man shouted at me and then shouted at the air hostess because his seat number was next to mine. Yeah, for real. I was so confused and shocked at the fuss that he was making because his seat was next to mine. What’s more is that our seats weren’t even directly next to each other, there was an empty seat in between us but that was still too ghastly for him to imagine. It was awful, I wanted to tell him that I don’t have the lurgy’s you know, you won’t die.
It made me feel so crap about it all, ashamed almost. But at what? It’s hard to explain. But at that moment, I realized what the women in this country have ingrained in their minds so young. Just this one situation had me feeling so insecure, out of place and embarrassed to be a woman, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what goes on in the minds of the women who have been dealing with this their entire lives. It’s actually quite terrifying. And unfortunately, they just have to accept it.
Weirdly, a lot of the girls I’ve met here have said that they chose to come and work in Saudia so that they can work on their faith and their religion. Sorry? I just want to set a huge misconception straight. For any of you Muslims out there who might even feel the same way. Just listen.
Saudi Arabia is not, I repeat NOT somewhere to go if you want to “work on your faith/religion” (whatever that even means). It is not a place where you will feel lightened by the light of God or touched by the beautiful ways of the people who reside in the land of Islam. And you’re deluded if you think otherwise.
Lots of parents also think that they’re kids moving to Saudia will sort them out and will put them on the straight and narrow path. HA! Sorry but no. If anything, you will leave this place an alcoholic degenerate because there’s not much to do at all so when you manage to find some illegally brewed anything, you will chug it like you were back in college, and you’ll be pleased about it.
I know that’s all really harsh, but it is the truth on these particular issues. It’s frustrating, so very frustrating at times. When I think about these things, I remember Samantha Jones in Sex and the City when they all go to Abu Dhabi and her bag drops, creating a spill of about a million condoms and this happens:
“YES I HAVE SEX!!! I. HAVE. SEX!!!”
It was a beautiful moment for everyone involved. But you see, the difference between wonderful Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia is that if this happened here, you would either be: arrested, whipped, deported.. I don’t know what else, but I’m sure that’s not all of it.
That was a lot of venting, and it feels good. I know I’ve painted a picture of an evil, horrible and unforgiving land, that’s not the case, it’s only a little bit of the case. It has nice stuff too. I don’t want to ruin the miserable tone of this blog post by saying positive things so maybe that will be my next one…