Saudi Woman Saves Bus Driver By Driving (Illegally)
Saudi Arabia’s ban on female drivers is well-documented and very controversial outside of the conservative country. A woman being unable to drive severely limits her mobility and her ability to live an independent life. Those reasons are used by both sides in the argument to prove why their side is correct, and there seems to be a stalemate in the debate as of right now. This is even after Prince Alwaleed bin Talal voiced his support for an end to the ban last year to support women’s rights. A recent incident in the northwestern city of Hail, however, might help to spur the debate on and perhaps help end the driving ban.
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Ashwaq al-Shamri was coming home from class at the local university with her female classmates on a bus when she heard the driver say that he felt dizzy. The bus then stopped and it was clear there was something very wrong. The classmates helped the driver into the back of the bus to try and figure out what was wrong and cool him off. Shamri was left with no choice but to get behind the wheel herself and drive on the agricultural road so they could get some cold water for the driver. After that, instead of stopping, Shamri determined that the hospital was too far away for her to drive so she instead took the bus to the driver’s house so that the family could rush him in their car for medical help. The driver supposedly suffered a stroke and is expected to make a full recovery.
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When questions were asked as to how Shamri knew how to pilot the bus, her father said that he taught her so that she could help work on the family farm. Her father went one step further to say that he was proud of his daughter for taking action to save a life. There has been no announcement of charges against Shamri for breaking the ban, but there has been discussion that this action could prove to some men that women need to learn how to drive. We shall see if there is any meaningful movement towards automotive freedom to the women of Saudi Arabia in the near future.
News Source: The New Arab