November 12, 2006

Tadween.

= blogging, in Arabic.
Young women make up half the bloggers in [Saudi Arabia]... Lured by the possible anonymity of the medium, Saudi women have produced a string of blogs filled with feminist poetry, steamy romantic episodes and rants against their restricted lives and patriarchal society....

When the woman who blogs anonymously under the name Mystique finally shows up for an appointment at Starbucks on trendy Tahlia Street, she seems used to causing a stir....

She orders a Frappuccino, then sits down to talk. "I've been in touch with my sexuality ever since I was 13," she said. "Why shouldn't I write erotic fiction? It's one way of expressing myself."...

But Mystique has received the most scathing criticism for her feminist poetry and religious comments. A question posted on her blog -- "How imperfect can a perfect Creator be?" -- garnered dozens of angry missives calling her an apostate who is besmirching her country's reputation.

"Sometimes I push. I want to show that women are oppressed," she said. The situation "is not normal. I would like people to see that."

14 comments:

David said...

The internet is one more nail in the coffin of Islam! An apostate on Tahlia street sounds like a good book!

You go girl! You are asking the correct questions! I would enjoy immensely a conversation between her and cindy sheehan!

Ann Althouse said...

"one more nail in the coffin of Islam"

My I recommend this passage:

Farhan, whose blog is the most widely read in Saudi Arabia, said he derives his democratic ideals from his religion. Political reform, he said, must come from within Islam.

... Farhan explained that Muslim thinkers hundreds of years earlier had pushed for more freedom of expression, and checks and balances, than exist in the Arab world today.

Slim999 said...

What I'd recommend is that this woman express herself by getting on a plane and leaving Saudi Arabia, because once she is exposed, they will kill her.

She is correct. The situation is "not normal." She lives in a culture that is dominated completely by men.

She does have a choice, however ... to leave that culture and enter one where she is free to express herself, poetically and sexually.

I fear she will meet her death in Saudi Arabia ... for expressing these beliefs.

SteveWe said...

slim999,

Unfortunately, Saudi women do not have the freedom to obtain their own passports.

Zeb Quinn said...

Farhan explained that Muslim thinkers hundreds of years earlier had pushed for more freedom of expression, and checks and balances, than exist in the Arab world today.

I'm at a loss to understand exactly what he has explained to us with that, but it is to some degree instructive about their long term prospects.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Ruth Anne: Yeah, I wasn't going to say it, but most English speakers are going to look at "tadween" and think "small penis." Or is it just me?

David said...

True english speakers would combine blog with ween and come up with "bleen" or, as it is spoken in the west; "BLING!"

That might be a stretch!

Internet Ronin said...

Unless she is a high-ranking princess, my guess is that Mystique will not have a long life. The secret police will see to that.

Ernie Fazio said...

For me the most telling account of the disintegration of Iraqi society has come from the young Sunni woman whose blog ,Bagdad Burning http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com, is very personal and heartfelt.The recent carnage has depressed and stilled her, but she recently commented on the Saddam death sentence. Her motto, "I'll meet you round the bend, my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend" is her chilling anthem for humanity.

Slac said...

Oh I love it! I love it!

This brightened my day. :)

Jimmy said...

"Unless she is a high-ranking princess, my guess is that Mystique will not have a long life. The secret police will see to that."

Being a princess has no protection. Princess Misha'al, a 19 year old Saudi princess was publicly executed by the royal family in 1977 for having a lover.

For more info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misha%27al_of_Saudi_Arabia

Daryl Herbert said...

A blog like that will excite Saudi men.

If her blogging brings harm to her, won't it be her own fault?

If someone rapes her because of what she's written, couldn't she have prevented it by not writing in the first place?

Sydney said...

"If she's raped, won't it be her own fault?" Seriously???!!! -- Congratulations Daryl! I hear that a certain country in the mideast is offering you honorary citizenship because they feel you'd fit right in with their cultural values (you know, circa Ottoman Empire or so...) and might not really belong in Western civilization.

I mean right. Let's just go ahead and discourage women who have been subjected to the one of the most repressive environments in the world to stay in the dark and resist the impulse to assert themselves. To remain meek. To say nothing. To resist becoming independent. You know, out of fear.

I can't believe Americans would would advise anyone else to basically just "shut up and take it" and if you don't and someone hurts you, it's your "fault." Apparently this young woman isn't as much of a wuss as you are, Daryl.

And about this being another nail in the coffin, etc. The construct of treating women unfairly, and of hurting and raping them is NOT Islamic. The veil isn't Islamic, but was brought in later by Turks who colonized Saudi Arabia, and truly - should be rejected due that (in my view). Women, in fact, fought alongside Mohammed, so Saudi Arabia's strict segregationalism is difficult to understand.