A facebook campaign launched in Saudi Arabia is urging men to beat women who are caught driving. The page already has 6,000 “likes.”...I'm a bit freaked out by this. When did that Facebook page start? Because I'd never heard of it before this morning. I'd heard of Manal al-Sharif's campaign, which involved a Facebook page, and my reaction, written Tuesday morning, included a hypothetical in which a Saudi man starts a Facebook campaign calling on men to beat women drivers. I wrote:
"The call comes as activists are demanding the release of Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi woman who was jailed for defying the ban."
Isn't the real question is whether women should be allowed to drive, not whether organizing on Facebook incurs harsher punishment when you commit a crime? Think about some other crime — some crime that obviously should be a crime. I hesitate to describe a crime, but let's say some Saudi man thinks women who drive should be dragged out of their cars and beaten. He sets up a Facebook page to promote that opinion and gets 12,000 supporters. Then — twice — he drags a woman out of a car and beats her. Now, he is arrested. Let's say that in Saudi Arabia men who beat women for driving are normally just asked to promise not to do it again. Would you object to making an example out of the man who used Facebook?Note that I hesitated to describe this crime, because I did not want to give anyone any ideas. I'm not saying I think the new Facebook is a result of my suggestion. I'm just saying I'm freaked out by the coincidence.