A week ago, a Saudi mother drove her car in Jeddah to take her kids to their school. On May 22, 2011, another Saudi woman, Manal Al-Sharif, drove her car with the famous Saudi women rights activist Wajeeha Al-Huwaider sat beside her and her brother and son in the back seats. The day before, Al-Sharif had posted a video of herself driving on YouTube.
Manal Al-Sharif was arrested, then released on bail, but later on the police arrested her from her house at midnight once again.
Twitter has been awash with netizens writing about this new heroine, whom some have described as another Rosa Parks (a famous activist of the African American civil rights movement).
Saudi blogger Ahmed Al-Omran (@ahmed) wrote:
Saudi tweep Omar Johani (@omar9944) wrote a tweet last night commenting on what Al-Sharif had done:
Famous Egyptian columnist and activist Mona ElTahawy (@monaeltahawy) tweeted on the case of Manal last night, and she retweeted several opinions that stressed that the time for women empowerment has came to Saudi Arabia:
She has also criticized the enemies of women rights in Saudi Arabia saying:
Fouz Abdullah (@FouzAbd), a young Saudi female tweep, wrote about Manal and women's legitimate right to drive through her Twitter account, warning [ar] the religious police of their war against women:
لا نحتاج الى وصي او رقيب لكي نحافظ على عفتنا وشرفنا. ارحلوا #haya'a
Kuwaiti female tweep, Rana Al-Abdulrazaq (@ranati01) , also showed solidarity with Manal Al-Sharif saying [ar]:
ما قامت به منال الشريف اليوم هو شجاعة حقيقية .. امرأة تصارع ارثا مثقلا من الجهالة والموروث الذكوري المجحف
Another Saudi woman, Nawwarah Ashad (@@nawwarah82), mocked the societal statement that claims Saudi women are “queens” so they should not be working or driving but kept and served at home:
@nawwarah82: how am i a #queen in saudi when a queen “rules” a country while i can't even vote on a municipal election & need a guardian to rule myself!
Egyptian tweep, Maha Hosny (@Maha114411), wrote about the importance of what Manal has done, before she was arrested again, saying:
منال خرجت من السجن بس دخلت التاريخ و هى فعلا تستحق الاحترام و لن يضيع حق وراءه مطالب ده ابسط الحقوق فى ايه؟؟ #manalalsharif
Another Saudi tweep, Abdulaziz Al-Alami (@AzizAlAlami), commented on Manal's arrest:
Another Saudi tweep, Heba Al-Butairi (@H_eba), who has been active online lately for the rights of Saudi women, wrote about Manal saying:
@H_eba: #FreeManal Took a turn from the oppressive to the INSANE! Dragging her out of of her house in the middle on the night? She's not a terrorist
Another Saudi female online activist, Khuloud Al-Fahad (@Khulouds) showed support for Manal Al-Sharif:
القبض على منال بهذه الطريقة هو لإرهابنا من الخروج للقيادة وتخويف أولياء أمورهن وبث الرعب في نفوسهم لكن ماقامت به منال خلق مليون منال
Saudi novelist Badriya Al-Bishir (@badryahalbeshr) also tweeted to show support for Manal and criticize her arrest:
من الذي خالف؟ منال خالفت القانون أم القانون خالف منال؟ وكيف يستوي قانونا لا يساوي بين المواطنات والمواطنين