Several years ago, I worked with a group out of Washington, DC – NO WOMEN. NO PLAY. Their efforts were focused on Saudi Arabia and the fact that they had yet to allow women to compete in the Olympics. Still, the country was entitled to participate without any sanctions as was the case with South Africa during the Apartheid era. The terrorists of 9-11 were from Saudi Arabia. It was in working with Saudi dissident Ali al-Ahmed, of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, that I first heard it said, “Terrorists are not Raised by Free Women. Al-Ahmed launched the protest campaign “No Women. No Play” and it worked. In the China Olympics, Saudi did allow women to compete, but we know they are still being held at a menial level in their country. In the article I posted back in July 2012, I noted:
Saudi Arabia has legally declared women inferior to men. According to Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), “Saudi women are considered incapable of managing their own affairs, requiring male permission before receiving emergency medical treatment, traveling, or leaving the home. Moreover, women are not permitted to drive, vote, attend schools for “male specific” fields, or participate in sports.”
Would treating women with even a sliver of respect do anything to build a better world?
This past April 14th, the Boko Haram kidnapped 276 female students from a Nigerian school. Efforts to reach them appeared less than focused. The world responded; the Nigerian government made a half-baked public effort then the girls were all but forgotten.
Had the girls been rescued and the Boko Haram nullified, perhaps today’s massacre of 47 at the Government Technical Science College in Potiskum would not have taken place. Last week, 30 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated. All believed to be the work of the Boko Haram.
Discounting the value of women continues to be a serious error that plagues much of the world. I still can’t stop hearing the echo of my friend Ali al-Ahemed’s insightful words, “Terrorists are not raised by free women.”
Discount women at your own peril.