Nitpicking on Manal AlSharif Oslo speech

First of all I do not hate, and I do participate, but Manal Alshareef’s speech at Oslo, had so many inconsistencies, I just had to say something.

The speech was dramatic, in a storytelling way, but as is the case with dramatic stories, spices were added for dramatic effect.

The bullet holes in the ka’ba due to the siege of makkah, maybe she did see them, but I have to put a few lines under her seeing them during hajj, to ask or be told about them during tawaf in the massive hajj crowed, but I could be wrong, and not that her beloved mother is an authority on what bullets holes look like on the walls of the ka’ba, but hey, a hole in the wall, is probably cause by a bullet…right?

The first song she heard was a backstreet boys song “show me the meaning of being lonely” is a little too melodramatic don’t you think? and fits with the image she is trying to portray, and I do not believe it. Especially that I think she would’ve been around her teenage years and attended her fare share of saudi weddings which have a lot of song and dance (mine did)

Of course Osama bin laden and the mujahideen were heroes in Saudi, and guess what, they were heroes in America also, Ronald Reagan dedicated the launch of a space shuttle to the mujahideen, so we were basically “with the program” with our biggest and best ally, there was nothing wrong with that back then, and we should not be blamed for it by ourselves right now. It is not something of our own making. (Read the Looming Towers)

I said back then that she will be used, and here she is, proving my point.

Understand, I do support the cause, I just don’t like being manipulated, and this is manipulation, when they try to make you think half the truth is the truth, more often than not, half the truth is a lie.

In the end she says Mona asked her how she is so brave, she says, “they messed with the wrong woman”, you know what? even Rosa Parks had civil rights training, and I am sure Manal has some powerful and influential people backing her.

Maybe the ends justify the means, and maybe gaining international support for the cause will help push it, but while the world watches people being massacred in Syria and does nothing, and has been watching the plight of the Palestinian people and did nothing, while taking out Saddam and then Qadhafi like that was the easiest thing in the world when they wanted to, the image is clear, and if you didn’t get it, well then, I envy you.

I am not sure where this fits with SaudiWoman’s (Saudi reaction to Manal Al Sharif’s Oslo Speech) but as is the case with my blog, these are “my thoughts on different things…”



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15 thoughts on “Nitpicking on Manal AlSharif Oslo speech

  1. you know what? i used to passively support the W2Drive campaign, but after speaking to a few who support it, i am totally against it. i am not against women driving, but i am against this current manifestation of the campaign. the major reason is because of how it is couched and portrayed. it is portrayed by saudi women as a human rights issue. i am not saying that the saudi women are manipulated. however it seems that they need a crash course on what is exactly a human right. driving, and i don’t care what language you use or how you phrase it, is not a human right. flog me 100 times for that if you like, i will grab the whip and flog back. the other major reason is who are the campaigners? are they the underclass who need some form of freedom of movement in order to provide for their families? no, it is (again) the privileged fighting for a privilege… this class of people, i will save my description of them, but if you want to know how i feel about them, get on my blog and read up on how foreign maids are treated in Saudi Arabia. THESE are the kind of women that are couching it as a human right.

    Now again i have no problem with women driving. my dear and lovely wife drives a car. my dear and lovely wife however is a 5 time namaazi, knows what are the rights of the underclass, knows how to treat the poor, and the servants, etc.

    if this campaign was led or at least voiced by the underclass and couched in ISLAMIC language, like it is halal, it is not makruh, here is the reason, for example umm-ul-momeneen Hazrat Ayesha raziallahu anha rode her own camel when needed then i would have some sympathy, and i guarantee you even guys i know would have no problem supporting this, but as it stands right now, i would like to throw a pie on their collective faces and tell them this:

    “SHUT UP PLEASE. if you want to speak up about human rights, TALK ABOUT HOW THE VAST MAJORITY OF YOU YOURSELVES DON’T EVEN TREAT YOUR MAIDS LIKE HUMANS. Apologize to them. Work for prisoner’s rights. Work for migrant workers rights, and for ALLAH’s sake don’t ask others to do for you what you should be doing yourself!!!!!!!”

    BTW picking up one’s own garbage is a form of IBADAT

    • Thank you AJB, I agree it is not a humans rights issue, yet they see it as a gateway to freedom, as is the symbol of the car, it more about, being able to go where they want when they want.

      Thanks again

  2. She simply lost her credibility when her “cause” became personal.

    Bravo Qusay!
    You hit a lot of cords.

    A Very insightful, cunning and clever article. 🙂

    Thank you!

    • dear maha, I would have to disagree.. masquerading under the mask of “objectivity” may not be truthful as revealing one’s own motivation and subjectivity..

      “Historic accuracy” aside, there is an element of truth to the “personal details” she has mentioned which were reflective of her own humanity and many of us from that generation. it took a lot of courage to reveal her personal story that was the motivation for her..

      Yes, many of us did grow up with the guilt of listening to music, I vividley remmeber all kinds of artforms being haram, and if not, then a waste of time that we will have to answer god for.. and yes i burnt a lot of drawings for fear of committing “kaba-ir” (the imitation of God’s creation)..

      these (thawat al-arwaah) needed to be burnt or destroyed unless we wanted god to order us to blow the soul into them on the day of judgment and torture us with each soul we have attempted to create..some of my friends even went so extreme as to destroy theior photographs for the very same reason..

      and yes, taliban for many of us were the heroes who stood for the muslim cause thus leading towards the muslim dream.. even after the dream has failed, the death of osama bin ladin has still left a sting in many of us because of that emotional memory attached to the idea of him being the savior of muslims from the humilaition they’re enduring, for he truely was a hero to us at one point..

      and yes i do vividly remember the guilt i felt when parts of me or my voice was exposed to a man.. how we were held accountable for any notion of “fitna” and oh how hell fire was to be filled with women! even though I no longer beleive in much of that, it has for some reason left an impression that effects my relationships with the opposite gender to this day..

      perhaps some of you were skeptics all along, perhaps you never experinced how it to have an extreme religious upbringing, but to those of us who really bought into this whole salafi notion of islam, this was very real, and oh how it came tumbling down with the last shreds of faith..

      • Dear
        Thank Allah i am not a salafi. Um… anyone care to know what I think about Salfi-ism? BTW all this notion of the Taliban and OBL is not what you think. I am not going to go into it right now since this is not the appropriate forum, but let’s just say that I am surprised as to how rampant the notion of what OBL represented to them! I don’t have much against the Taliban, and I would advise you to do some deep research on them.

        • Dear Joe,

          the whole saudi religious wave of the 80s and 90s (cant speak for what happened before i was born) was politicized islam, serving a certain political agenda (i.e. US’s war against USSR, etc).. fueled by the palestenian cause, the only ones who seemed to stand up to the isrealis (and americans supporting them) were the OBL bunch, so it makes perfect sense that many Muslims would look up to them as heros.. yes, they’re one of the few ones who had the gutts to stand up against the big guys who were kicking their butts for a long time..

          at school in the 90s, many of my teachers expressed support for jihadi’s in afghanistan, audio lectures playing out in the market place through loud speakers were talking about the wounds of the muslim ummah, booklets were echoing the same sentiment.. it was in the air and everywhere..

          u cant just throw all that out of the window and say OBL and the jihadis aren’t representing “real islam”.. that polarizing war theme between muslims and kuffar, good and evil, and the promise of heaven and hellfire has its roots in islamic history and religious text (how many ayahs in the quran document that?)..

          yes, now after all these years, we see the bigger picture, we’ve changed our opinions about OBL.. back then, many of us could not see the forest for the trees.. manal had the gutts to admit what she was like in the past in public, and how she’s changed..

          religion is a tool, you make what u wanna make out of it.. be it evil or good.. its a reflection of one’s ownself.. much as it can heal, it can also be a destructive power (just look at all the blood thirsty ppl calling for deaths and execution everytime some1 critsizes religion, example of Hamza?)..
          those aren’t even salafists, some are even self-proclaimed “sinners”.. yet when it comes to shedding blood for the cause of religion they waste no time in joining the herd..

          anyway, my personal and humble opinion is that what manal said about extremism in our country had to be said, no matter how inaccruate she was, the least we can say is that she sparked the begining of a conversation, a reflection of ourselves (or our old ghosts) in the mirror, and we don’t like the pitcture..

          at least its getting people to talk, which is good.. if what she said wasn’t significant, u wouldnt find many ppl ganging up to critisize her, it takes a lot of gutts to throw yourself to the hungry crowds..

          love her or hate her, i’d say she’s making history in our own little country, perhaps even by being a little landmark in the progress happeneing there..

          thank you

          • Dear Sara,
            Actually I CAN say that OBL does not represent true Islam. But i am not going to discuss it much. If you live in KSA you probably understand why. I do ask you a few things. If you are a muslim, and I know at least one Saudi who publicly is, but privately is not, then don’t use the derogatory word jihadi. the word is MUJAHID, or better yet, MUJAHID FEE SABIL-LILLAH. Here is a few things you might want to know before going down the road of telling us how they represented “true islam”. Keep in mind, the land known as KSA was once ruled by Muslims as darulIslam, and a group of people organized with the KUFFAR to kick out those MUSLIMS, in order to grab power for themelves. So from the outset of the name of this country, it was never about “true Islam”. This same group of people now use the great name of Islam to say that the people can not overthrow the rulers.

            Be that as it may, back to Afghanistan there were more than one group of “jihadis” as you like to refer to them. With that in mind, what is the hadis of rasul allah about going to fight in a “jihad” with bad intentions?

            Hadith – Qudsi 6
            The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them. [ The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Quran. He will be brought and Allah will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Quran for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Quran that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man whom Allah had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I left no path [untrodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but do so that it might be said [of you]: He is open-handed. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.

            that being the case, what happened after the soviets ran away from afghanistan with their tails between their legs? if there was proper niyat (true islam) would there have been infighting to see who gets to be the president or prime minister in afghanistan? I am not going to go any further with that, but let me ask you to research a few things. Since i am not saudi, but live in KSA i might be in a more vulnerable position to discuss this. Who are Tim Osmond and Tim Osman? Please compare how Abdullah Azzaam (karmallah wajhu) treated the Afghanis v. that guy from Egypt. Exactly WHEN did OBL die, was it in late 2001/early 2002? or was it when BHO said it? Why was seal team 6 killed?

            I am not blaming you or anyone else, but MOST people are living in a matrix. Even the food you eat isn’t what it seems (unless you buy only natural and organic).

            Now as far as that Kashgari guy, let’s go back to TRUE Islam, that is the Quran and Sunnah of rasul allah. I know what he said, it’s all over the internet. The only thing that I can say Kashghari was at fault with was that he did not show the proper level of respect to rasulallah as the last prophet of Allah and best of all creations. I don’t know of any CLASSICAL (hanafi/maliki/shafi’i) scholar (i mean SCHOLAR not neo-salafist hack job) who would say that warrants a death sentence. I know however how people think here.

            • hi there Joe..

              u made some good points in defense of “true islam” as you call it.. and we could go on but it’ll take forever, so i’ll just leave the topic of OBL and the “mujhaids/jihadis” locked in pandora’s box

              going back to manal’s speech,having lived inside the salafi/wahabi “matrix” as you called it, she did speak about true experiences of living under “extreme version of islam”, and all i care about is that that experience was real to varying degrees to many ppl from her generation..

              i do not deny that dramatic twists/inaccuracies and cutting and pasting were added to suit the narrative in her speech.. afterall, u have to tailor your message to the audience.. but still.. there’s no smoke with no fire.. and there’s definitely a lot of crap going on that needs fixing, it just happened to manifest its self in this symbolic act of driving..

              and i’m curious about why ur angry and asking her to shut up? if it’s not a woman’s right issue than what is it? if a working woman is crippled from movement and cannot carry out her own stuff without a mahram’s approval, then are her rights as a full-citizen not violated?

              each person asks for the betterment of their conditions, and to manal and many others who cant afford or see the need to get a driver, their right is to drive to work and to do their chores on their own..

              as for other women who lack the basic human rights as you noted.. no one’s stopping them from going out to ask for them too..

              but driving and the mahram story remains a way overdue issue, the society chose to make this a problem and chose to be offended by such a normal act of driving.. hence this mess was inevitable..

              • hi,
                i would ask you to go on my blog to see why i am angry at her. you will note that i have not mentioned her at all in my blog. but let me put to you this way. let me paraphrase another hadis. …those who concentrated on nawafil and neglect the fard, need to fear the fire. driving is not a right, it has never been one and it never will be… this “w2drive” movement is being led by the privileged for the furtherance of their privileges.

                now as far as your statement:

                as for other women who lack the basic human rights as you noted.. no one’s stopping them from going out to ask for them too..

                You know I was just shocked to read that statement from you. I am not even sure you even believe what you are writing in that sentence.

                Here are RIGHTS. Let’s see if any of the real life victims are free to ask for those rights back. I would suggest you tell that to:
                1. rizana nafeek here, here, here, and here
                2. Fatima Bent Suleiman Al Azzaz here
                3. Sumaiya Bint Salaam Mustaja here
                4. Ruqaya bint Satubi here

                My wife can drive. I have said that before. She drives when we travel. There is no way I would let her drive here. However she knows what is a right and what is driving. My wife who has the heart of an angel can tell you all about rights, privileges, and misplaced priorities. I am sorry if some of you don’t like what I have to say. I repeat, the moment I see the driving campaign being voiced by the most downtrodden (the women who actually need to drive to get to work) with Islamic justification, then you will see more sympathy for this w2drive. Until, I and a ton of others could care less about the worries of the rich and rocking, whether that be men or women. I would suggest you read my previous response to you and again read this response, once you get it, the problem is solved.

                • well. if u feel there are more important things to do, you can go ahead and do them.
                  you don’t need to waste ur time arguing for how wrong the privileged women are..
                  i don’t think there’s anything else left to say..
                  was good talking to you.

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