For many years, the alt-right has criticised one of America’s greatest allies, Saudi Arabia, for supposed human rights “failings”. A central allegation, repeated ad nauseum, was that Saudi womyn were not permitted to drive cars. It is barbaric, the alt-right would bleat, that womyn enjoyed so few rights and were deemed “lesser” than men. How could we even think of doing business with such a despotic regime?
Although the actual ‘evidence’ about Saudi womyns’ rights (or lack thereof) technically supported the alt-right’s point of view, we progressives nonetheless defended the Saudi regime. Our central means of doing so was to employ the sophistry of cultural relativity. Privileged white Islamaphobes in the West had no business, we argued, in criticising another culture; it is essential to view the values, customs and beliefs of a foreign culture through the lense of the culture itself, which we are utterly incapable of doing. Just because it would be incredibly sexist and demeaning to ban womyn from driving in the USA, does not necessarily mean it is wrong in a different country.
To be honest, this always felt like a pretty weak argument, which led to all sorts of contradictions and mental gymnastics. This why we preferred instead to shout obscenities, rant a little more, and generally refuse to listen to our opponent. Besides, using the word ‘Islamophobe’ (just like homophobe, racist, sexist or bigot) effectively ended the debate there and then.
What great news it was this morning, then, when we read the accredited press to find that every publication was reporting the same story: Saudi womyn are now allowed to drive! The Guardian reports:
“Less than a day after the royal decree was issued, Saudi women said the shock was still being absorbed across the kingdom, where societal rules are often governed by an inflexible reading of Islamic teachings.
Senior Saudi clerics appeared to be onside, responding with an apparently coordinated series of public statements, aimed at shifting a widely expected conservative pushback.
The commission of top Islamic clerics tweeted:
“May God bless the king who looks out for the interest of his people and his country in accordance with sharia law.”
Dr Abdel-Latif al Sheikh, the former head of the religious police, tweeted: “Women driving is not against sharia and women will choose what best suits them.”
Typical of the alt-right, a number of conservative commentators have employed poor attempts at ‘humor’ in order to mock the Saudi regime, suggesting that Saudi Womyn will be forced to drive in cars equipped with special burkas:
It is not only in the area of driving where Saudi Arabia has excelled recently. The Kingdom is also firmly committed to cutting ties with any state or entity sponsoring ‘terrorism’. Whilst ‘terrorism’ is essentially caused by disaffected lone wolves, Saudi Arabia takes the issue sufficiently seriously to have imposed a series of economic sanctions and other measures against neighboring Qatar. We applaud the Kingdom’s efforts in refusing to deal with countries who are perceived to sponsor terrorism in the West and welcome its initiative. In showing such leadership, Saudi Arabia mirror’s the United States’ own resolve to eschew dealings with countries who abet terrorism.
There are many other efforts – too many to list here – in which Saudi Arabia is presently engaged in order to drag the world into the twenty first century. We are proud to work alongside the Saudi Royal family and to count ourselves as their greatest allies.