Saudi Arabia stands on the verge of ‘driving change’. The reform, which the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, highlighted in September last year is nearing the date of implementation. The kingdom issuing licenses to the women appears picture perfect. However, ‘driving changes’ on papers won’t do any good to the Kingdom unless the reforms are implemented in reality.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is putting women in the driving seat and so are we” described Vogue Arabia in its June cover, featuring the Ravishing Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah al-Saud behind the wheels of a classic car, parked in the middle of a desert.
However, as Vogue came out with the cover, Twitter exploded over the fact that Vogue Arabia was too afraid to bring forward the activists, who really fought for the reform. One of them even questioned the magazine over the fact and claimed that they didn’t know who should be celebrated while another slammed them by stating that no one would even care to write a report with a photo of the activists who have been jailed.
The first look at Vogue’s cover might mislead and only portray the happiness brought forward by the reforms supposedly taking place in the Kingdom. However, an insight into the royal family’s way of targeting women and other minority groups, reveals why putting a Princess behind the wheels wasn’t an apt choice. Even recently, in the mid of last month, 11 women activists were arrested and put behind the bars. The government of Saudi Arabia then shockingly labelled them as traitors, while having no solid proofs against them and on the other hand celebrated reforming an age-old cultural restraint by allowing the women of Saudi Arabia to drive.
Astonishingly, Saudi is just a few days away from implementing its ‘reforms’ and therefore, it is important that it learns to accept changes, as an ode to its ‘economic modernization’.
Consequently, Saudi Arabia’s government at this time also needs to learn from their past mistakes, which is the only solution to grow as a country. Equally for the publication, which overlooked the efforts of women activists by not giving them any credits, should have thought wisely before taking the action that effected the sentiments of millions around the world.