Saudi Arabia: A Generational Divide

This weeks readings were very informative on the variety of groups and happenings in Saudi Arabia. The reading was very well organized with its content and structured in the way it presented its informative. The piece was very relevant to today’s happenings and contains a great amount of details on the regime. I really enjoyed reading the piece and liked how it had focus on human rights.

The scholarly piece also talks about the rest of Kashgari, and those who were for and against his believes and actions. Towards the end of the piece, it mentions that the majority of supporters were the younger generation, even though they disagreed with his conclusion. The younger generation had intellectually understood what Kashgari wanted to do as far as freedom and liberation. The togetherness was evident in the amount of signatures that came together for Kashgari. It is mentioned that over two thousand six hundred were conducted, which included both male and female. the coming together of this generation is an example of ways in which media and a collective group effort has came together to make a difference. I found this piece of information to be very important because it does take a collective effort in order to make a change, and some of the most long-lasting campaigns must have require to have a strong foundation with a group of individuals who will go on to fight and preserve the legacy and change they stand for.

The piece also continues to mention that there is a strong divide between the younger generation and the older generation. This too was exemplified through the group of individuals who were for and against Kashgari. The divide of the generations can show a lot about the dissonance in the particular generation’s believes. The idea that there is a difference in thought between each generation can show the progression of the evolution of the thinking with the younger kids growing up. It shows that the way in which kids interact with society has changed, and the way parents raise their kids has changed, as well as the idea’s the new generation has adopted and agreed on.

I believe that wit the collectiveness of the people, the fight for the better in these countries will continue to happen, and with time there will continue to be a great deal of progression in each and every aspect the people continue to fight for.

Saudi Arabia: A Generational Divide

Media Activism in Saudi Arabia

It was interesting to read how different groups within a nation can influence groups of power such as the regime and inspire others to rise. Media, specifically social media, has allowed a population of young activists to rise. These activists range from 20`s to early 30`s and stand with different groups within Saudi Arabia. Although the article contained a lot of details that broke down the political perspective of Saudi Arabia I was surprised there wasn’t more details that directly addressed the Women2Drive issue although they did tie in women briefly, but it mainly focused on the pressure put on the regime to change. The use of media has allowed not only for these groups of protestors to exchange ideologies, but also as a communication device to gather together and essentially keep their “campaigns” alive and updated to the public. Although the groups had different individual goals they all had the similar goal of getting the regime to do something for the people of Saudi Arabia.

Media Activism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Islamist & the Arab Spring

In the reading by Stephanie Lacroix, we learn about a variety of social activist groups and how they continuously reformed, even though the Regime would shut them down. Some of the earlier movements started in the 1970’s and defied the royal families. One of the larger, well known movements was the of the Sunnic Islamic movement, also known as the Sahwa. They protested and lead many of them to be imprisoned. The movement eventually split into two different groups, one which focused on “society” issues and the other on “political change”.

If we look at movements in more current times, it is easy to see how much technology advancements have impacted social media movements. Lacroix explains in her journal, “the young themselves were becoming more actively politicized” through the new media platforms such a Twitter and Facebook. Thus, opposing a new threat to the Regime and demonstrating the ongoing issues in Saudi Arabia. A number of Sahwa activists were able to establish the Kingdoms first political party, known as the Islamic Umma Party. As a result of, allows people to question the royal families power and the government system they have in their State.

Throughout the piece, I am able to see how social movements create a new threat to the Regime. Not just by it being virtually available, but because it was easier to get people together to protest. The more people are able to see the problems they have in Saudi Arabia, the more effective their movements will be. I feel there are still too many things left to be acknowledged and gradually changed but these changes have been embedded since the 1970’s. There will be a change, if not know, there is hope for tomorrow. As Lacroix states towards the end of her article,”Though the royal family has undoubtedly won the first round of the game, it could therefore experience more challenges to its authority in the not-so- distance future.”

Saudi Islamist & the Arab Spring

Reformation of the Saudi Constitution and Islamists Social Media

The article Saudi Islamists and the Arab Spring by Stéphane Lacroix, addresses the influence of revolutionary protest and deadly repression. The article does an impressive job applying contextual knowledge to research. Lacroix’s writings discussing the Saudi Arabian royal family’s response to the Arab Spring is narratively written and well balanced on the development of the Arab revolutions’ Saudi Arabian interests. I think Lacroix made some really insightful representations of both sides. With Saudi Islamists playing a pivotal role in the new political generation of Saudi youth, the importance of the subject was received in respect to the prevailing religious and cultural experiences. I found the information presented by Lacroix, establishes a curvilinear between oppositions within reach of resolve. However, even-tempered as the opinions may seem the unification of ideas is further from the truth.

The current debate within Saudi society, is introducing a whole new perspective on the significance of the Sunni Islamist Sahwa movement in the Saudi Arabian political environment. The Sahwa, meaning the Islamic Awakening, is infusing the pervading social movements of the Saudi youths with strong social and political protests against the royal family. However, these demonstrations have been severely met with heavy resistance from religious detractors. The revolutionary stance by Saudi Islamists on the social activism of Saudi youth and the disparaging political oppositions against constitutional reformists have been strongly influenced by the development and use of social media in Saudi Arabia.

Through communication and technology, both Saudi youths and reformists were able to grow convincingly influential by politically challenging the traditional authority of Saudi government. Intellectually funding the legitimacy of their social activism, young reformists developed an extension of their political positions, through demonstrative writing and academic pursuit. Three separate petitions for reform, represented by the different activist groups, were effectively influential on the overwhelming religious authority among the Saudi public. However, by taking both an economically supportive stance in favor of funding Saudi society and then subsequently incarcerating the youth movement’s most influential activists, the Saudi government furtively discredited the accomplishments of Islamists further dividing Saudi society by minimizing the issues.

Reformation of the Saudi Constitution and Islamists Social Media

Urgency for Change in Saudi Arabia

“No Spring in Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Seemingly Impossible Revolution”

by Stéphane Lacroix


“Revolutions happen when deep and serious reform is absent… People don’t provoke revolutions, only repression, oppression, corruption, backwardness and poverty provoke revolutions”

“People here, like people around the world, have demands, longings and rights, and they will not remain silent forever when they are denied all or some of them”

“When one becomes hopeless, you can expect anything from them”

-Salman al-‘Awda



Stéphane Lacroix’s “No Spring in Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Seemingly Impossible Revolution,” touched on a lot of important topics regarding Saudi Islamist and the Arab Spring. Even though the reading did not touch on the #Women2Drive campaign in Saudi Arabia, I wanted the focus of my blog post to be on this topic.

So why can’t women drive in Saudi Arabia? In all actuality, there is no written law that states that women cannot drive. There is literally no reason and no law that says that women should drive. The absurdity and ideals of this ban is demonstrated by a conservative Saudi Arabian judicial advisor, Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan, who commented, “If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards. That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees.” Obviously, there is no medical studies to support his argument or we would all have clinical problems, assuming all our mothers drive.

All in all, I feel this is an extremely important campaign in Saudi Arabia because it is opening a discussion on the problems in Saudi Arabia, specifically to basic human rights for women. The fact that women cannot drive in Saudi Arabian is absolutely bizarre. Women can’t drive, even though they want to. But this restriction goes deeper than just driving, it touches on basic rights that affect women’s ability to work, travel and live a normal and free life. It’s evident that there needs to be change in Saudi Arabia, especially because of the fact that women are not real and full participants of society.


Urgency for Change in Saudi Arabia

Constitutional Reformists & Saudi Arabia


Most Arabs would agree that Saudi Arabia needed change without thinking the issues and drastic measurements that needed to be partaken. Before 2011, constitution reformist in Saudi Arabia have receive extreme punishments from the regime. A major penalty occurred in February 2007, during the release of a petition signed by many activists. The ten leading members of the movement were arrested. Many of them were important figures to the Sahwa’s intifada in the 1990s. This caused them to establish the first completely  independent Human Rights non-governmental organization (NGO) known as (SCPRA).

SCPRA was able reach out to others through the internet which was considered a huge mistake. The internet gave constitutional reformists the ability to connect with a wide range of other people, many who ranged in age and obtain different ideas. Through Facebook, many of the constitutional reformists reached out to the youth which cause them to become more active in their political thought. Many of the youth were ready to challenge the authority of others such as sheikhs, or Arab leaders.

Not only that, but this interconnectivity help sent the young Saudis abroad to impose believes and advocate for King Abdallah. Throughout this recruitment many young constitutional reformist emerged. Their ideas and actions actually contributed to the boot of Mubarak by publishing a provocative communique arguing that the only way Saudi Arabia can avoid revolution is by constitution reform. It can be assumed that the conversation of constitution reform influenced the Egyptians to desire a new form of government resulting in the protests after the realization of the need to dismiss Hosni Mubarak as an sort of authority.

The SCPRA led to forms of documentations such as the ” Towards a State of Right Institutions” petition which demanded an elected parliament with real powers and an appointment to a prime minister rather than a king. This petition was signed by many big names that made Saudi Arabia hopeful of changed. Eventually constitution reformists process in creating forms that demand change is the regime made a difference. More jobs were created and more funding for housing was provided.

However, not everything was rainbows and flowers. The police forces were more strict to those who protest about further call to action about reforming the regime. Communication outlets were destroyed such  websites including Facebook.This just comes show some of the situations constitutional reformists had to face in their attempt to make a change in Saudi Arabia.

Ultimately, was I have learned is that many difficult situations emerged  in order to reform Saudi Arabia and realized that SCPRA became an initial point to these events. From what I have read, I can conclude that some effective measurements of hope of change are the establishment of documentations that state what kind of change one is hoping for. I feel that if other areas of the Middle East took this approach they would be more successful. Yet again, this only sounds easier said than done and would determine on the extent of their system’s corruption.

Constitutional Reformists & Saudi Arabia

Different activist groups coming together

I think that an interesting issue the reading touches upon is the fact how in Saudi Arabia people from different groups came together to achieve common goals, but only to a certain degree. If members of different groups and from different background pursue the same goals, one might think that it only makes sense that they fight together. This was the case in Saudi Arabia when people from different sectarian groups signed the petition “Towards a State of Rights and Institutions” to demand an elected parliament and the appointment of a prime minister. Groups might have realized that they are not that different and learned to accept each other. However, significant differences might persist and a group likely does not want to be associated with another group’s beliefs and values if they do not mirror their own. The Saudi government used that to discredit and divide the activists by raising word of an Iranian conspiracy and Shiite responsibility for the movement. Sunnis didn’t want to be seen in that light and a degree was reached at which the different groups couldn’t work together anymore. The government succeeded in its attempt to stop the protests.

I can see why certain groups might feel the need to uphold their credibility and identity and how that can easily be threatened if the public learns about their collaboration with a different-minded group. However, a single group might often not be enough to bring about change so the pros and cons of the collaboration have to be weighed carefully. It should also be taken into account if the goals really are the same and which measures one is willing to take to achieve these goals. Should a peaceful group of protesters work together with a radical organization knowing that they might only reach their goal because others used violence? In some cases, a collaboration might do more harm than good, but in other cases groups are only held apart by societal constraints. People of different age, gender, religion, ethnicity, or social status are often seen as different groups merely because of outer aspects, but they might share the same values, attitudes and beliefs and might be much more powerful as a group. Moreover, if everybody believed and acted in that way, there would be less need for activism in the first place, but that is something that John Lennon already imagined years ago.

Different activist groups coming together