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New for 2013, the Burqa Accord


Nothing seems quite as appealing as owning a car completely enveloped by a burqa. The text reads, “Saudi Arabia permits women to drive cars,” although the truth is quite the opposite. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that does not allow women to drive, although some brave souls in groups like Women2Drive are working to change that. Women are also not allowed to travel or take a job without a male guardian, although they were thrown a bone with token representation on the national Shura Council this year. This model might actually appeal to Saudi morality keepers, who likely will miss the irony but appreciate the new features: You can’t get in, you can’t get out, and there are obvious safety implications once you start her up.

A fellow University of California, Santa Barbara student once described her disappointment over the way this law was viewed by the outside world. She stated that having a driver take her around the city was more like having a chauffeur than a barrier to her mobility as a woman. While I appreciated a perspective that differed from my ethnocentric American one, I still choose punishing gas prices and my beat-up car.

A hat tip to As’ad AbuKhalil, a political science professor at California State University Stanislaus who blogs at the irony-heavy “Angry Arab News Service.”