Thursday, June 16, 2011

Do You Think You are a MAN???

Twenty five years ago, at 5:45am, my father looked me in the eye and asked me: Do you think you are a MAN??
I never answer back to my father, but I didn’t either reply, because he was not waiting for one. Deep inside me I did not think I was "acting like a man", I was just being myself.
This same father has raised me to think, decide, and be responsible of my decisions.
To work hard and talk less.
To speak out loud of what I believe in, but to choose wisely what to believe in.
To dream, be creative, and work hard to accomplish these dreams.
To respect all, treat people equally, and look at myself as a representative of my country and my religion.
To stand up for the right of others even if it didn’t concern me.
To be shy as a woman, but have the courage of a man.
To enforce the respect of others, those who think "I don’t deserve it", and show respect to those who think "they can never own it".

Do you think you are a MAN"?
This question popped into my head, as I was heading to one of my meetings. I opened the auditorium door and saw the international Arab male crowd comfortably sitting and chatting, waiting for my arrival.
At that moment a sound inside me answered my father after 25 years, Yes Baba, you have raised a man inside me..
I still can't resist feeling shy when someone asks me to introduce myself, as one of my friends once told me "You don’t know how to market yourself!!"
But I know that I leave my shyness at the bottom stares when I go up the stage and stand in front of hundreds of people to lecture or give a training.
I was at a meeting today where a reporter and a photographer from the "TIMES" Magazine were attending. They were working on an article about woman driving in Saudi Arabia. unfortunately I didn’t participate in the discussion.. it was one of the few times when I had nothing to say. Not because I don’t care, but simply because the international world sees the issue of Saudi woman driving as the unlocking key to all our concerns, while in reality it is not.
I personally believe that eventually this will happen, but because "Saudi woman driving" does not touch the essential needs of humanity, then it is not, and might not ever be a BOOM for change.

Change booms are the issues that drive people to JUMP out of their comfort zones to fight for it.
A boom blasts when people sense fear in their jobs, because a low educated government representative have the authority to harm their source of income.
It's when the people cannot afford decent medical treatment
It's when we are willing to pay everything we have to well educate our kids, and then discover that they are still illiterate compared to the world.
It's when we don’t find justice in courts.
It's when corruption IS THE LAW..
I believe that one day Saudi females will drive when the society and culture is ready. "Female Driving" in Saudi Arabia will be one of the results of change, and not change itself. The international world keeps on chewing on this old tasteless gum, thinking that by doing this they can fuel an aged light of flame.
The day the internal MAN inside every Saudi woman comes out, will be the day when our humanity is "endangered" ..


  1. رائع بكل ما تعنيه هذه الكلمه
    ستظلين دائما من آفضل الشخصيات التي ااقتدي بها في حياتي
    جعلك الله ممن ينفع و يرتقي بهذه الامه

  2. In my experience and observations, kindness, compassion, empathy is often percieved as weakness, and yes, I agree that people will often prey on those who appear weak. Some of our societal programming in the past, has taught men NOT to be weak...correct? I believe kindness, compassion and empathy to be a strength, and I think many women would agree. So, society has encouraged women to continue to be strong with compassion, which sometimes appears as a weakness to men.

    I think empathy, compassion and kindness is natural for all of us...both men and women. Perhaps men want to recognize it in themselves and maybe do not know how because of the societal teachings that tell them they "should" not show weakness.

    I believe one of the biggest challenges, is the roles we have been given by society. We ALL have the ability to be compassionate, empathic, kind and good people. Women have been traditionally given the role of emotional supporter of the family, so she would be thought of as the best parent, and not so good at financial issues. Men have been given the role of financial supporter of the family, and not so good at emotional support.

    These roles are changing as women are out in the workforce, and many men are now stay at home dads. The roles are physically changing, but some of the old beliefs still exist. Previous ideas, paradigms, and programming has not yet caught up to the reality on a large scale. I believe it is happening slowly, and I also know that change is often slow. We all need to encourage and support the change and realize that we are all capable of supporting each other in the life journey.

  3. ماشاء الله سلافة... You took me on a journey, not knowing what to expect at its end! Beautifully expressed & swimming deeper than its ice berg!