Photo by Thomas Ondrey
At right, and below, I've linked to a story in Cleveland.com about Nawal Alhawsawi, a Mecca-born Saudi woman who lives with her American husband in Cleveland. She's going for her pilot's license. In this, she's not the first, since Prince Waleed bin Talal has a Saudi woman pilot to help fly his aircraft. But Nawal is doing it on her own, with support of her husband and family. I'm including her story here because, first, she tells the journalist writing the story that she's done a midnight drive back home, which I believe is much more common than generally known outside Saudi Arabia. And second, because the issue of driving is on her mind, which she's not afraid to speak. Here's a quote from the article by Robert L. Smith.
"...Alhawsawi loves her new home but she loves her homeland, too, and she moves between the two worlds like a time traveler, at once tourist and guide -- a modern American Muslim and a daughter of Mecca.
Which is why she says things like, "King Abdullah is a really awesome king. I think it's just a matter of time before women will drive cars, actually."
She drives a 1999 Hyundai around Northeast Ohio. Her goal of flying jetliners will have to wait. A new dream emerged from her work with battered women as a social worker for Cuyahoga County. It's a quest that will again break taboos back home...."
I totally recommend the story, and wish Ms. Alhawsawi all the best in both her worlds.
Here is the link: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/12/post_150.html