Saudi Activist Samar Badawi Wins Woman of Courage Award

Samar Badawi standing with her husband Waleed Abu Al Khair

Samar Badawi is a Saudi woman who won a lawsuit against her abusive father who has been abusing her for over 15 years. She fought against the male guardianship system which implies that women should respect their male guardian no matter what he does even if he was abusive. Unfortunately, Samar was charged of disobeying her father and was sentenced to jail, even though she had all the evidences needed to prove that her father is abusing her. Despite the injustice she went through she kept on fighting along with Waleed Abulkhair who was her lawyer at that time and now they are happily married couple. After spending about 6 months in jail Samar was released. She finally won the case against her abusive father  in 2010 but  unfortunatily, not against the male guardian system. Her uncle on her father side became her male guardian as per the court order. Samar became an activist and has been participating in activities to promote women rights in Saudi Arabia. You can read more about the story here.

So what control freak sick Saudi men think about Samar winning the prize?

When I read the comments on Samarprize twitter account I found a lot of hateful, sick comments accusing Samar Badawi of disobedience and for not following Islam laws. It’s No surprise that a lot of Saudi men are pissed off and feel threatened by Samar Badwai because she became an inspiration to Saudi women who are going through what she’ve been through with her father. Samar represents a huge number of Saudi women who are being abused by their male guardians.  Women in Saudi Arabia don’t usually speak about it because male guardians are legally protected by the government using fake human-made Islamic laws, made to control women using religion. You can read more about the guardianship system in Saudi Arabia here.

I Believe Samar is a worrier, courageous and bold for taking such a step. I take my hat-off to her, Wajiha Al Huwaider, Manal Al Sharif , Eman Al Nafjan and Many others who contributed in women to drive campaign through driving, blogging and twitting.

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How I felt when I wore an Abaya for the first time

Wearing a long black Abaya can be fashionable sometimes yet very restrictive. In Saudi Arabia, women wear either Shoulder Abaya or head Abaya. Shoulder Abaya looks pretty much like a black long shirt. Head Abaya on the other hand is placed on top of the head as it’s shown in the picture. Women in Saudi wear Abaya at very young age. Girl’s public schools for instance forces both teachers and students to wear head Abaya with head cover that covers up their face at 4th or 5th grade. It has been a tradition for so long for girls put on Abaya way before they hit puppetry. It is so sad because Abaya not only restrict movement but also give you a feeling of being ” grown up” when you are still a kid. Because of that, wearing an Abaya takes at least 5 years off every Saudi woman’s childhood.

I recall the first time I had to wear an Abaya and head cover; I was only 9 years old and I was a 4th grader. It is known here where I live that 4th grade students must wear an Abaya and a head cover.

I never understood why, I just hated it so much. I use to vomit when it’s around 50 degrees and I’m covering, it just made me sick. I also had difficulty seeing the world clearly. I was jealous that my brothers didn’t have to put up with all this when they go to school.

I believe I am not the only one who have experienced this, I am very sure that many Saudi women had experienced Abaya and head cover sickness after trying it for the first time.

Now I no longer cover my face when I go out. However, I cover up my face when it’s only unsafe not to do so, like going to areas where people might verbally attack me for not covering my face, I just do it to save the troubles.

Now that I live in China, I feel happy to be able to run, jump and ride my bike whenever I want to. With an Abaya  I would never be able to do so.

It made me feel so free, liberated and most importantly normal.

Men in Saudi Arabia has a restrictive traditional white thob, it also looks like a long shirt but for men its optional to wear a thob or not. So Saudi men can choose to wear or not wear thobes, Men also can choose different colors of thobs based on their preference. Unlike women, wearing an abaya is a must and it must be black Abaya too.

Men in Saudi Arabia has a restrictive traditional white thob, it also looks like a long shirt but for men its optional to wear a thob or not. So Saudi men can choose to wear or not wear thobes, Men also can choose different colors of thobs based on their preference. Unlike women, wearing an abaya is a must and it must be black Abaya too

P.S girls wear Abaya only on their way to school or home, but inside classes they put on Maryoul.

Saudi Women are being arrested by The Religous Police

I am writing you now while many Saudi women are being arrested by the Saudi Intelligence Police with the help of the religious Police. They broke into Alrajhi Mosque (where Saudis gathered to protest earlier this year) It is happening now. Riyadh Exit 15. Women who are being arrested are peacefully asking to free their husband’s and son’s who were imprisoned with no criminal charges. It is believed that Saudi government have imprisoned a lot of people who express their opinion about the corruption in Saudi Arabia.  We all remember the famous case of Khalid Al Johani, who was protesting this year and right after the release of his statement on the media he was taken by the intelligence police. His family has not heard from him till this moment.

Please share this to the world to help to free both the women who are being arrested now and the uncharged Criminals in Saudi Arabia.

There is a long list of many Saudis who spent decades in prison with no charges. Its time to set them free.

If you know the names of girls who were  arrested please write it down here – we don’t want them to be forgten behind bars.  Free (Sarah Al Zamil  and Taghrid Al Aqid  ) – ساره الزامل و تغريد العقيد..

Traveling to China tips

 

Planning to go to China to study, work or do a business? If yes then you must read traveling to china tips.I have tried to write about essential  and most important things you need to know before coming to China to stay for a year or more.   So here are my tips…

 

1-Learn Chinese for basic communication before coming to China.

If your Chinese is nil, I suggest you learn basic Chinese, words enough to get you to and to ask people in the airport about gates and terminals and get to the hotel etc. Most Chinese people don’t speak English, and when you ask a person if he/she speaks English they will say a little, but in fact its a lot less than ” a little”. Younger generations though has just started learning English as a second language, they often can help more than the information personals who works at the airport.

If you are using iphone you will find many applications that can help you learn Chinese, download them.

 

2-Bring some of your favorite food from your home country.

I meant your favorite tea bags, coffee, creamy cheese, rice  or even your favorite cereals. Although there are many international supermarkets in China yet some products are very difficult to find here. If you prefer a certain type of cereal, rice or pasta then bring it along with you, because you might not find here. The availability of famous international supermarket depends on where you’re staying, if you are staying in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou it’s going to be a lot easier.

 

3-Open Bank account in Chinese Bank.

In China, if you are holding Bank of China card and you used bank of Communication ATM  to take out some money, you will be charged small fee for every single transaction. Therefore, I suggest you  open at least two different bank accounts. Let’s say Bank of Communication ATM is closest ATM to your place then open an account in Bank of Communication, so when you do any transaction you will not be charged. Fore major transactions I suggest using Bank of China.

 

4-Be careful when making a deal with a Chinese person.

If you are buying a car or renting a house from a Chinese man or doing any deal, be careful. Chinese can be very wicked, liar and greedy specially when dealing with foreigners. They know you don’t speak their language and that makes them happy because they can steal your money easily.  I suggest you get help from someone who speaks Chinese, write everything in contract and make sure that you have deadlines and punishments in case one of the parties has done what he/she suppose to do within the time frame.

In case you are buying a products examine each and every single thing you buy carefully and ask for warranty.

This is what I did with the help of friends who speaks Chinese and also a Chinese man who read and understand Chinese characters.

 

 

5-Renew your visa and do the accommodation registration as soon as possible.

Once you move in to your new apartment you must go to the nearest police station to do the accommodation registration. Accommodation registration form will be given to you upon your arrival in china by the university or the company your working at.

You will need many 4*6 photos and you must use black pen when filling the form.

You must renew your visa as soon as possible as well, because if you don’t you will be charged with 500 Yuan every single day.  So lets say you are 5 days week, that means you will pay 2500 Yuan.

 

 

 

6-Remember the golden rule; if it barks don’t eat it.

In China dog’s meat is legal and it’s socially acceptable because Chinese believe that dog’s meat and liver has special pharmaceutical properties. Be careful when eating outdoors specially when eating in fancy restaurants. Dog meat is quite expensive. Therefore, it is uncommon to be served in small cheap restaurant but mainly its served in big and more expensive ones.

 

Note for Muslims: Muslim Halal food is easy to find in almost anywhere in china. But be careful, Muslim restaurants are not so halal. Some restaurants might hang pictures of Quran verses or Arabic welcome phrases on their wall but they still sell pork and alcoholic drinks. I suggest you go to restaurants that are famous, popular among Muslims who are living in your area. It’s much safer.

 

             7-Always bargain.

 Chinese people believe that foreigners are rich and for that reason they will always  charge you a lot more than the actual price of almost everything. Therefore, I recommend bargaining before buying anything, and trust me you will be able to decrease up to 50%.

Oh and by the way, just because you see that everything has a price tag in the shop it does not mean its fixed price unless you are shopping in a supermarket.

 

8-Find out about buses near your home, workplace and shopping areas.

There is a lot of buses with different numbers, find which one goes to your work, college or shopping areas write it down and find which one take you back to your home. Its easy to find out because there are always signs next to bus stations telling you which bus is heading where. If you couldn’t understand, ask a local Chinese person. If you want to use a taxi then you must have your address written in Chinese characters. If you know your way to work, college of home very well you can just buy a bike.

 

 

That’s it for now.  If you have any questions please contact me or write your question down here. I will try to answer you as soon as possible.

 

Omaima is in China

Hello everyone,

I have stopped blogging for a while and the reason why I stopped writing is that because I have been busy as hell. I am studying Medicine while I’m still doing my Nursing Internship. I know its complicated but I am taking it like a woman. 😉

I am studying Medicine in China, Jilin. I have been in China for 2 weeks now and I’m trying to settle down here.

I am going to share my experience on my blog and I will also upload some photos 😉  once I settle down first.

unbelievable things happened to me from the moment I arrived in Beijing, China. it was a very eventful trip.

I will also give you advises about what to perpare and what to expect when coming to China mainland =)

Saudi men are embarrassed of their mother’s name

Saudi men believe that their mother’s name is scandalous and shameful and shouldn’t be mentioned in public. Reaction is a Saudi show views how saudi men reacted when they were asked about their mother’s name. Some refused to say their mother’s name on TV saysing ” I’m not crazy to do so” and others chose to say a nickname such as ” Mother of Mohammad, Mother of Abdullah.. etc..”.  Very few men were okay with it.

The video is in Arabic. I couldn’t find a version with English subtitles but you will be hearing mostly

Wish issm Ommk? Or  Whish issm Al Walda? = Whats your mother’s name?

ملعوب علينا

ملعوب علينا…

القطاع الحكومي ساعات العمل فيه 5 ساعات باليوم – و يعملون خمس ايام بالاسبوع – يعني مجمل ساعات العمل بالاسبوع 25ساعه – اما بالشهر فهي 100 ساعه.

 اما القطاع الخاص و هو القطاع المشهور بالكرف و استغلال الطاقة البشريه بطريقه غير انسانيه بعد 6 ساعات باليوم و يعملون ست ايام بالاسبوع – مجمل ساعات بالاسبوع فهو 36 ساعه – اي بالشهر 144 ساعة.

في الحرس الوطني الدعوه تختلف – احا نظام شفتات – يعني بالاساس دون رمضان نعمل 15 شفت – 12 ساعه يعني 180 ساعه في
الايام العاديه.

ولكن في رمضان نشتغل 11 شفت نهاري
لمدة 12 ساعه – يعني بمجمل 132 ساعه بالشهر

يعني اقل من قطاع الخاص و اكثر من
القطاع الحكومي…؟

يعني كأنه احنا مو تبع وزارة الصحه و لا
تبع قطاع الخاص ( بإختصار احنا تبع الحرس) بس المقصه و المقلب الي ماكلينا نا لما راسلت بندر القناوي شخصيا
اشتكي على المكافئه الخرطي الي يعطونا اياها…

قالي بس مكافئتكم تبع وزارة التعليم
العالي ( يعني بعباره اخرى ) تبع القطاع الحكومي.

طيب يعني اذا المكافئه الي تندفع من
قطاع حكومي – زي وزارة التعليم العالي – ما يفترض نعامل كذالك كـ متدربات تبع قطاع
حكومي – حالنا حال الاوادم الثانيه – و خاصة انها مبلغ زهيد – و اضح جدا انه مو حق
اودام كرف 12 ساعه!

و بعدين اذا الحكومه الكريمه ققرت ان
يكون ساعات العمل بمجمل الشهر 100 ساعه للقطاع الحكوي- ليش النظام مو نازل علينا –
مو احنا تبع وزارة التعليم العالي ( حسب ادعاء د. بندر القناوي – نسيب د.عبدالله
الربيعه) – ايوه يا بنات … هو متزوج اخت د. عبدالله الربيعه –

وبالحديث عن صلة القرابة الي تربط د.
عبدالله الربيعه و بندر القناوي .. ما يخليكم تتسألون كيف حصل بندر القناوي على
المنصب بهذه السرعه و كانه كان ولي عهد للربيعه ؟؟ الربيعه فجاء صار وزير بلا
مقدمات و فجاء طلع القناوي في المنصب.. من دون وضع اي عرض بأن الوظيفه شاغره لمن
هم بمستوى عالي من الشهادات و الخبره – و كان الوظيفه عارفين لمين بتروح..

من جديد اقول للدكتور بندر القناوي –
على بركه الكرسي الي جاك في طبق من ذهب.. و احترم كل شهادتك و لكن لا انكر ان صلة
القرابه الي بينك و بين و زير الصحه و سرعة حصولك ع المنصب.. تثير
الشكوك!!!!!!!!!!

الممرضه السعوديه هي البطه السوده في القطاع الصحي…

كنت قد ذهبت الى متجر الهدايا في احد المستشفيات  – حيث أعمل كـممرضة لشراء القهوه, و لكن  لفت انتباهي عنوان في الصفحة الاولى لأحد الجرائد و فيه ” صرف بدل تفرغ للأطباء و الصيادله”. و كانت ردت فعلي العفويه .. ” و أحنا…. عيال البطه السوده ؟!”

هل الطبيب و الصيدلي الذي يزاول مهنته, انسان متفرغ  للعمل و الباقي لا مثلا؟؟

اليس كل موظف آخرانسان متفرغ لمزاوله مهنه؟؟

في الحقيقه ارى بدل التفرغ هذا امر غريب جدا, اذا كان وزير الصحة د.عبدالله الربيعه يرى ان زملائه الاطباء و الصيادله فقط هم المتفرغين للعمل هل يعني أن الممرضات  يأتون للمستشفى لشرب الشاي وأكل الفصفص؟

ولو فكر د.عبدالله الربيعه قليلا بشأن الممرضات لكان صرف بدل التفرغ لهن. لان الطبيب و الصيدلي يعمل 9
ساعات فقط بالاغلب, بينما تعمل الممرضى 12 ساعه على الاقل ( نهاري و مسائي). اليس الاولى ان يصرف لها بدل التفرغ؟ و خاصة انها تترك اطفال و زوج و عائله و حياتها
الاجتماعيه في مقابل مزاولة مهنتها و التفرغ لخدمة المرضى؟

بإختصار شديد يا د.عبدالله الربيعه,, أنا لا احرض على قطع ارزاق الاطباء و الصيادله ولكن اليست الممرضة جزء من الفريق الطبي ”المتفرغ”لخدمة الشعب؟

و بالحديث عن صرف بدليات غريبه كهذه, يعلم سعادتكم بما تعانيه الممرضة من اهانات من مجتمع لا يرحم ولا يقدر مهنة التمريض, ولا يزال  يراها مهنة خدم و ليس مهنة سعوديات ,الا يرى سعادتكم انه من الاولى صرف ” بدل إهانة ”  ليجبر بخاطر السسترات (ذكورا منهم و اناثا)؟

My first day in labor & delivery as a Nurse intern

I was outside the department of labor and delivery, waiting for a phone call when a blond middle aged lady came out of the door. Apparently she was also going out but instead she looked at me for a while and went back inside  in a rush as
if she has forgotten something. A minute later, my boss came out and said ” Omaima, I just got a report says that you are sitting here outside. Are youokay??? It seems like you are not interested in working here. What do you want
patients to thank of you?? Its not professional when you are on duty to sit
outside like that in a relaxed position on the chair. Once you come on duty you
are not allowed to leave your preceptor, you know the rules; Interns must be
with their preceptors all times. Your break is also supposed to be with your preceptor,
if she took her lunch break you can take yours. So please go back to the
department.”

I was thinking like.. WTF..!! that nurse went back in hurry just to report me..!!! :O that was stick
attitude and very childish as well!

So, I replied to my boss ” are you done?.. IT IS MY LUNCH BREAK
NOW!

I got angry and shocked of how she approached me.

After that, My Irish boss apologized but I hated the fact that she
came and lectured me for about ten minutes. She wasted 10 minutes of my break
for nothing!

Later I found out from my colleagues that she is well-known among Saudi students and interns as the mean nurse who hate Saudi Nurses.