Is a girl’s escape a serious phenomenon?

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Al-Riyadh

WHAT will we do about the dangerous phenomenon of Saudi girls fleeing abroad? What is the reason behind the spread of this phenomenon?

These questions made me rethink the whole Arabic language. The word “phenomenon”, as we all know, explains the spread of a habit, tradition, or a practice that could be seen by every human being as an example.

We can say the habit of wearing the shumag headdress without a band has become a phenomenon, in contrast to the normal dress code in the Kingdom, so is the young Saudis sporting light beards these days or the trend among Saudi families of traveling to Dubai. When we consider a habit or trend as a phenomenon, we have to cite numerous examples to justify it.

Now, how many girls have escaped from the Kingdom leaving their families behind to justify it as a phenomenon? Three girls or let’s say 10, which is not true. Does this number deserve to be called a phenomenon? If we analyze this number statistically the result would be half a girl for a million Saudis.

Who is benefitting from the spread of this scary word, exploiting the case of Rahaf Al-Qanun (the Saudi teenager who had first escaped to Thailand and then to Canada)?

Without doubt, Saudi woman’s entry into the labor market to seek a decent living, her gaining the right to drive to run personal errands, or her entering the stadiums to have fun have all shocked a section of the hither-to closed Saudi society, which saw woman only as an associate being, ineligible to live her life the way she wished and destined to spend her time within the walls of her home waiting for the death hour.

We were used to this kind of rigidity and exaggerations during the period of the Sahwa, a faction of Qutbism in Saudi Arabia, which is now moving forward with peaceful political reforms. But why do some writers and intellectuals deceive themselves and use the word “phenomenon” to describe the flight of an adolescent girl from the country?

We were used to exaggerations that worked to turn an individual problem into social one, making it to seem as a threat to Saudi society as a whole away from reality.

We must all ask ourselves: Is the escape of a girl or two from their families in a country with a population that exceeded 20 million worth a discussion by the writers and columnists as a social phenomenon?


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