Ibn Warraq reports from Casablanca that a musical satire on YouTube has tickled the funny bone of local Moroccans
The video - No Woman No Drive - by Hisham Fageeh takes a Bob Marley song and with a change of lyrics makes it the perfect response to the Saudi prohibition on women driving. He also manages to get in a line mocking the Saudi Imam who has been ridiculed around the world for saying driving would effect women's ovaries!
Walking past cafes in Casa you can hear the song and the chuckles as people watch it on their phones or iPads. The Marley song has been a Moroccan favourite for years especially with the Gnawa. It seems that the new lyrics may catch on.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. The ban is informal, rather than enshrined in law.
Activist and writer Tamador Alyami said clarification was needed from the authorities: “They are giving us confusing messages. There’s nothing clear about it, no clear law, no clear punishment, so the message is not clear and that’s why we’re fighting for it.”
The campaign has sparked a wider debate in Saudi society over how women are treated. Social activist and comedian Hisham Fageeh's ironic video, ‘No Woman, No Drive’ was posted ion YouTube on the day of the protest.
Fageeh’s unique twist on Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ had been viewed more than 140,000 times within hours of being posted online.
While Morocco enjoys good diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, there is a view amongst young Moroccans that Saudi society is repressive and behind the times - especially with its treatment of women. The campaign to allow women to drive in KSA is gaining ground and in the recent protest some 60 women drove in public. Sixteen of them are reported to have been fined around $80. This is a far cry from a few years ago when a woman was jailed for driving.
As part of the latest campaign, dozens of women have posted online videos of themselves driving in different Saudi cities. No-one has been arrested.
The activists behind the campaign believe the public mood is changing, with many more people - including an increasing number of men - publicly supporting the lifting of the ban.