Monday, June 20, 2011

Women. Drivers. Ninjas.

I have some students whose faces I have never seen. They are women, and they cover their faces, all but their eyes, with a veil. I've realized recently that my relationship with these women is a little different from my relationship with other students. I recognize them by their eyes, tone of voice, and most of all personality. One student, whom I'll call Fatima, is one of the most beautiful women I've never seen. She's bold, outspoken, and hardworking. Anytime I give some assignment in class, she takes charge. She laughs easily and smiles with her eyes. I've found that most of my veiled students have similar personalities; their hearts are bright and visible, even if their faces aren't.

When I recently read about Saudi women defying the driving ban, I thought of Fatima. Though women are free to drive in the UAE, she's exactly the kind of woman who would buck the system. I'm sure these ladies who are driving around Saudi Arabia are probably also just as sassy, and just as beautiful. This will probably sound terrible, but I've sometimes heard young people refer to veiled women as 'Ninjas'. You can figure out why. I think though that this term might be appropriate for these heroic women drivers. They really are fighting for something.

Whether it's my rebellious nature or my love of justice and equality that makes me excited by these women's defiance, I don't know. But I'm proud of them and I'm praying for them.

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