One small step for Wujdan, One HUGE leap for Saudi Women!

So today I was on the sidelines when history was being made…. The words “being proud” is often thrown around, and is maybe overused these days, but not today! Today I was proud, today Saudi women were proud, today Saudi as a nation was proud… (well almost). This morning I attended the Olympic Judo matches and saw Wujdan Shaherkani make history, in becoming the first Saudi Olympian! What a feeling that was. I had shivers down my spine while her name was being called out to take her place in the arena – and the crowd cheered so loudly for her, and I would say almost as loud as the cheers for Team GB!

The 16-year old Saudi barely had a minute when the high-ranked Puerto Rican fighter easily beat her, but in my eyes she didn’t lose! she was a champ! She made a whole nation proud of her achievement. She competed in the greatest sporting event of mankind and without a shred of help from the Saudi government. In fact, the government (unlike any other country) not only didn’t support her, but stood in her way. At school they forbid her from participating in sports, and physical education just for being born a women. Outside school by not providing gyms and facilities for women, and as an athlete by not providing any funding for her to compete in the Olympics. Yet despite all of this, she managed to compete in this global event that had hundreds of millions of viewers- What an achievement! She has not only competed for herself, but for every Saudi women out there with a dream. Her accomplishments will loudly tell them that they can do anything they desire, and being a Saudi women will not stand in the way of there dreams! What a role model to be proud of!

Unfortunately, her performance today has highlighted a very horrible treat we have in Saudi – Racism! Because of Wujdan’s historical roots from outside the Arab Isles, she has been targeted with racial slur. The worrying this is, the Saudi authorities don’t take racism seriously, so I expect nothing will be done, and no support will be provided for her to deal with this unacceptable behaviour.

I hope and wish that Wujods participation in the Olympics will highlight the importance of women in sports, and highlight the URGENT need to create facilities and gyms in schools and beyond for females in the Kingdom.

To find out more, read my opinion in the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443866404577566622867956722.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

and then to the Associated Press at http://hosted2.ap.org/OREUG/0a6106be5ac4420893ee9bde92187155/Article_2012-08-03-OLY-JUD-Saudi-Fighter/id-ce539d5ee60b47a18e58a78bc13008f2

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22 year old, the youngest Member of the European Parliament, not in Saudi

Ok well this is not going to happen in Saudi any time soon, and I don’t mean getting an “elected member of parliament”, but just having a young senior official holding any office….european-parliament-brussels-inside

With the Lisbon Treaty being signed by all European Union member states, the Pirate Party has gained another seat in the European Parliament. The second Pirate Party seat will be occupied by the 22 year old Amelia Andersdotter, who will become the youngest Member of the European Parliament.

Ironically, The Pirate Party was against the Lisbon Treaty, which has now doubled the number of seats the party has in the European Parliament.
Amelia Andersdotter, will become the youngest Member of the European Parliament. In order to free up time for her political career, Amelia recently decided to quit Economics and Spanish at Lund University in Sweden.

Amelia will officially take her seat in Brussels on December 1st, where she will be joining Christian Engstrom. The two will have plenty of work to do in the years to come, countering the growing influence from pro-copyright lobby groups.
Although some may argue she is far too young to take such an office, I think the fact you can have young blood and passion in such institution can only be a force of good. Lets face it, she had thousands of votes to get that seat, and for that I salute her and her ambition… next stop, Saudi politics? Ya riiight!