The Drive for Freedom Manal al-Sharif

2012 Oslo Freedom Forum
May 8, 2012

Saudi women’s rights activist Manal al-Sharif reveals how women in her country are forced to be faceless, voiceless, and nameless. Al-Sharif identifies the 1979 Mecca Grand Mosque Siege as a defining event for her generation, marking the resurgence of fundamentalist Islam in Saudi Arabia. Al-Sharif reveals how exposure to the internet and images of the 9/11 terrorist attacks led her to reject fundamentalist Islam. She describes how she launched the Women2Drive campaign, which encourages Saudi women to drive in a country where it is against the law for them to operate a vehicle. But al-Sharif emphasizes that the campaign is about more than just driving a car—it is about being in the driver’s seat of her own destiny.