Hashtags, memes and GIFs: Social media celebrates Saudi women driving

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Saudis took to social media in their droves on Tuesday night to welcome King Salman’s historic decree allowing women to drive. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 27 September 2017
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Hashtags, memes and GIFs: Social media celebrates Saudi women driving

JEDDAH: Saudis took to social media in their droves on Tuesday night to welcome King Salman’s historic decree allowing women to drive.
Trending Arabic hashtags launched just a few seconds after the announcement included #KingBacksWomenDrive and #WomenDrive.
The milestone was greeted with jubilation on social media, with the hashtag #SaudiWomenCanDrive.
“Congratulations to Saudi women and men. Finally the ban on driving is lifted and soon women will be further enabled on the way to self-determination,” said Aiyah Saihati. “This issue is more than the sum of its parts. It is about unclogging a major social and economic artery that will significantly impact the country’s dynamism.”

She said she was delighted this collective aspiration has finally been realized.
“I’m so beyond happy Saudi Arabia is allowing women to drive. Everyone gets a carrr!,” one tweet said, sharing a famous GIF of the queen of talk shows, Oprah Winfrey.

Expatriates in Saudi Arabia joined enthusiastically in the online debate. “I’m literally shocked. I’ve been here my whole life This is a whole new era!” one Twitter user said.

Men also rejoiced and called the royal decree “a historic decision” and “a great triumph for Saudi females.”
Others cheered at the news while demanding the ban on cinemas be lifted as well.
Meanwhile, Saudis proved once again that humor is an essential part of their existence as memes and jokes flooded the trending hashtag.
“I’m gonna crash my ex’s car,” one woman joked, while another shared a screenshot deleting the cab-hailing apps Careem and Uber.

A meme of women riding bumper cars was captioned: “Dreams come true,” with a line that read: “Started from the bottom … now we are here.”

Some complained about predicted traffic jams once the decision comes into effect. Others argued that traffic would not increase because most families would terminate their drivers’ services once their daughters start driving.
Others chose the voice of reason and called for the various parties to calm down and respect each other’s opinions.
Salman Al-Dosary, a writer with the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, said: “It’s your right to disagree with the decision, but it’s not your right to disrespect those who disagree with you. Don’t confiscate others’ opinions.”

The moderate side suggested if families would not allow their women to drive, at least they should employ a female driver to put the family’s mind at rest.
Prominent Gulf figures also shared their opinions.

“Saudi Arabia’s joyous news continues to flood in all fields, and its achievements accumulate well in a blessed step led by King Salman with confidence and a positive vision, congratulations,” tweeted Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs


Saudi interior minister reviews Hajj safety procedures

Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif patronizes the military parade. (SPA)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Saudi interior minister reviews Hajj safety procedures

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s interior minister patronized a military parade of the Hajj security forces on Monday.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, who is also the Chairman of the Higher Hajj Committee, reviewed preparations to serve the pilgrims, who are continuing to arrive in the Kingdom ahead of the annual pilgrimage. Their numbers are expected to reach the millions.
The Kingdom’s security forces are sparing no efforts to maintain a safe environment for the Hajjis.
Prince Abdulaziz affirmed the preparedness of all sectors involved in securing this year's Hajj.
The minister reviewed the special mechanisms, armored vehicles and security aviation on deployment. 
During the ceremony, Gen. Saeed bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, assistant minister of interior for operations affairs, said "the forces have begun their duties in Mecca, the holy sites, Medinah and all the outlets and roads leading to the Hajj ritual areas.
The duties of the security forces fall in line with the directives of King Salman, followed up by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and under the direct supervision of the Minister of Interior.
Gen. Al-Qahtani stressed the readiness of the forces, in coordination with Saudi ministries and other bodies, to maintain the security of pilgrims and facilitate their Hajj.