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


Serie A president Gaetano Micciche praises ‘Saudi hospitality’ ahead of Supercoppa Italiana in Jeddah

Updated 16 January 2019
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Serie A president Gaetano Micciche praises ‘Saudi hospitality’ ahead of Supercoppa Italiana in Jeddah

  • Speaking exclusively to Arab News, Micciche said it was a "great honor" to be in the Kingdom
  • The Serie A chief also discussed his thoughts his impressions on Jeddah and the event

JEDDAH: From day one, Serie A president Gaetano Micciche has been a staunch defender of Saudi Arabia playing host to the Italian Super Cup. With the kick-off now mere hours away at King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah, his good faith has been rewarded.
“We have had great hospitality,” he said. “I am really glad to experience Saudi Arabia not only for myself, but for all Italian people that have arrived here for the first time. The Saudi public has been full of kindness for the Italian people. It is a great honor for Serie A and myself to be here for such an important event.”

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the Serie A chief discussed his thoughts his impressions on Jeddah and the event.
“I am happy because I now have a fair impression of the situation here,” he said. “I will surely be returning to Italy full of satisfaction and with positive ideas to return in the near future with other matches. All of the responses that I have seen have been very positive. Jeddah is a city that is rapidly evolving. It is really interesting for me and I have no doubt that there is a large and great potentiality for Jeddah to grow in the years to come.”
Micciche said he was delighted to find such a modern and beautifully built stadium.

Serie A president Gaetano Micciche (C) with Arab News' Abdulaziz Al-Aquil (R) and columnist Max Ferrari (L). (AN Photo)

King Abdullah Sports City (KASC), also known as “Al Jawhara,” Arabic for “jewel,” is the largest football stadium in Jeddah, with a maximum capacity of more than 62,000.
“I was happy to see the complex, which is one of the most beautiful in the world,” he said.
“I was especially happy to learn that the stadium has been completely sold out and that more than 15,000 women will be attending. I believe that sport in general, and football in particular, is a special factor of life. Today, two of the best Italian teams will be playing and I am sure they will put on a great match. I repeat: I am happy with all the organization, with the city, with the people, and with the hospitality.”