Daily Archives: Wednesday, 26 September, 2007

The Spray of Mace Heard ‘Round the World

Story here: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=101656&d=25&m=9&y=2007

Two Saudi women armed with a plan, a cell phone and a canister of pepper spray or mace donned make up and ventured out in public. A member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Mutawwa, approached them to “correct” them and one woman maced him while the other filmed it with her cell phone. I will be searching for it on YouTube momentarily.

This story has been blogged about extensively in the scant few hours since it happened. I hope that this is one of the opening shots of a huge reform in Saudi Arabia, a country where fifty percent of the population is under twenty-one years old, and where new technology is breaking down traditional social barriers.

I was only able to find the Arab News version, told from the standpoint of the beleagured mutawwa (old man who bludgeons women who publicly transgress):

“Two members of the commission were attacked, cursed and sworn at by two women, who were blatantly dolled up,” Al-Marshoud said, meaning the women were wearing makeup.

He said the commission’s officials stopped the women to give them advice and guidance after they noticed they were wearing makeup. “One of the women took out a black container and sprayed a substance at them while the other filmed what happened with her phone camera while making improper comments,” Al-Marshoud said.

My guess is that a mutawwa approached in an aggressive manner waving a blunt instrument around, but maybe that’s just my imagination going overboard. I have this recurring fantasy, even though I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia, of grabbing the old guy’s hitting stick and whacking him with it repeatedly.

During questioning, the women apologized for attacking the two commission members, signed a statement and were released,” he added.

I’ll bet that was the only way they could get released. By the way, I’ll bet they were released into the custody of a male relative.

I couldn’t find anything on YouTube, so in the meantime, here’s an artist’s conception of the incident:


I seriously have no idea why it insists on blowing up the picture to twice its size, but until I figure it out, here it is in all it’s hastily-drawn glory.

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Filed under arab, arabian, hijab, Saudi Arabia