Saudi King Abdullah announced on Sunday that he was giving women the right to vote and run in municipal elections. What a coincidence. One week after it seemed that Canadian oil was going to beat the Saudis to the gigantic American market by making an inane comparison between the relative ethicality of the two fossil fuel purveyors, according to Zawya: King Abdullah has given Saudi women the right to vote. Suddenly now, dirty energy lobbying group EthicalOil doesn’t have a marketing leg to stand on. If Saudi women can vote, then Canadian dirty fossil fuel is no better than Saudi dirty fossil fuel.
Who knows how many millions that carefully focus-group consumer-tested message cost the tar sands industry to concoct. (It worked too, even here at Green Prophet, check Karin’s poll: Is Canada’s Tar Sand Oil More Ethical Than Saudi Oil? (POLL) The entire message was Buy Canadian, because Canadian fossil fuel was less bad than Saudi fossil fuel, being “democratic”. (But No, Canada – There is No Ethical Oil)
“Starting with the next term, women will have the right to run in municipal elections and to choose candidates, according to Islamic principles,” the king said in an unexpected move to enfranchise women in the ultra-conservative kingdom. What is more, they won’t just be voting. He also dropped this bombshell.
“We have decided that women will participate in the Shura Council as members starting the next term,” he added. So women will be able to run for office in four years.
This week, Saudi elections will mark a milestone. More than 5,000 men will compete in Thursday’s municipal elections, only the second in Saudi Arabia’s history, to fill half the seats in the kingdom’s 285 municipal councils. The other half are appointed by the government.
But the right to vote is a far larger historic moment. Women’s rights activists have long fought to gain the right to vote in the kingdom that applies a strict version of Sunni Islam and bans women from driving or travelling without the consent of a male guardian.
What an ironic historical moment if a major civil right was won because of market competition. Maybe EthicalOil should harp on about how its climate-destroying fossil fuel is better because Canadian women may drive all by themselves. Can Saudi women’s drivers licenses be far behind?
Even better, what if Saudi Arabia were to fight back by exposing how Canada has just shut down its climate scientists? (Canada Muzzles Climate Science Cheney/Bush-Style) America should buy the more ethical Saudi climate-destroying fossil fuel because Canada is silencing the messenger with the bad news about climate-destroying fossil fuels. Now there’s a great marketing campaign!