Historic Step Forward for (Saudi) Women?


There was obviously no win/win solution. I am, however, sorry to see that the inevitable lose/lose compromise has been accepted.

The credibility of the Olympic organizers has been strained… they have been denied the right to determine the rules, even as they are defined for safety reasons. The competition uniforms, except for colours, should be identical for all participants. For an even playing field, all variables that can be controlled, should be controlled… even to skates and running shoes, and hockey helmets.

Religious fundamentalism of this sort, religious interference of any sort,  should have no place on the Olympic world stage. I think  Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani should have been politely invited to comply or withdraw! Her presence at the Games was bound to cause dissent, if only on athletic grounds… she has not proven herself qualified in the sport by moving up through preliminary events.

But she and her supporters have won phase one. It will be interesting to see what she wears to the match, how well she fights, how well her opponents adjust to the distraction. It will also be interesting to see how the media and her detractors at home respond to the event.

Think of the impact if, entering the ring, she pulled off the hijab and declared, “I am competing as a woman, and as an athlete. I am my own self, and I am competing on my own behalf!”

Like Katnis’s salute at The Hunger Games. Now THAT would be a story!

I don’t think she earned a place in the Olympics. I don’t think she… or anyone else… should wear a hijab.

But I feel sorry for her, and I wish her well in the cruelly misogynistic culture and society she calls home.

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