By Matthew Wall | SAUDI ARABIA, GERMANY, USA
Over the past week, the NFL has dominated media coverage. Here are three stories you might have missed:
1. Women gain the right to drive in Saudi Arabia
As of Tuesday, September 26, 2017, Saudi Arabia announced for the first time in the country’s history that women will be allowed to drive. Prior to this announcement, the issue of whether or not to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia had been widely criticized by a multitude of individuals and organizations campaigning to end the oppression of women, specifically in middle eastern countries. This legislation will go into effect in June of 2018. Many advocates for this new legislation find this to be a huge step forward for progressive reform, specifically gender equality, not only in Saudi Arabia but throughout the entire world.
Fawziah al-Bakr, a Saudi university professor, was a member of one of the first protests against the driving ban in 1990. The protest featured a group of 47 women who drove around the capital of Saudi Arabia until they were all arrested. In reference to that protest, she stated:
“Since that day, Saudi women have been asking for the right to drive, and finally it arrived”, “We have been waiting for a very long time.” -Fawziah al-Bakr
Societal pressures were not the only contributing reason for this legislation, economic factors also played a key role in forcing the government to reform policies. According to CNN, opening the roads to women drivers may lift economic growth by almost 1 percentage point every year, adding about $90 billion of net output by 2030. This would significantly increase Saudi Arabia’s economic growth and financial situation, making such unprecedented change in policy much easier to take for the Saudi government.
“The rain begins with a single drop” – Manal al-Sharif
2. German Federal Election results, Angela Merkel wins a fourth term and the AfD Party on the rise
On Sunday, September 24, 2017, the results from Germany’s Bundestag (Federal Parliament) election, were in. Angela Merkel won her fourth term as German chancellor, continuing to make history as the first woman and the first East German to hold the title of Chancellor. Merkel’s CDU (Christian Democratic Party) and the CSU (Christian Social Union) won an overwhelming 32.9% of the vote. The SDP (Social Democratic Party) won 20.5% of the vote.
What came as a shock to many people, however, was the high percentage of votes the AfD, Alternative for Deutschland (Germany), received in the election. A party record of 12.6% of the votes went to the right-wing populist organization. Alexander Gauland, a 76-year-old German lawyer and one of the well-known leaders in the AfD, has talked of fighting an “invasion of foreigners” and campaigned openly on fighting Islam and high rates of immigration. Many statements made by leaders of the AfD have been criticized and condemned as racist. For example, Gauland made the following statement on footballer Jérôme Boateng, who was born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father:”They like him as a football player. But they don’t want to have a Boateng as their neighbour.”
“They like him as a football player. But they don’t want to have a Boateng as their neighbour.” -Alexander Gauland
3. Republican Primary for US Senate in Alabama
The GOP primary for Alabama Senate resulted in Roy Moore defeating Luther Strange 57% to 43% on September 26th. When Jeff Sessions was appointed attorney general, the open Senate seat in Alabama was filled by Luther Strange, appointed by
When Jeff Sessions was appointed as attorney general, his open Senate seat in Alabama was filled by Luther Strange, appointed by Governor Robert Bentley. Republican Senator Strange, supported by President Donald Trump, ran against Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, supported by Steve Bannon. Moore, well known for his history of controversial statements about things like sexual orientation and race, beat out Trump’s favored candidate in the Republican primaries. Moore will now be pitted against the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, in the Special Senate Election in Alabama.
Matthew Wall is a reporter for 71 Republic. You can contact him via email, at [email protected]