The Week in a Poem: “The Women in Black”

“The Women in Black” by Hala al-Dosari, a Saudi Writer and Women Rights Activist


Once upon a time, in a busy shop

In the land of tribes and ancient civilizations

A little girl sat watching…

in silent resignation

Grown-up women with shrouds of black

Hidden and silent… in isolation

With a “no-trespassing” look

They wandered around in simulation

When a single woman appeared, suddenly, in the shop

The little girl felt a sudden sensation

Yes, the woman wore the black alright…

Yet, she walked with determination

Not cautious, fearful, or covered-up

The woman moved as a distinct population


She seemed to own the world

She was … such an inspiration…

Why would she be on her own? The little girl wondered?

Wasn’t she afraid from reprimands or accusations?

Looking that pretty in embroidered black,

Defying the norms as if in a celebration

Who gave her the money that she’s spending

Without a second thought or a hesitation?

Was she really confident and strong as she seemed?

Or is it the little girl’s wishful imagination????


In that little girl’s life

Most women shared a specific combination

Emotions were not revealed, opinions were suppressed

With lots of reservations

They held on to their black tightly

Least someone recognize their identifications

Their world seemed full of judging men

Watching for proofs of condemnation

So the women in black kept their covers tight

Protecting their reputation


Yet a single woman in black dared to show her face

Visible without a mask, in obvious relaxation!!

The little girl knew that something/ someone

Must explain that awkward observation

Of that visible woman in black


Despite the isolation… despite the limitations

As time passes-by,

The little girl grows in fascination

More visible women are out there

Raising their voices in frustration

They no longer accept second-places

They no-longer sat in resignation

The reality doors are shut but the virtual ones are forcedly-opened

With fierce determination

The women in black want their rights

Demanding full participation

Campaigning for municipal elections, driving,

Minimum marital age or right of self- representation

Commenting on international treaties for women,

Gender-equality, or women-rights affiliation

They are loud and visible

No longer silent, passive, or fearing condemnation

They write, blog, tweet, and post

In a constant flow of information

They build networks and constituencies

Unlimited by gender-segregation,

No longer helpless or maintained

As prisoners of infinite duration…


Yes, we are in a constant fear of social backlash

But the power of words defeats organizations

The little girl recalls the single woman in black…

Whenever she feels a hesitation…

Beautiful and powerful in her own way…

A woman, who defeats stagnation…

We will not be deprived

We are a different generation….

And if countries can be flipped over and start anew

In search of liberation

We, too, the women in black

Can exceed our own expectations…

Mai Sharif, first woman to vote at Saudi Arabia    Photo:


For the first time in Saudi Arabia’s history, women are able to vote, register as candidates and run for office in the municipal elections, held from December 12. These are the first polls since the 2011 decision by late Saudi King Abdullah to grant women the right to vote and run for office.

The little girl’s dream in Hala’s poem has become true.



“First Saudi Women Register to Vote.” – Al Jazeera English. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2015.



  1. An apt topic to write about, especially in this current global climate of turmoil. I hope this topic sees more discussion in the future to help disband threats to peace like ISIS.


    1. Hello, this is the author. I chose this topic because the women’s gain of the right to vote is also an important event. Also, Saudi Arabia was the last country in the world that did not accept political power of women in the past (except for Vatican City). To be honest, I wanted to write about ISIS and Syria, but I issued that as a topic already last week. Moreover, I can write about ISIS and peace any time, but the women’s gaining of suffrage in Saudi Arabia where the discrimination due to religion is severe, can only be issued this week since it happened this week. I am not trying to be rude to the victims of ISIS and you. Next week, I will consider writing about ISIS and world peace. 🙂


  2. To see the women of Saudi Arabia finally unveiled…wonderful and refreshing. God’s most beautiful, and most important gift to mankind should be adored, not kept hidden not silenced away.
    These women have been bullied, treated as property instead of the treasure that they really are.
    Any man, anywhere, would be so fortunate to have one of these intelligent, gorgeous women as his wife. She would be an asset to their household; an ideal partner for life.
    Reminds me, what Psalms says about women like these.
    If only they were “allowed” to have the life and husband they want.
    KSA would be much better off with them uncovered.
    It’s about time.


    1. Ms al-Desari, and the wife of the Saudi comic who was first women to drive a car, are easily the best that KSA has exported to the West. Better than gold. Proof of wealth properly invested in education.
      Sure beats the boring, offensive, usual hate-rantings one sees of the religious wrong along with the jihad that’s been exported.
      Pray that these women, and others, find their way to freedom. Freedom to love, to educate, to marry, to be the women that God our Savior created them to be.


      1. Hello, this is the author. I apologize sincerely for my terrible ignorance about Saudi women and their rights that I wrote on my upper comment. I do not know exactly what ‘oppressed’ these women from gaining their right to vote, and again I am sorry that I stated that the discrimination was solely due to ‘religion(Islam)’. I am not trying to be offensive to Muslims and their religion, for I respect Islam. Moreover, the ‘Jihad’ that is happening by only a small number of ‘certain’ Muslims has never and will never affect my respecting perspective of Muslims. To go further, I believe that this topic is very sensitive to discuss about, and I also believe that there are various factors that ‘oppressed’ Saudi women from gaining their right to vote although I am still not sure whether religion was one of the factors. Thank you, and I am sorry again for my ignorant statement.


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