- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Gloria Steinem has a veil over her eyes. She is obviously quite blind to life in Saudi Arabia and several other Middle Eastern countries (“Gloria Steinem compares U.S. ‘reproductive freedom’ limits to Saudi Arabian subjugation of women,” Web, April 22). Having spent considerable time in Saudi Arabia in several cities and with Saudis there and in the United States, I can say it is inconceivable that any person with a modicum of grounding in reality or common sense could make such a statement as Ms. Steinem did.

In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive, must be covered at all times in public, live in a house that has one side for their female friends while the men entertain on the other side, walk quietly behind their husbands on the street, and so much more. I remember knowing a Saudi couple in the United States. When encountering them in a mall, I could have a pleasant discussion with both. In Saudi Arabia, if I encountered them on the street, the wife, of course, would be nearly unrecognizable by being covered in a dark material and would be quiet while I spoke with the husband.

Until recently, education for women was considerably less extensive than it was for men, as were work opportunities. In hospitals, men take care of men, and women take care of women. I remember when I would fly out of Saudi Arabia — as soon as we were in international air space, the Saudi women would take off their near-total coverings to reveal modern clothes. Suddenly, they were free, at least from that restriction.

Ms. Steinem should live in Saudi Arabia for a while.

JOHN NEWLIN

Wilmington, N.C.

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