Interesting piece in Saudi Gazette, translated from its Arabic sister-paper Okaz. Universities and Saudi government offices are now requiring women to have individual ID cards. But someone forgot to notify the Department of Civil Affairs, responsible for producing such IDs. The result is a pile-up at the Department as hundreds of women all seek the ID cards they need. The article also notes that traditions of cultural conservatism are playing their own role in the havoc.
Female students, workers clamor for ID cards
RIYADH – Saudi students and working women are thronging to the Civil Affairs Department here after universities and governmental facilities made it compulsory for them have a national identity card.
The department, however, has only 29 employees who found it impossible to serve at least 600 applicants who turned up on Wednesday. Bigger crowds are expected on Saturday when the work week resumes.
Hind Khaled who thought there would not be a rush for the ID card during the ongoing summer vacation for universities and schools, said she managed to get her card only after a week of submitting her application, though delivery was supposed to be made on the same day or the next at the latest. Amnah Aseeri, another applicant, said she has been waiting for two weeks to change her identification from a family card to a personal ID card.
However, delay is not the only problem. One applicant, who identified herself only as Reem, said her father had refused to accompany her since he was against her submitting her photo for the card. Hence she had to bring along a friend to attest to her identity. Reem said she submitted her application along with her photo. She hoped that the media would do more to educate parents about the need and requirements for women to have their own ID cards.
As a passing note, I’d like to let readers know that I’m not asleep at the switch here. There just hasn’t been much of interest in Saudi papers or in other papers reporting on Saudi Arabia of late. I suspect that with Ramadan just around the corner, there’s going to be even less of general interest to report. I’m not slacking, though. Right now I’m reading a couple of books that I’ll be reviewing soon.