tv QA with Manal Al- Sharif CSPAN July 17, 2017 2:43pm-3:46pm EDT
toup grade technology at federal agencies. his opinion of u.s. cyberdefenses, and his proposal for a cyber national guard. representative hurd is interviewed by "politico's" cybersecurity reporter tim starks. >> the idea of the cybernational guard is, if you're in high school and want to go to college and study cybersecurity, we're going to find you scholarships you graduate, you have to come work for the federal government. not at d.o.d., but at the census bureau or at social security. you'll do that for the same amount of time that you got the scholarship for. and then when you fin herb that time in federal service and you go to work in the private sector, the private sector is going to loan you back to the government for the proverbial one weekend a month or let's say 10 days a quarter where this is going to improve the cross pollination of ideas between the
public and private sector. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. the s week on "q&a," author of "daring to drive: a saudi woman's awakening." >> you have a book called "daring to drive." why did you write this? >> i gave a speech, people cried at the speech, gave me two standing ovations this never happened in the history of that
conference. when i came down the stage this lady came to me and said, when are we going to read your story. i told her, who would ever be interested in reading about my insignificant life? but that really sparked the idea of writing this book. > when was that? >> in 2012. >> where did you give the speech and why? >> it was freedom forum hosted by rume heights -- human rights foundation, based in new york, they invite activists from all around the world to tell their store roifs standing against tyranny and fighting for human rights. >> let's start from the beginning. where were you born? >> in mecca in the year of trouble, 1979. >> your parents, what are they like? where were they born? >> yes, mom, she's from libya. north africa. she met dad because of fate. she met -- kept her hadge and
met my father in mecca my father is from mecca. >> what is hajj? >> once in a lifetime for muslims who are able, it is required to perform hajj, which is visiting the holy site of mecca and performing certain rituals to make your faith complete. >> picture on our screen right now, what is that? >> this is my home city, mecca. i mess mecca. >> who can go there and why do they go there and how important is it? >> mecca, it's for muslims only. non-muslims are not allowed to visit. mecca and medina are the two holiest cities. you go for hajj once in a lifetime, or you go far visit, a
small version of hajj that you can do any time of year, to visit the holy site of mecca. >> do you have any idea how many people have died there at the hajj or in mecca around this cabba. >> died for what? >> saddam peds over the years we've read about them, so many people there that you might have thousands of people die? for happened a few times some reasons that they explained why. the last -- not the last -- i can't remember the last time it happened, which, over 1,000 died. but it's not really open, the security there is very strict and they always have hundreds of thousands of people organizing hajj for the muslims. i did hajj myself as a devout muslim you do it once in your lifetime.
the accidents happen in big gathers. -- gatherings. when you talk about a million muslims in a small city the size of mecca, between mountain a valley between mountains, accidents does happen. >> what do muslims get out of going there? what's the purpose? >> in islam you have five pillars of islam. to be full muslim, you have to fulfill these five pillars. the fifth pillar in islam, the first pillar, for example, is to believe in god, there's no god but allah and muhammad is his prophet. and the last pillar of islam is performing hajj. this is why muslims go to mecca to have the full faith, to become full muslims, i would say. >> how long do you spend there? >> for hajj, it depends on how long you want in there but for the hajj days itself, you don't have to be there more than a week. but people like to spend more time in mecca. >> who paid for it? >> you pay for it,ern pays for
himself. we believe that if you pray, so when we pray, god listens to our prayers but in mecca, each prayer you make it's worth 100,000. that's why it's very important for the muslims to go there. you can pray one year and if you go to mecca, you stay there one year, the deeds you get from mecca, being in mecca, praying at mecca, it's worth years of your lifetime. >> in your book, one thing -- i read your book, i'm not sure, maybe i missed it. but what would you say your muslim faith is today? >> me? i'm muslim. >> you believe. againstieve in god, i'm -- >> one thing in your book when the prophet is mentioned, it
says pbqh and the number seven. >> it's a sign of respect to the prophet muhammad. if i mention the name of any prophet, adam, abraham, moses, this, thanksintain to god for giving us, for leading us to faith, to god, the truth. >> what's the most important thing to you about being a muslim? >> a lot of things. but i think the peace that you get being the muslim, the peace that you get believing in god. and it's interesting that people have this misconception about islam, that it's the ideology of hate we see today and violence. it's not -- islam itself means submission to god and the first -- and the first thing when you meet a muslim, they say peace be
upon you. it's peaceful. it calls for morals. it calls for good deeds. it calls for a lot of good things in society that they want to have there. what we lost from islam is the preaching and the scholars, they are emphasizing on trivial things that made us lose the sense of islam which is being in peace with yourself, being in peace with the other, accepting mercy. we lost that when it became political. political item. >> when did that start? >> islam or any other religion, in the muslim world when you use one faith against the other you call them infidels.
any ideology used to gain power, that's when it becomes dangerous. >> where do you live now? -- we just moved to sydney, australia. >> that's where you live now? >> yes >> y are you married? >> i am married to my second husband and we have a boy. >> your first marriage ended in divorce. how is your -- the young man you had -- >> my first son. he's right now he's 11 and my second boy, he will turn three next month. >> why did you pick australia? >> long story short my husband is working there now but he didn't want to go back to brazil because it's violent. he wanted to go to a country where he can have a better life for our kids. for daniel. >> you tell us in your book a lot about your divorce. >> yeah.
>> why? >> not a lot, did i talk a lot in the book about the divorce? >> enough. >> i just talked about, because it was so difficult for a woman to get divorced because she's not supposed. to dint get support from the family, they were against it. i explained it's an abusive relationship. and the saudi court is not a friendly place to women. the it's so hard for a woman to get divorced. it's really difficult. but for me when i got divorced it was kind of liberating. i left my husband. >> you talk about how you met your husband in the first place and another relationship you were interested in that didn't develop. give us that, when did that all happen? >> my first husband -- >> a man you were interested in before you met your husband, you talk about your personal life and all that. what year did all that happen? >> my first husband was my first
love, i wasn't interested in any men before. so i grew up in a society where men and women are regulated. my own cousins i cannot see they will. once i got my period, once a girl reaches puberty she is not allowed to see men they feel on men i see in my life is my father and brother. the first time i interact with a man who was not my father or brother, i got my first summer job. i was 22, i remember it was interesting to see, to find i can work with all these men and talk to them for the first time in my life after reaching puberty. i don't know if i'm pronouncing it right. i got so many questions, actually, but it would last for a week and make sense later on because i was not allowed to be introduced to men, to know how
they talk, what they think, even just talk to them. you couldn't -- that leads to bizarre situations that leads to bizarre feelings. >> what are the rules? and where do the rules come from on how a woman lives in saudi arabia? >> the first rule for a woman is her -- her place is her home. not her job, not education, not the mosque, not outside. in her home. so it's highly encouraged for us to stay home and if i ever want to leave the house it should be for urgency, for something really, really important. i have to have a man's permission to leave the house my husband , my father. also the separation between the sexes. you find it in all, every where. if you go to a bank if you go to a government office. always the men and women are segregated. the schools, the university.
when i went to university, i never see my featurers, most of them were men. i never talked to them. i see the class on tv. this is how i used to see my teachers. we were not allowed to talk to them. she would n a class, call if you had a question, and ask the question. this is how you grow up. and the list of things you cannot do being a woman was huge drink anything in public, i was to cover my face, not to talk to men, it wasn't encouraged to use our first names. so in school they would call -- if my father is outside, i'm not aloud to be standing outside. they have to call me through the mike, the security guard , he calls through the mike or the gate keeper, he calls my father name. he doesn't call my name and the
list goes on and on. >> let me interrupt a second and show a picture, we have two still photographs i want to show you and have you explain it. this is the first one. >> this is in saudi arabia. they show the hands, feet, things are different now. we were fully covered and we one with the the face because in mecca it's very different. >> what's the difference between this and what you had? >> this is the new generation they don't accept to cover their face. abbayas.re wearing i insisted on wearing colorful scarves and i was totally different than everyone else. but now more and more girls wear the co-larful abbaya. they are pushing the rules to be able to choose the clothes they
want, the decent, modest clothes they want. but it shouldn't be black. >> how much of what saudi arabia requires of women is because of the prophet laid down these laws years ago? >> how much from -- >> is it from the prophet or is this created by this ekingdom right now, their own rules? >> ok, there are rules from the prophet, for sure. but it's all about the interpretation of these texts that comes from the prophet so there are, the five pillars of islam we follow. but there are rules that are meeting the are not 2017, the 21st century. one example, at the time of mohammed, they expect a woman when she travels to have a man companion. makes sense because at the time when you travel, there will be
chief thieves and killers, you would be in caravans and cam else. i don't need a guy to carry -- to come with me and protect me, he's not going to carry a gun to protect me. when the rules are taking from a book 1,400 years ago, it should be reinterpretted to meet the current situation. that's problem we face with islam when they say you cannot interpret it any way but it should be done exactly the same way it was done in prophet mohammed's time. for example, cutting hands, you cannot tell me now we have correctional facilities and still cut hands. this debate is going on with a lot of courts. it terrifies me when they still insist we cut hands. >> have you ever known anybody who had their hands off? >> who? i haven't known, but it was
carried out in saudi arabia. i haven't heard about it recently but it has been carried out in saudi arabia. >> what if you announced yourself, or they find out you're homosexual what happens? >> you get killed you cannot announce you're homosexual in saudi arabia. religion is very -- i tried to stay away from religion. i'm at peace with every single different faith and belief and sexual orientation. but if i mention these things in country, it's -- you cannot discuss homosexuality in my country, for example. it's something that is it is something that is taboo that we cannot talk about in saudi arabia. i keep these things to myself and i am taught to teach these things without offending the believer. the things i believe should change in my country and has no base, in islam you are pushing on us. brian: would you explain -- and you mentioned this about your
mother and your father and your sister and teachers and others that beat you as you were growing up. when you say beat you and your ex-husband, what does that mean? when somebody -- define beating. manal: growing up, my generation was expected to discipline your kids with a stick, a bamboo stick. it was expected in the school if you don't behave you are disciplined with a wooden ruler so we were brought up this way. so mom and dad would discipline in the house if they thought we misbehaved. the same thing happened it in the school. one boy was killed because his teacher beat him badly. they ended it beating in the school.
but the beating in the houses happen. there was anti-domestic violence law that was passed, it is not enforced, but it is a good start to stop this cultural stats that you can physically abuse someone. brian: who beat you the most in your lifetime? manal: my sister. she did it the most. brian: where was the most severe beating, i am leading up to whether or not that was your ex-husband. you refer to him as k. manal: i have my share of beatings growing up in saudi arabia. that ended, my marriage, it was because of physical abuse. not only the emotional abuse. brian: what was his physical abuse be like? manal: with the hands, punching. brian: did you have any place so go when your ex-husband was punching you? manal: in saudi arabia if you would go to the police and
report the man, they would summon him and they were not to beat her again. the problem is she gets sent to the same abuser's house. girl who was 29 years old, she was beaten, she complained against her brother who is younger than her. her father complained against her to drop the charges and she was sent to jail, not her brother. social media when into frenzy, they let the girl out, six months later she is living an abusive house, she leaves the house, they put her back in jail for the crime of being absent from her abuser's house. that is a problem that we don't have, even if there are shelters for women in saudi arabiya, it's poorly, poorly managed because they treat those abused women, victims, as criminals. they lock them in those houses.
she made the guardian to sign the paper to leave the shelter or jail. there is also a story of this girl who ran away from her abusing -- abusive family, they caught her in ma nilia. on her way to australia. they caught her in manila, handcuffed her and conduct taped her mouth. she is in jail. this is what happens to abused women in my country. brian: i want to play for you an interview in 2016 with turkey who was at the time ambassador of saudi arabia to the united states and we talked about women in saudi societies. it's not very long. about 40 seconds. [begin video clip] >> the most prized woman today in saudi arabia is a woman with a job.
she is encouraged by her parents to go and find a job because she brings in income and they do not have to spend money on her. her siblings look up to her and want to do like her. and adequately important she is sought after by suitors. i think this is what is going o happen to women driving to people going to common events together. social change is what will drive these factors. [end video clip] brian: what do you think of what he said, that was 11 years ago. manal: oh, is it? brian: where were you 11 years ago? manal: i was working at aramco. brian: what do you think? manal: i agree that social change is what we need in saudi arabia. i always -- and this is the beautiful thing about saudi arabia, by the way, the government invests so much in women's education. i got free education, i went to
computer science college and women can study for their masters degree and phd degree and even bachelor's degree fully covered by the government. they invest a lot in our education. the problem is, the frustration is when i go back home i don't find a job because we are only 14%. it was 11% like two or three years ago. now we're 14% of the work force. we are highly educated women, half of society but can't find jobs. and i believe a woman can't reach her full potential unless she gets a good education and has financial independence from the man so she can't rely on -- i do agree, an educator working woman is what saudi arabia needs today. brian: i want to show you an old video of aramco and i want you to explain what aramco is.
this is a short clip to give you a sense of what it looks like. [begin video clip] >> his majesty, king of saudi arabia. he had faith that somewhere within these far-reaching sands was a key to a richer life of the people who had known scarcity and want. perhaps this country, so unproductive on the surface, might contain minerals on the surface, including oil. on may 29, 1933, after weeks of discussion, there was a meeting at the palace on the outskirts of jeddah. it was there that saudi arab government officials representing his majesty signed a concession covering 320,000 square miles, this was the starting point of a new american business venture abroad. [end video clip] brian: reportedly the company aram could he is worth between $1 -- aramco is worth between $1 trillion and $10 trillion.
nobody knows for sure. what is aramco? manal: right now it used to be he arraignian american oil company. the government in the 1980's but all of the shares. it became fully known by the saudi government. now it is known as the arabian oil company. aramco is in charge of producing oil, all of the oil field under the control of aramco is the largest -- in 2015, i believe, was the largest producer of oil in the world until america took over. that's aramco. it was started by americans, now it is fully own by saudis, but it did inherit the discrimination laws against women from the americans and was not changed in the last 80 years. the company started in 1933. 1933. brian: so you're blaming america for the discrimination against women? manal: this is an interesting thing. when the company started, and i
know women who worked at aramco before it was owned by the saudis. there was a lot of discriminative laws by americans against women in this company. that's interesting. the saudis inherited it and kept it. maybe they created their own rules. i don't really know the history. it is a very secretive company, they tried to keep a very low profile. they don't like bad publicity and they're going public next year. they like only to see -- to keep their low profile. in my book, there is a whole chapter where i bring up a lot of policies that are in just -- injust and discriminating against me for not only being a woman but also being a saudi woman working at aramco. brian: what were the years you worked there? manal: i join in 2002. i quit my job in 2012. it was the only place for me, we were 60 girls graduating from computer college, we were
only two girls from that whole 60 girls class. got jobs. i was very lucky to get a job with aramco. because for me at that time in 2002, there were no jobs for me. to work anywhere. brian: what was the difference between living in the aramco compound and living in the rest of saudi arabia? as al when i joined in 2002, a saudi woman i was not allowed to live in the compound. i was not allowed to live a -- not even allowed to rent an apartment outside the compound. the government wouldn't allow me to rent an apartment as a woman. i was not even allowed to stay in a hotel because the government also would not allow me to rent a hotel room without a man. it was 2007, out of policy the company allowed women to live in the compound. that is when i got my divorce. when i found a place to stay, i eft my marriage.
starting in 2007 at the company. brian: where is your son? from the first marriage? manal: he is in saudi arabia with his grandmother. brian: not with his father? manal: no, not with his father. he took him from me after i got married again and he is living with his grandmother. brian: when can you see him? manal: i always see him. he lives in my grandmother's -- his grandmother's house. more of my own mother too. brian: you can go in and out of saudi arabia even though you do not live there? manal: no, i wish i could go back to saudi arabia. my second marriage is not recognized and approved by the government. for a man and a woman applies to move any have special permission from the minister of interior which they would not grant me until now. i know it is because my activism. so my two sons have never met
each other. i cannot take my second son with me to saudi. under the saudi law i am still divorced. i was five years married. my first son cannot visit me or leave the country. brian: when can he leave the country. manal: he leaves the country with his father, but not with me. brian: at what age is he independent? manal: 21. brian: so you have to wait until he's 21? manal: hopefully when he's a teenager he can speak up for himself, and he requires and demands the right to visit his mother. brian: how many times have you been in prison? manal: just one time. sometimes they write multiple times but no, he it was just -- it was just one time. the first time i was in detention, they arrested me and released me. the second time i was sent to prison for driving while emale. brian: is that an actual term they use in saudi arabia?
manal: yes it was on my paper. driving while female. brian: what do they mean by that. manal: it means a woman driving a car. brian: why is at a big deal? manal: they will come and really argue that it's a society issue. woman can drive. the society does not want them to drive. but when i go out and drive, society doesn't stop me. i drove, there were other cars there, none of them stopped me. the one who stopped me were the authorities. we told them there is no law that prevents me from driving. the traffic status code doesn't define the gender of the driver's license holder but they insist that we cannot issue you a driver's license even if you go and apply for a driver's license. they say it's the custom. it's complicated. in saudi arabia. i always think it's a political issue. has nothing to do with society, religion. it's a political decision to allow women to drive or not.
brian: what year did you do the famous video? manal: 2012. brian: so we're talking five years ago. manal: sorry, 2011. brian: six years ago. manal: yes, six years ago. brian: i want to begin to show it, then i will explain it. here you are behind the wheel. what town are you in? manal: i am 10 minutes from aramco. sed to live in [speaking arabic] brian: explain what we are watching. manal: a woman driving. this is what we're watching. brian: who is shooting the video? manal it was my amazing and inspiring activist friend.
ironically i never met her. i met her because of this movement. brian: what impact did this video have? manal: when we posted it on youtube, it was trending. not only in saudi arabia but around the world. they were watching, what's going on with this video? i got 700,000 views because of his video. i made sure to show landmarks in the city because they kept saying, no, women cannot drive, it will never happen. i proved, no, it can happen. brian: what led up to your decision to do this? manal in 2011, we had the arab spring going on. everybody wanted to bring social change. there was a lot of frustration with corruption and unjust laws. we had the ban in women driving. i was in 2009 --
brian: you were here in the united states? manal: in new hampshire, the live free or die state, i got -- at the age of 30 i got my first driver's license. when i went back to saudi arabia ways paying -- i bought my car in 2007 and it was the year 2011, almost four years later, i finished paying the car loan. i cannot drive it. i have a driver's license. i cannot drive it. i almost got kidnapped because it was late at night looking for a taxi and i couldn't find a driver to take me back home. all of this frustration with all of these years that i live in a country where there is no public transportation. there are no city where i could walk. a woman to leave the house or do anything in her life, she needs a car. to function, to drive this car, she needs a man. so the movement was june 17, which is coming in two days --
three days, actually, and this movement is simple. we said june 17, we will go out and drive because we want to normalize women driving. you never see women driving in the streets in a huge country. the size of texas -- you can put three texases inside saudi arabia. we wanted to change this by this movement. the movement is going on, it never stopped. we're still campaigning for the right to drive. for us, the right to drive is more an act of civil disobedience because women are not supposed drive. we show that we are able and capable of driving our own lives and being in the driver's seat of our own destiny by showing this act of civil disobedience. brian: that people saw you in a car and would yell whore and
say nasty things to you? manal: that is when i was walking alone on the street. when i drive the car, no one talks to us. they were looking at us. they couldn't believe i was a woman driving and talk to his wife or talk to people around them and they would let us go. brian: why do the men care so much about women being covered? manal: in saudi arabia, it is a global issue when it comes to a control over a woman's body. it is a battlefield for men. you have to do something a certain way or have to cover up because your body doesn't belong to you. it belongs to the man who owns you or the men, i would say, how they want to look at women. this is what bothers me a lot. brian: how nasty were people to you when you were uncovered? manal: really nasty, especially in my hometown. it was so difficult that i had to put my headscarf on my face because they would not approve women walking without covering her face. things are changing now.
i can go freely now without my face being covered. especially the young generation are helping the people questioning your belief for being un-- for uncovering your face. brian: explain this. this is from the program "frontline" and these are the religious police. we will see this and i want you to explain who they are and what they are supposed to be doing. [video clip] their countries islamic laws, he saudi religious police. dressed in traditional islamic clothing, they patrol the streets and shopping malls. their official title is the committee for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice. activists have been filming and sharing videos to expose their practices and to show ordinary saudi's standing up to hem.
they force women to cover themselves and drive people out of cafes to go and pray. these rules are based on a strict form of sunni islam. it is the religion on which saudi arabia was founded. brian: who are the religious police? manal: who are the religious police? brian: who picks them? manal: the government. picks them. it's like a ministry, the head of the religious police. it used to be this way. it has changed now, thankfully. i wrote a piece about it in "the new york times." i call to really cripple the absolute power they are giving when they walk in the streets, being able to arrest people for
reasons they don't understand because they don't have a list f sins that they will check adherence to following these i would say laws or the sense they have to check that no one is committing. very subjective. they would go on the street, out of the blue you're sitting talking to your friend in the cafe, he would come and say, your eyes -- you're putting so much makeup -- if you're uncovered now. you could -- i remember my brother was once -- he -- it was a very crowded place. they were waiting in the mall and he put his hand around his wife. they arrested him for doing that. why do you show signs of public affection in public? and he said, he's my wife. i am protecting her from the people around us. he was arrested. and he was interrogated. he was locked. they used to do these
things. they chased two boys on the car -- they played their music loud. they pushed them over -- they forced them to be pushed over a bridge. both brothers died on the national day for listening to music in their car. things have changed now. i think it was last year when they had to take the power of arrest from them. they have to call the police if they see something that is un-islamic. the we religious police have always been a problem in society because you don't feel a normal life there. you always feel you are being watched. your morals are always questioned. it is always subjective. in the mood of the religious police man, member, and he would insalt you, call you names, beat you without facing any consequences. brian: go to your prison
experience, who arrested you and why? manal: in prison? brian rr when they originally arrested you and put you in progs, who did that? manal: i was arrested the first time on purpose because i wanted to get arrested. the second time i drove, i was with my brother. i proved the point that i did not break a law. i broke custom. they are not allowed to arrest me. the same day at 2:00 a.m. they sent the police to my house. at the aramco compound. the police could not go into the compound. i was arrested and sent to jail without a trial in 2011. in may. brian: where were you? manal: i was in my house in aramco. brian: where did you go to prison? manal: in the women's prison.
15 minutes from bahrain. brian: how long was it before you were in the cell? manal: it was right away. they came at 2:00. i didn't leave with them until 4:00 a.m. so from 4:00 a.m. around 2:00 p.m. i was in jail. i was at the women's jail. brian: how do they treat you between the time they pick you up and the time they put you in the jail cell? manal: so they have waves of interrogation. he said, it's fine. we have questions. sorry to bring you in. they ask the question. the guy disappears and things change. they do another interrogation but this one they take away your phone. they took my brother away. they took my bag and brought a woman, a prison guard woman. sitting next to me while they are doing the same interrogation, the same questions. i was stripped searched when i arrived at the prison. brian: by a woman?
manal: and they didn't explain why i was there. i said, can i talk to my family? can i call a lawyer? and they refused to do that. i had to plea and insist. once i am in jail, i don't know. will people know that i am in prison -- and for what? what was the crime? no one explained to me. it was just interrogation. i had -- i managed to get a call, my sister-in-law, and i lled her and said, she was the one from my group managing twitter. i said, tell her to tweet about it. she said, what is a tweet? he did tweet i was arrested and sent to womb's prison. brian: so there are men on the side of women wanting to be more open? manal: oh, my god, of course. my brother was with me when i drove the second time. my dad was the one who got me out of there and went and talked to the king. brian: but you said your dad was mad at you a lot. manal: things changed. i changed growing up. from an innocent person to radical islam to more moderate
islam and open and more activist. brian: your family lived in poverty? manal: yes, but once you get a job and once you work, the three kids, it's much easier to move out of poverty. there is a way to move out of poverty in saudi arabia because education is free and once you get a good job, you can move out of poverty. most of my generation, or at least the city where i live, which is a poor city, it's not rache city, mostly my generation, they picked up their family, they moved their family out of poverty. to go back -- what was the question we started with? brian: you were in -- talking about your parents living in poverty. the thing i want to get to and the prison experience, cockroaches. describe the cockroaches. it is even a title of one of the chapters. manal: prison bars and cockroaches. i think all women hate
cockroaches. when i mentioned cockroaches about prison, it is to tell you about how filthy it was. it was dehumanizing. it was very humiliating, the situation in the prison. i was deeply shocked about how women get strip searched and go in the prison crammed in this room. brian: how many in one cell? manal: i can't remember but we had 12 bunk beds in each cell and the cells were small. the 12 bunk beds had more women -- more than 12 women, of course. they were women with their kids in jail. they gave birth to these kids in jail. it was sad. it was shocking to me, the situation there. i brought it to the attention -- because most of the women there were non-saudi. brian: non-saudi?
manal: more than 90% of the women there were not saudi's. brian: they leave the lights on 24 hours? manal: yes they leave the lights on 24 hours. the bathrooms did not have doors. there are no mirrors so you forget what you look like. brian: no mirrors the entire time you are in prison? manal: no. i think for particular reasons they don't allow it because they could use it as a weapon. there were children with us. there were kids there in jail. the whole situation was humiliating. the first night for me i slept on the floor. they didn't give me anything. they pushed me. i was taken from my home, interrogated. i was pushed in jail. no one told me why i was there. no one explained to me what i should have said. it was staggering. it was the most shocking experience i went through. brian: how much did you -- i don't know how to ask you, did you sleep with the cockroaches?
were they crawling on you? manal: over the food, over your hands, over your face. they were everywhere. they live with you. to the way you get used to seeing them around you. brian: how long were you there in that cell? manal: i was there for nine days. there was an international rally that led to my -- brian: how did you have an international rally? who helped you? manal: that video got the attention of the world. when i published that video, we were a group of women, it was not only me. i was made the face because no one else wanted to do the video. i was crazy enough to go out and drive and i became the face and the world knew this was a girl who drove, she was sent to jail for driving. my tweet. i talked to cnn, by the way -- 2:00 a.m. when they came to my house, i picked up the phone with a reporter who did i an interview a week earlier and i told her there are people, i
have no clue who they are, i have no clue where they are taking me, please, write about this thing and she did she wrote about it. brian: so where do you get -- i don't know what you call it -- i shouldn't use the word chutzpah, but where do you get the strength to do all this, where did you learn how to do all this? in other words, get the attention of the media, find an agent, write a book, all of that, where does this come from? where did you learn this? manal: i didn't even know i needed to find an agent. i knew i wanted to write a book. i think when you know what you want, things just manifest in your life. i wanted to drive because for me driving is a way of emancipating women because i believe that driving is the key to change our situation in saudi arabia and to end the male guardianship inside saudi arabia. this was my belief.
i had no clue that driving would be the symbol of resistance in saudi arabia. we use it as a symbol of resistance. i wanted to write a book, i had no clue what to do. i talked around me, activists. and one friend said you need a book agent. he introduced me to a book agent. peter bernstein, my book agent. i met robert, around the human rights watch. the first thing he told me, you should write a book. his father, my agent, i met him and he said, you should write a book. you planted that seed that i should write a book and i just said -- who would read my story, really? brian: you give credit to a woman, who is she? manal: i had five different collaborators.
to be successful in writing a book, you need two things. the first one, finding the right agent who believes in you, who will always be there, which i was very blessed to have peter and amy as my agent. and finding the right collaborator. i had very disappointing experiences with the previous collaborators. i had to sit down and i said, peter, i am done with collaborators. i do interviews for six months and then they disappear without giving me a single word. because i write. i always wrote. i blogged. i wrote stories. i wrote it in arabic. translated it in english by a native speaker. and then one showed up as my fifth collaborator after i wrote most of the book which good news, she had transcripts of my interviews before plus my captures and ated
she did a fantastic job. i didn't have faith, really, in her because i was mad at all the previous collaborators and i had no clue. she did a fantastic job. brian: lyric is the wife of jay. historian we have here all the time. the name bernstein is a jewish name. is there any irony to this that you had a jewish agent? manal: my best friends really are jewish friends. they are the most successful. they are the ones who make things go, make things -- and they are most connected. i'm very proud that i have them as my friends. one of them is daniel who introduced me -- someone who introduced me to my agent. and then the american jewish committee in new york. brian: why do you think that is?
manal: i think because they have been persecuted in the past. they have been blamed for all of the evil in the world. that made them -- that made -- when you really corner someone, when you prosecute someone, that makes them choose, one, to adopt the fate of hate. or become really successful. that's a beautiful way of resistance. most successful friends i have are the jewish friends. brian: i want to ask you a couple more things. i want to show you some video of your hometown of mecca. a very rich place. sa. loss and lots of money. why in the world would mecca look like this? [video clip] >> i will show you how people live here. >> he brings a hidden camera to
the edge of the holy city of mecca. >> people are living in real misery here. children selling things. oh, my god. look, it's a dump. ook at the sewage. the way money is spread, it is kept among the ruling family. it's not spread to the people. only what's left, the crumbs are spread to the people. brian: that is from frontline, in 2016. the name of the program is called "saudi arabia uncovered." manal: i agree and disagree. we get a lot of benefits for free. by the way, i disagree getting benefits for free. i want to pay taxes and get the benefits because i am paying the taxes.
i don't want any giveaway from anyone. i agree that we have over 66 slums in the holy city of mecca. i lived on the outskirts of one f the slums. a lot of muslims come from very poor countries to mecca and they stay. legal immigrants. and most of these legal immigrants when they stay legally, they build their houses in the mountains illegally. their kids don't go to school and that creates all these enclaves of illegal immigrants, a lot of crime, a lot of poverty there but also the meccans like me -- i am the original people from mecca from abraham time. we didn't have a park, for example. they didn't have infrastructure in our city. and mecca makes so much money out of religious tourism, and this
money does not go to mecca to build infrastructure in the city, to make it clean, to make it livable for its own people. people are too afraid to speak up against this. in a country with an absolute monarchy, speaking up about the distribution of wealth and corruption could get you in jail, arrested, or in so much trouble. brian: here's the second question that ties into this. a country that is a religious state, how have you kept your faith? when you have people that are leading this country, a religious state, that have done all these things that you just explained to us? manal: how i kept my faith? my faith has nothing to do with them. i know whatever they promote is not the real faith. it's a version of the faith. the ideology of hate that we are fighting against is not the great faith. i come from my grandfather --
we had faith. it was just used in a political way to gain political power. that's the thing i am against. when you come to this realization that your religion is being used -- abused and misused, you become angry and you try to go back to the true islam that's calling for peace and coexistence. doesn't matter your color, your tongue, even your religion, i respect you. i respect your relidge o.j. i respect your faith. as long as we live in peace. brian: am i an infidel? manal: no, you're not an infidel? according to one, anyone who doesn't believe in their way or their interpretation of islam is an infidel. that includes other muslim faiths, the shiias, that's their version of islam. i believe we are all human. doesn't matter what you believe
in. -due, buddha. religion should be used to call for peace. we need a dalai lama in each religion, islam, that calls for forgiveness, for co-,isting instead of calling for hate. brian: what would you think the prophet would think today about the atmosphere in saudi arabia? manal: he would be very angry. brian: why? manal: that's not the true islam. it's not what he called for. calling for hate, this has nothing to do with islam. it's un-islamic. to call for the hate for the other. he had the jewish living in medina. are d the coptics, who christian. hat's happening today is using islam for political power. for me that's unholey. for me that's something that -- that's unholy.
for me that makes me really angry. brian: do you have any idea what the leadership in saudi arabia thinks of this book? mannle: i haven't read it yet but finally after years of being indoctrinated, the government is acknowledging hat they made a mistake. all the religious books that we were studying are being changed. they removed the part about hate for the infidel. they removed these parts so they're acknowledging that after it backfired, after our own sons and daughters backfired. when you have terrorist attacks, when we suffer more attacks -- more than in europe, for example, we have people going to mosques and bombing these mosques. friday is the holiest day for us in the week. they realize it's a mistake. now there are a lot of things
happening to, i would say, rebel those ideas but the problem is not here really. did so many s we wrong things in the past, how do you go and undo them? when you have the same ideology being taught for people who come for scholarships in saudi arabia and go back home with that ideology, how do we undo this? that's why you have radical islam being on the rise in very peaceful countries like indonesia which is the largest muslim country in the world. how do you undo this? that's the important question today for the saudi government because they have a big responsibility for spreading the ideology of love and coexistence. as it was before when they spread the ideology of hate.
brian: our guest lives in australia right now married to her second husband. has a child -- how old is the young child? manal daniel will turn 3 next month. brian: the name of this book is called "daring to drive." manal al-sharif, thank you for oining us. announcer: for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q-and-a.org. these programs are also available as c-span odcasts. >> and live coverage now from the white house. the president already having toured a large machinery display set up on the white house grounds in order to kick off made in america week.
>> and we're live here on c-span at the white house. this is a made in america week event being hosted as president trump highlights american manufacturing. the house will also be gaveling back in in about an hour. we'll have live coverage from the floor on that. while we wait for the president, president trump expected to make remarks here during this made in america week event, we'll take a look at our conversation from earlier today on immigration and border security. this is from -- host: a few moments about the border patrol council, who is it and who supports it? guest: it's the union for the agents. wh w