Juventus and Milan faced each other; the black-and-white club won the Italian Super Cup thanks to a goal scored by Ronaldo, but who really won the match were the Saudi women who for the first time were able to attend a sporting event and even going to the stadium driving their own car perhaps maybe with other friends. King Abdullah stadium – the 560 million dollar facility that hosted the Super Cup – was the theater of a unique show: the 15,000 women who attended the final between Juventus and Milan took another important and fundamental step forward on the long road that leads to women’s emancipation and to the respect for their values and rights. A road that Saudi women have started to travel also by car, and this thanks to the historical changes that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is introducing into the Kingdom.
Women in Saudi Arabia are living the dawn of a new Kingdom. For example, as confirmed by Leila Hafiz, an Arab-Italian woman, whose father is Saudi and her mother is Italian, who talked with Sky Sport about the historic moment that women are living in Saudi Arabia. “There are restrictions, it is true, but compared to the past, I consider it a step forward”. One of the best days of her life was when, at 16, her father for the first time let her go out alone to take a coffee with her friends. “For me it was an incredible moment of freedom. Today women open businesses and manage them. To witness these changes for me is something very beautiful.”
To the voice of Leila joins the that of Roberta Fedele, wife of whom during almost ten years was consul in Saudi Arabia. Roberta spoke with Sky Sport about the football event: “Events like the Super Cup are important because they encourage change.” She went to the stadium on Wednesday with some Saudi friends, without men and driving their car.”
Our friend, Stefania Moretti, told Almaghrebiya: “I often attend the stadium and I have visited all the Italian stadiums because I love football. What did I notice different than a match in Italy? Absence of “buuu” and insults to the referee! No vulgar chorus … for the rest, Olympic Stadium, Juventus Stadium or the Vicente Calderón are the same. I hope this first step forward brings in the future: more emotion! Beautiful and happy Arab sisters, the sweet child who broke into the field … Many years ago it also happened to us. It was exciting. A beautiful experience.”
Focusing on sport as an antidote to radical extremism has proved to be a winning bet; Coubertin’s phrase is really appropriate: the important thing is to take part; and we saw the participants in the thousands of images shown on television during the final: the images of women with and without veil; women wearing sweaters, carrying banners, hats, red and black and white and black scarves; images of women that can go out with their friends and that have the right to enjoyment; free women to be women.
In Saudi Arabia we have witnessed this important match towards emancipation, towards the future of human rights. In contrast, in Qatar, for example, will radical extremism, the promotion of terrorism and the exploitation of workers be kicked? Never, as long as we continue to provide support and defense and doing business with Doha.
C.P. & S.H.D.