Hisham Fageeh has become a global internet sensation after his tongue-in-cheek version of a Bob Marley classic went viral. He offers a satirical take on the Saudi ban on female driving, poking fun at one cleric’s assertion it could harm reproductive organs.
Speaking to euronews he remained coy about social activism, though his Twitter account cites the hashtag for the Women2Drive campaign.
“If I’m being ambitious, I’d like it to get to people’s pages, newspaper pages and onto their television sets,” he admits continuing, “and for people to think that Arabs and Saudis can joke and they can laugh. I think that’s what is really important to us – that people abroad understand that.”
One of his well-known comedy cohorts was cited as quoting Oscar Wilde when he wrote: “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” The group’s Youtube channel garners around 1 million hits a day.
Saudi Arabia has one of the highest per-capita use of Youtube in the world, meaning viral videos could be an effective tool for social change,
On Saturday, several women risked arrest for defying a ban on driving and posting videos online.
Though there is no official law banning women from driving, they are not issued licenses.
The action on October 26 was the third such attempt to provoke debate in the conservative country about women’s rights. Though the government had issued a firm warning that women would be arrested, it appears no such measures were taken, sending mixed messages to the activists.