Friday, June 1, 2018

A Princess on a Cover of a magazine ; it is Vogue

Vogue Arabia has not made such noise since its launch in March 2017 in the World as what meant to be a huge positive image for the Saudi Kingdom is turning into a negative move in a very wrong time.
Vogue's Controversial cover
Vogue Arabia's Controversial cover 
June issue of Vogue Arabia features Princes Hayfa Bin Abdullah Al Saud on its cover behinds of a red convertible car with the big headline “Driving force” in bold
The fashion magazine which is based in Dubai is celebrating “the trailblazing women of Saudi Arabia” and how they are granted the right to drive their own cars in summer 2018 at last after years of fighting for this simple right.

The issue features an interview with Princess Hayfa who has been an advocate for women’s rights since the days of her father late King Abdullah with a glamorous photo shoot along with features about rising Saudi women stars in various fields whether sports or modeling or acting.
Now there is one problem regarding that cover and that special file about Saudi women’s progress in the era of Prince Mohamed Ibn Salman “MBS”.

It comes at the same time Saudi women activists who worked hard for women’s rights in the Kingdom are being arrested, imprisoned as well humiliated in the worst inhuman way every.

Just as the Holy month of Ramadan was starting from two weeks ago, Saudi authorities launched a new crackdown campaign against women activists who have worked for decades to grant Saudi women’s basic rights including the right to drive.

Prominent women activists like Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Youssef were arrested for receiving money funding from enemy elements abroad and working for “undermining social and religious constants” as well recruiting officials in sensitive state positions.
In other words, those activists are facing espionage charges which can lead them to the death penalty if they are convicted.

Photos of the first six activists arrested in that crackdown were featured in Saudi Arabia’s biggest newspapers and labeled as “traitors” even without a trial.

And then the Vogue Arabia’s cover comes featuring the Saudi princess and her car in the desert.
Many people believe that Vogue Arabia Cover credits the princess something she did not or did not fight for as fiercely as those ladies currently detained.

I do not have the slightest idea on why those activists were arrested and humiliated in that way especially there activists among them who praised MBS and the reforms he made so far.

My only guess is that MBS is trying to please the Conservatives by getting rid of the highest voices demanding more women's rights !?

The crackdown against those women' activists actually blows up the idea of Vogue’s special file about Saudi women in the era of MBS era. It actually proves that MBS is not that reformer and modernizer of Saudi Arabia as his media PR machine is trying protray in the West.

People in East and West to be honest angry about that Vogue Arabia and they have too but there is important fact that they are neglecting.

This is Vogue Arabia, not the Time or The Economist or Even Teen Vogue’s US edition !!
Vogue Arabia’s editors care less for those Saudi women activists or regular Saudi women.
Vogue Arabia’s target readers are the A Arab women class, mostly from the Gulf care less about those Saudi women activists.
I do not know even if Vogue Arabia is distributed in Egypt or not despite Egyptian models, designers and actors as well renowned public figures are constant in its issues since its launch based on its website.
I have not seen it in newsstand and it is not an issue to bother for me because I know very well that Vogue Arabia and its mother publication Vogue do not regard us, the majority of Egyptian women as its target readers in the first place.

Speaking about the mother publication , I can not forget how Vogue published a special feature including an interview for Syria’s first lady Asma El-Assad in February 2012 calling her as “A Rose in the Desert” as the protests in Syrian towns were crackdown violently at the beginning of the Syrian revolution before it would turn in to a civil war by the end of 2013.
Under pressure, Vogue removed the feature which turned out to be Syrian-government -funded-interview and feature.

Back to Vogue Arabia, its editor Manuel Arnaut does not see anything wrong about the cover. In a statement sent to the BBC, he said that the publication “highlights and discusses key issues related to womanhood in the Arab world" adding that using Princess Hayfa helped magnify their message. This is what he said.

Anyhow, I like Vogue Arabia’s cover featuring Somali-American Iman and Egyptian/Moroccan Dutch Model Iman Hammam.
Vogue's Controversial cover
Vogue Arabia's March 2018 issue
BY the way, did you know that Iman Hammam could be the first Egyptian Moroccan model to be on the cover of American Vogue ??
Despite both ladies are not living in the Arab world but still, it was truly lovely cover featuring the two Imans.

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