Clinton Voices Her Opinion in Saudi Women's Driving Campaign

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton originally chose what she referred to as "quiet diplomacy" concerning the Saudi Arabian women protesting the unwritten ban on their right to drive in the kingdom until the arrest of Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi technology consultant and mother on May 22nd. Supporters launched a campaign to free al-Sharif, collecting more than 100,000 signatures and calling on 156 countries for support. A few Saudi women even committed the crime themselves, turning the key in the ignition to begin a motorized protest (Dougherty).

The Saudi Women for Driving, a coalition for women's rights activists, bloggers, and academics campaigning for the right to drive, expressed their disappointment by Clinton's public silence. Previously, Clinton announced women's rights a top issue for American diplomacy (Dougherty).

"Quiet diplomacy is not what we need right now," the group said in a letter. "What we need is for you, personally, to make a strong, simple, and public statement supporting our right to drive" (Dougherty).

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland defended Clinton, saying, "There are times when it makes sense to do so publicly and there

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