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when a smartphone app allows men to monitor women

“All over the world, citizens know the hassle of having to take a day for any formality, if only to renew a passport or driving license … But not in Saudi Arabia! With the Absher app, tell farewell to this nightmare! Absher, it's your 'lamp genius', it makes your life easier with a few clicks on your phone! “

This revolutionary application, if advertising is to be believed, does not make life easier for everyone. Not that of women, in any case: in Saudi Arabia, they remain all their life under the tutelage of a father, a husband or a man of their family – their “guardians”.

It is especially for them that the Saudi government has created the Absher application, which allows access to all kinds of online services, but also to control the movements of the people in their charge. This patriarchal system in force in Saudi Arabia is called the wilaya, and it is he who fled Dua and Dalal, two young sisters who confided in “Special Envoy” in Turkey, where they took refuge.

“We control you with technology”

With Absher, the latter automatically receives a notification if his wife or daughter requests a passport, tries to book a plane ticket or shows up at airport customs. “There, as we passed customs in Turkey, explains Dalal, on our father’s Absher, it’s marked “Dalal in Turkey”, “Dua in Turkey”. “” The app gives control of everything about you to your keeper's cell phone, continues Dua. We control you with technology. “

For them as for most Saudi women, the wilaya and Absher were part of normal things … It was before a family trip, where they saw for the first time a woman behind the wheel. That day, they realized that the rest of the world lived differently. Dua remembers: “As soon as we crossed a woman behind the wheel, I shouted 'It is a woman who drives!' Even today, here in Turkey, every time when I see a girl driving, I stop to look at her, She says, when it’s completely normal. “

Extract from “Les fugitives”, a report to be seen in “Special envoy” on February 13, 2020.

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