Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jerawi

I do not know of any crime I committed other than feeling for every wretched and oppressed person in my society.

Nouf is a journalist, blogger, and a human rights activist. She has been a supporter of constitutional reform in Saudi Arabia and has written about human rights violations and feminist issues in both her blog and in the Saudi feminist website, Noon Alarabiyah, both of which now cannot be accessed.

She recently stopped posting on Twitter, even privately, because she had been concerned about the possibility of arrest ever since an earlier wave of arrests of women rights activists, including the blogger Eman al-Nafjan in mid-May.

When she reappeared on social networks in 2016 after several years of absence, she and her family received warnings that the interior ministry was watching her. She was also targeted by troll armies with the aim of intimidating her and getting her to close her Twitter account.

When she reappeared on social networks in 2016 after several years of absence, she and her family received warnings that the interior ministry was watching her. She was also targeted by troll armies with the aim of intimidating her and getting her to close her Twitter account.

Before her arrest, she has given her friend and fellow women’s rights activist Mayya al-Zahrani a letter to be published in case of her arrest. Mayya published the letter and was, in turn, arrested on 9 June. The letter can be read below, along with Mayya’s preface:


Mayya Al-Zahrani:

It has been two hours since I have started running from one place to another so that no one sees my face as I cry and suffocate 😭😞

I can’t hold my tears…how come we have no place to go in our own homeland! How come we’re being pursued for defending people’s rights!

I cannot cry, nor speak, nor express how I feel even to those around me. I am fighting my sorrow, my silence, and myself, by god how am I supposed to do this!

How do I say that my dearest Nouf Abduaziz has been arrested? Who will understand me?

Here is the letter that the hero Nouf asked me to publish in case she gets arrested. I publish it so that we can delve together in sorrow and pray together in these holy nights…

Nouf bint Abdulaziz Al-Dosari:

I never thought for once that I will have to write such thing, to defend myself, and save what can be saved from the ruin that has beset me and everyone I love. Words escape me, how can I explain myself and my thoughts, my life and my ambitions, my dreams and my hopes, to people who may now see me as a criminal who deserves what’s coming for her. Perhaps they see that getting rid of me is the way to a better homeland. I know that many of them do not know me and have not heard of me before, and yet dare judge me unjustly and hatefully. Much has been said about how people rush to blame a victim they do not know for the ruin that has befallen him; they ask: “what did he do? what was his crime? He must have committed some crime.” This makes it easy for them to justify their inability and failure to help a human being who is just like them; a human being who was prosecuted and whose rights were violated; this human who is just like them, who is not any different from any of them; someone’s child, father, or spouse; a human who lives life not too different from their theirs, who works hard to make something of his life just like they do, which drives them to have compassion and empathy. And to help you feel this empathy for me, I greet you and introduce myself to you:

Al-salam ‘alaykum

My name is Nouf, and I am not an agitator, subversive, a terrorist, a criminal, nor a traitor.

I am a daughter to a great mother who, I believe, suffers because of me; I am a daughter to a kind and honorable family that has suffered because of what has happened to me. I am a graduate student who was not afforded the opportunity to finish her degree. If I have to describe myself in a few words, I’d say that I’m a writer, an avid reader since I was 6 years old, clever as my father says, and a quiet girl who’s mind if filled with many questions.

Beyond this rather naïve introduction, I will share with you some of the questions I always hold within me:

Why did our homeland become so unwelcoming to us? And why am I considered an enemy and a criminal who threatens its security?!

I was never anything other than a good citizen who loves her country and wishes for it to be better; a loving daughter, a hardworking student, and a dedicated worker. I would never despise, or hate, or envy anyone, so how would I ever do such a thing to my homeland?!

And I do not know of any crime I committed other than feeling for every wretched and oppressed person in my society, and I always try to volunteer to help them, either with my time or my effort, so how would this become my offense? I always directed those who needed help to the relevant agencies, of lawyers and human rights societies, so how can this be used against me!

How does corruption become so rampant that I am used by the corrupt to get promotions and fill their pockets with money at my expense? How is it possible for them to destroy my life, my present and future for nihilistic ends that do nothing but spread corruption on hearth, presenting our homeland in the image of as a repressive state with absolutely no capacity to think or reason. Who stands to benefit from all this?

It’ okay. Take my life and my health, and all that I have, if it benefits my homeland and brings it glory. Take my present and my future, and all that I love, if it pleases you and benefits our people. However, do not wrong me and dispossess me of my right to life, freedom, and dignity, and all that I have dreamed of and all that I have aspired to, so that I be just a sacrifice that benefits some private interest.

And Dear God: if what is happening pleases You, then I leave things to You. And if what is happening displeases You, then bless our people with insight so that they know that their sister has been wronged and that she deserves nothing but her freedom, dignity, and the embrace of her family from which she was taken away.