By Fadia Basrawi
Fadia, a Saudi Arab, grew up within the strictly circumscribed and tailored 'desert Disneyland' of Aramco (the Arabian American Oil Company). This slice of recent, suburban, heart the US was once positioned in Dharan, one of many prime towns of Saudi Arabia, a theocratic Muslim state run in line with strict Wahabbi Shari'a legislations. ultimately, after simply short vacation trips in another country traveling family members in vibrant Arab towns like Medina, Damascus and Alexandria, Fadia moved to Beirut, the glitzy 'Paris of the center East', to wait highschool. In Beirut, she fell in love with a passionate and idealistic Lebanese journalist with whom she eloped opposed to her mom and dad' needs, for that reason getting stuck up in Lebanon's fifteen-year civil warfare whereas elevating a kin of 5 teenagers. delivering a desirable account of a Saudi woman's painful trip from naive Aramcon lady to lifestyles as a resident of a war-torn capital urban, this publication presents new perception into very various center jap worlds approximately which so little is understood by means of these residing open air the sector.
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Extra resources for Arabia's Hidden America: A Saudi Woman's Memoir
Non-observance of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan means jail for the Muslim and deportation for the non-Muslim. For the four out of the five required Muslim daily prayer times that coincide with opening hours, shops must close down for forty-five minutes, under the close watch of muttawa’a who patrol their assigned areas, rapping sharply on shop windows and often shouting ‘salaaah’ (prayer) at any unfortunate male caught outside the mosque. Unfortunately, women receive the brunt of the muttawa’a’s wrath.
It was located in a wide plaza known as the Raeess (leader), a reference to the Presidential Palace which was located just across the plaza from our house. To us as children, having the Presidential offices so near was a nuisance because of the constant 19 ✬ A R A B I A’ S H I D D E N A M E R I C A ✭ presence of guards that stood at attention round the clock, which created a headache for my young aunts who were banished from the front porch by my conservative uncles. Damascus during the fifties and early sixties was a beautiful clean, spacious city with wide boulevards and airy three-storey apartment buildings designed by architects from Italy.
If the Saudi royal family felt enforcement of the Wahhabi interpretation of the ‘purity’ of Islam was a matter of national security, so be it … as long as it was outside Aramco jurisdiction. The ulema were mollified into accepting the arrangement by generous funding from Aramco oil proceeds (originally earmarked for the royal family) for their quest to convert Arabia and beyond to Wahhabism. Until the early seventies, no muttawa’a lurked where Aramcons trod in the Eastern Province. We bought our vegetables and fruit from the nearby fishing village of al Khobar in pedal pushers and T-shirts.
Arabia's Hidden America: A Saudi Woman's Memoir by Fadia Basrawi