Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Saudi Samizdat

Juliet Samuel looks at chick lit in Saudi Arabia:

Much ado about a book on the love lives, sex and shopping habits of four rich Saudi girls. A modern epistolary novel, it's written as a series of emails sent to a Yahoo! group list serve by a mysterious, lipstick-wearing Saudi woman. In another world, it would be a trivial lip gloss narrative of life as a desirable young woman in Riyadh. But such a story can't avoid being political—and it turns out that chick lit is a convenient vantage point from which to critique Saudi society. Alsanea explores Saudi values in all their mundane invasiveness; this is a world where possessing The Nutty Professor on DVD is a political act, inviting social disgrace. And beyond the picayune restrictions lies blatant hypocrisy: the Saudi elites enforce dressing conventions at home and happily change into chic Western attire on the plane out of Riyadh.

1 comment:

R Hampton said...

Five Bahrainis released from Guantanamo Bay may each soon receive a 50,000 Bahraini Dinar grant (US $132,500) from the government. MP Mohammed Khalid said it is crucial the men receive compensation for the suffering and torture they were forced to endure in the US prison camp and so they are able to financially support their families ... Juma Al Dossary, who has dual Bahraini-Saudi nationality, was also among a group of 16 Saudis freed and transferred to Riyadh last month. "Look at what the government of Saudi Arabia has given Juma - a car, monthly allowance, help to find a job and to get married.
-- Geoffrey Bew, The Gulf Daily News

I track our "ally" Saudi Arabia and their three decades-long, global expansion of militant, extremist Wahhabi Islam.