Arabia's Hidden America: A Saudi Woman's Memoir by Fadia Basrawi

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 USA was once positioned in Dharan, one of many best towns of Saudi Arabia, a theocratic Muslim country run in keeping with strict Wahabbi Shari'a legislations. ultimately, after in simple terms short vacations in a foreign country traveling kin 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, to that end getting stuck up in Lebanon's fifteen-year civil struggle whereas elevating a family members of 5 teenagers. delivering a desirable account of a Saudi woman's painful trip from naive Aramcon lady to existence as a resident of a war-torn capital urban, this e-book offers new perception into very various center jap worlds approximately which so little is understood by way of these dwelling outdoors the sector.

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My gentle peace-loving and devout grandfather, who doted on my mother, had tried to get his emotionally unstable wife’s edict reversed but eventually acquiesced for the sake of peace and harmony within the house. Such details did not matter to us during our childhood years; we were only aware that she was never a Brownies’ troop leader, room mother or PTA member. She turned our side yard into a chicken coop so we could eat fresh eggs and brought about complaints from the neighbours because our rooster was keeping them up all night.

28 ✬ T H E D E V I L’ S P A C T ✭ Apart from that singular incident, spiritual events in Dhahran were homely occasions for inter-communal socializing. Holidays were one big visiting spree as our homes filled with American and Arab friends wishing one another well. On the days of our Islamic holidays, the Christian Aramcons dropped by to wish us a ‘Happy Eid ’ and on Christmas Day we returned the call. Dhahran’s commissary sang gaily with Christmas songs as it overflowed with Christmas ornaments and glowed with fairy lights, gold-gilded Whitman’s Sampler chocolate boxes and Drostes’ chocolates wrapped in silver with plastic fir trees sprinkled with plastic white drops of snow.

This created tense relations between our parents and ourselves as we developed a vision of the world around us not in line with theirs. The radio songs that I loved early in my life were not sung by the popular Arab singers such as Shadia, Sabah or Um Kulthoum on the Sawt el Arab (Voice of the Arabs) radio station that my parents listened to but rather were those songs sung by Ricky Nelson, Bobby Darin and country singer Johnny Cash on Aramco’s radio station. My siblings and I dropped everything to watch Rawhide, I Love Lucy, Ozzie and Harriet, The Ed Sullivan Show, and Howdy Doody, and surreptitiously turned the television off and tiptoed away when any Arabic-speaking programme came on-screen before our father spotted it and forced us to remain seated.

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