by Carmen bin Laden. 2005. Grand Central Publishing.
A Swiss woman of Persian origin, Carmen was married well before 911 to one of the 29 brothers of the infamous UBL. The author tells of a promising marriage gone bad. The main message is about the oppression of women — so exhaustive in Salafist Saudi Arabia that it is all encompassing. Most women in the ‘power structure’ of the Kingdom are shown as accepting the complete domination of their lives and minds, their future and their children’s future by a version of Islam in which submission to men is pretty well total.
Many of the apparently urbane, civil, engaging men of the princely and privileged families in the Kingdom are seen as immoral, ego-driven and hypocritical when living in the west versus the way they live in their homeland.
The book reads like a description of the the ancien regime of France – except this is now and the Kingdom is best friends of the USA for obvious reasons. Real democracy, women’s rights, anti-racism, religoius tolerance — all are crushed within the Saudi autocracy and we in the west say nothing because the Saudis control the oil.
How our heroine escapes this hell with her children makes a good read.