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Articles tagged "Saudi Arabia"

Raja Alem’s “The Dove’s Necklace”

Work took me to Iran seventeen years ago. I was one of only two women in our group, the other an Iranian who moved from Tehran to London years earlier. On the advice of this colleague I dressed very conservatively during my stay, even by local standards. Each morning, before departing my hotel for business meetings, I cocooned myself in a chador that she lent me—a leftover from her Tehran high school days. Black fabric draped my body down to my ankles and encircled my forehead, ears...

Rizana

(Note: This story is based on the life of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan girl convicted and subsequently executed in Saudi Arabia for the alleged murder of four-month-old Naif al-Quthaibi.) “Aunty, when will Rizana come? Any news about her?” Rizana’s cousin (a relative likely to marry her) works for a multipurpose store for a meager salary. He hadn’t known of her departure for Saudi Arabia. Had he known, he would have stopped her going. But no, everything happened...

Abdelrahman Munif and the Uses of Oil

“The most fabulous geological event since the explosion of Krakatoa surely was the discovery of oceans of petroleum beneath the dark and backward Muslim realms of the Persian Gulf.”  This portentous judgment of natural history and politics (and religion, and more, the more you reread it) came not from an evangelical pulpit or a Tory backbencher’s stemwinder. It was the opening sentence of John Updike’s review of Saudi dissident Abdelrahman Munif’s...

The Well

When Rafa‘a died, the last human desires in the bosoms of the people of Huzum village were extinguished, most of all in the bosoms of its women.  The burning desire for Rafa'as comeuppance sputtered out, for when a person dies, her memory grows flimsy and her human presence melts away…  She is no longer a threat to us because she is better and more beautiful than we are; instead, she becomes a weak creature because she dies insignificantly like every human...

Mukhtar

When my mother asked me to spend the summer in her brothers’ house in the south, I employed every sophistry of my sixteen years—an age when only a mother pays attention to your budding philosophy of life—to explain to her that life forces surge northward, that the south, from which she and my father came, was becoming obsolete, that Ibn Khaldun (who had inspired this claim) was a great man, that the money could be better spent on a vacation, and that her brothers were...

August 2011


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