My husband worked in Saudi Arabia for five years and I got the chance to see life in the desert kingdom from 1995 to 2000 when I went there with my children.
The culture was very different to the one we were exposed to and it took a while getting used to life and segregation of males and females. Though they had fancy cars women were not allowed to drive, and even a 10 year old boy could do so but not the women. Male members were treated on a higher level than women.
I often wondered what the women must have felt in such circumstances . I read many books by Jean Sasson who had lived in Saudi Arabia and written interesting books on the lives of women in particular. It really opened my eyes to the gigantic problems many of them faced.
The book "Princess: More tears to cry", talks about how some modern male members in the family genuinely try to understand their women and better their lives . At the same time the majority of Saudi women are controlled by the males in the family who torture and even murder them without any fear of breaking the law, as they have the power of doing so. Old customs try to subjugate women and there are very few who can educate themselves and stand on their own two feet though they have the brains and capability to do so.
In this book, Princess Sultana tells us about some development that has come about with her efforts, as well as some very committed doctors and social workers. Together they are fighting for the rights of women who have no voice against sexual abuse, rape or forced marriage to men who are very old. Even though the Princess is from a wealthy family, she is still answerable to the male members in her family and as long as they are good to her she can continue in helping women and children. I am glad to know the princess is helping women when she could have turned a blind eye to the plight of women in her country. She is courageous in doing this work.
I think you will find this an interesting read as women living in other more emancipated countries will appreciate the fact that we live on equal terms with our men folk. We have a lot more freedom than women in Saudi Arabia who have to hide behind the veil at all times.We are lucky to be able to achieve our dreams on our own terms.
Title: Princess more tears to cry
Author: Jean Sasson
Reviewed by Kanchan T, Blockhouse Bay library.
Kanchan loves reading biographies and stories to do with other cultures.