Saudi women’s soul-destroying lives

Clarke Isaacs reviews Rebel by Rahaf Mohammed.

Subtitled "My Escape from Saudi Arabia to Freedom", this memoir reveals the severe handicaps which face women in the country.

The author is possessed of an awesome ability to recall in detail the terrifying slings and arrows which women of all ages suffer there.

She provides example after example of how females are subjected to horrendous handicaps.

When she was 10, Rahaf Mohammed’s mother told her she did not want her to be around her brothers at all, because she would be a woman soon.

That was when she learned the meaning of honour.

Her mother sat her down beside her, struck a match and held the flame very near to her body.

She said: ‘‘Your body will get burned in life and even in the afterlife if you soil your honour or your family's honour.’’

After misadventures, Mohammed was granted asylum in Canada, raised under strict control in a male-dominated, wealthy household.

Her detailed memoir shines a light on the manifold, soul-destroying handicaps borne by women of all ages in Saudi Arabia.


Clarke Isaacs is a former ODT chief of staff


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