Monday, November 30, 2009

Susie of Arabia Interviewed on GHADA'S WORLD

I 'm pleased to announce that I have been interviewed on a fellow blogger's blog called Ghada's World.

Ghada's World is a relatively new blog written by a young American Muslimah convert who lives in Utah. That alone makes Ghada's World very interesting.

Ghada has published a variety of other interviews with women on her blog as well as writing about some of her own life experiences.

I thought she asked me some pretty tough questions that really made me stop to think - and that's a good thing!

So click on over to Ghada's World to read my interview!

23 comments:

  1. Great interview Susie. I wonder if your husband reads it? Of course, it's probably nothing he doesn't already know.

    I like your new pic.

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  2. Hi Susie! I really enjoy your blog. I currently am living in a place where the values don't exactly line up with mine either, so reading your blog is a little reminder that I'm not alone! Plus, I just enjoy reading about other parts of the world. Totally on a side note and not meant to be creepy, has anyone ever told you that you look a lot like Stevie Nicks??

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  3. Hi Gaelyn - My husband doesn't generally read my blog, but he is aware of my feelings. Thanks - the new pic was taken last month at my reunion in the states.

    Hi Lucky - Thanks for your comment. It's easy to feel isolated and alone in another country, and I find that the internet helps on so many levels. And no one has ever told me that I resemble Stevie Nicks, so thanks for the compliment! I love her.

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  4. Susie,

    Your interview was interesting and you are the soul of diplomacy. I have always thought that male dominated societies speak of respect for women as driving their actions, but it is really fear that keeps women under their thumbs.

    If anyone can institute change in that attitude, it would be someone like you who could suggest alternative mind sets in a non threatening way. But, of course, that means that the men would have to be far more courageous than they are now and conquer their own fears. It seems easier for them to rely on the crutch of the religion.

    And I agree that when the metaphors of religious experience become regarded as fact, it loses direction and true meaning.

    Your picture is lovely. I hated hats growing up as well!

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  5. Hi Linda -
    I don't know about someone like me being able to affect any change here; I have a hard enough time trying to convince my stubborn husband of seeing thikngs from my perspective!
    Thanks so much for your comment.

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  6. Great new picture of you! It is so rejuvenating I thought it was from "the good old days"! LOL :)

    I read your interview with great interest. I do hope some changes happen for you over the next little while, so that living in Saudi Arabia won't be such a disconnect from your previous life--within the confines of the culture that is.

    Working, transportation, and hijab seem to be major challenges where in fact there is maybe more room for manoeuvring than you currently experience. Also, while living across the hall from inlaws is a common feature of life in Arab countries, it is far less common in North America, and you have certainly seemed to go from having no inlaws nearby to having them very close, which is an adjustment for anyone in any culture.

    I do wish you all the best in this ongoing adaptation.

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  7. Awesome interview Susie!I'm jealous,Sleep 'till noon? I wish I could just sleep.I feel like I'm living in another country these days so in a way I can relate to so much of what you said.Funny how red-neck chauvinism has so much in common with other places.........

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  8. Susie,

    Your blog is fascinating. I'm a writer and an Arab culture enthusiast. I find your blog to be an insightful treasure. I read your interview on Ghada's blog. At times, I wanted to cry. Your bravery is inspiring. I thought I knew what sacrifice was all about. You Susie, have sacrificed more for the sake of love and family than anyone I know.

    Up until reading your blog, I had a naive view of what life for a Western wife in Saudi was like. I love film and it's power, ability to affect the way we see the world. I've always loved glitter, fantasy, and luxury. Sadly, before this blog, I stuck reality in back of my mind.

    Life in Saudi isn't a veiled adventure through luxury shopping malls and floating from one compound to the next. Children are in the streets at night selling packs of gum for pennies, beloved teenage sons are being robbed, women are losing their children left and right to an unjust court system, and every day women like you risk so much to provide us outsiders with more than the fluff and fabulous frill the Hollywood and Bollywood directors are affording us.

    Susie, I thank you.

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  9. "great interview Susie!"

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  10. Excellent interview Susie. You seem to be well-schooled in the art of diplomatic replies, as noted by a previous commenter. As a PR professional, I can say that this is a difficult thing to accomplish -- saying enough to answer a question but knowing at what point your expertise ends. I think a few of your responses were a bit too much on the order of "Well, everyone's different", but as rule, it's better to err on that side than to speak of things you can't know about.

    One point in particular caught my attention: the idea that much of the of the world regards the kingdom as backward and "third-world" for policies such as driving restrictions. I'd have to agree and I think that's going to be a fundamental issue that Saudis will have to grapple with...and are grappling with. On the one hand, it's clear that other countries and other individuals do have this attitude; yet it would appear that the Saudi powers don't care...as well they shouldn't if they wish to be true to what they consider their Islamic mandate. So it's an impasse. But at some point, if the collective soul of KSA rises up and says "All righty then, we do wish to be considered an equal partner among the world's leaders and to foster tourism and have people willingly come here to work," they'll need to reconsider that stance.

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  11. Susie what a remarkable interview. I've left you a couple of comments there.

    So many times while reading you I felt upset and distressed. I feel for you.

    The mention about wearing the veil in semi-public occasions where some other women don't wear it shows that your husband isn't the most open-minded of all, and it made me cringe.

    I'm glad you've got access to the internet at least - isn't it a fantastic networking tool?

    I wish you all the best Susie.

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  12. Hello Susie

    I haven't commented on your blog for a while as I've been very busy, but I've thought of you.

    As I've commented before, it really does sound challenging to continually experience the restrictions that must be a fact of life for women in KSA. I'm sure if I lived there, the travel/transport restrictions would be the most difficult to endure as it would be so hard to have to rely upon others.

    The pictures you took in a previous blog of little boys driving suggested that the level of trust the lawmakers in KSA have for women is less than the trust they may hold in the driving capacity of boy children - given that women face arrest or severe harassment should they risk driving.

    I hope your transport issues can be resolved and that in the meantime your male relatives can be understanding of your need to go places.

    Wishing you well from Australia!

    Kristina

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  13. Hello Susie

    I haven't commented on your blog for a while as I've been very busy, but I've thought of you.

    As I've commented before, it really does sound challenging to continually experience the restrictions that must be a fact of life for women in KSA. I'm sure if I lived there, the travel/transport restrictions would be the most difficult to endure as it would be so hard to have to rely upon others.

    The pictures you took in a previous blog of little boys driving suggested that the level of trust the lawmakers in KSA have for women is less than the trust they may hold in the driving capacity of boy children - given that women face arrest or severe harassment should they risk driving.

    I hope your transport issues can be resolved and that in the meantime your male relatives can be understanding of your need to go places.

    Wishing you well from Australia!

    Kristina

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  14. Susie I love reading about your life in KSA and your interview on Ghada's World and can only admire you for your strength in adapting as much as you have to what would be unbearable restrictions for most Western women.

    I know this may sound like a silly question, but are women allowed to ride bicycles or drive motor scooters in Saudi Arabia? I imagine the answer would be no as it could be a little dangerous to do so while wearing a loose flowing chador which could be caught in the wheels. Another (silly?) question. Do women ride horseback at all, for sport or pleasure?

    Love your blog, regards,...Sharon.

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  15. Hi Chiara - Thanks so much for your support and encouragement.

    Hi Always - Sleeping until noon isn't all it's cracked up to be - feel like I'm wasting my life away...

    Hi CultureWatch - I really appreciate what you said - thanks for taking the time to write. You made my day.

    Hi Veeds - It's obvious that the Saudi government doesn't care how it appears to the rest of the world, especially where human rights issues are concerned. Individuality is discouraged here and organized dissent is illegal. I don't know what it would take to effect any real change here...

    Hi Nathalie - I thank God every day for modern technology, specially the internet. Without it, I wouldn't have lasted here very long at all! I'm ok - don't worry about me.

    Hi Kristina - Well, hubby has gotten my son and me a car - now all we need is a driver. He's working on it! Thanks for commenting and good to hear from you again.

    Hi CanaryBird - Females are prohibited from riding bikes or scooters here, the reason being that it would reveal the shape of her bottom from behind. Women can go horseback riding in private settings, like riding clubs. But Western women are more likely to be the ones to ride horses here instead of Saudi women. Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. It was great reading your article. You are so honest and insightful.

    I have been a single mom for a long time and therefore my kids depend on me for everything and I've gotten used to doing everything on my own. I can't imagine being at home for long periods of time. I think I would feel like my limbs were tied down. Much luck to you on your continued journey. :-)

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  17. I love your interview. You have such a warm face and kind attitude. I love it that you say your religion is kindness. I was sad, though, to read that your husband makes you wear a covering, when you don't want to. That's unkind.

    I hope you keep your free spirit and open heart, no matter what goes on around you.

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  18. Susie, your interview is great!
    My life is boring too! So you’re not alone!:)
    We live in a compound and every time leaving the house for example for dinner is like...in the western world: travelling to another city even if it's only 20 km to the Cairo center! Traffic is so bad!
    Yesterday my husband walked about 3 kilometers because an accident on the road. They sat there already 1,5 hrs, after that he had enough. A huge truck full of sand had fallen down.
    That happens if not daily, weekly at least.
    I don't feel comfortable out there.
    In Egypt it's not like in KSA. It’s much easier for a woman here but not as free as in Europe.
    I think I could never live in KSA. You said it like this: “As a woman, I want to be able to make decisions for myself, without limits or restrictions.”
    I want and need to feel free not like a prisoner.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  19. Susie! Thank you so much for doing the interview with me. My friends who have read the interview find if very interesting.

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  20. Susie,

    I have a feeling that once Adam, Captain Kabob, goes back to the U.S., you won't be far behind. It's hard for a mother to be separated from her children.

    And, you're 58. Where do you want to grow old, especially if your beloved husband dies before you do?

    If it were me, I'd want to be near my children in my older years, or sooner. I can't imagine you missing out on Adam's college years. But, that's just me; I'm not you.

    Just some thoughts.... I'm thinking that in 5 years, we all will be reading "Susie in Seattle".

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  21. Susie, you are a celebrity!

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  22. Great interview and great picture!

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