Mother turned to me and saw my admiring smile I was awed by her anger and for a

Mother turned to me and saw my admiring smile i was

This preview shows page 38 - 40 out of 163 pages.

Mother turned to me and saw my admiring smile. I was awed by her anger, and for a brief, shining moment, I felt God would not desert us. Sara would be saved. But I knew Mother’s life would be one of misery when Father heard of her words. Knowing Father, he would be angry, not sympathetic, toward Sara for her desperate act, and he was sure to be furious with Mother for
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defending her daughter. In Saudi Arabia, the elderly are truly revered. No matter what they do or say, or how they behave, no one dares confront someone of age. When she faced the old woman, my mother had been a tigress, protecting her young. My heart felt as though it would burst from pride at her courage. After three days, without calling once, Sara’s husband came to the clinic to claim his property. By the time he arrived, Mother had discovered the source of Sara’s agony. She confronted her son-in- law with contempt. Sara’s new husband was sadistic. He had subjected my sister to sickening sexual brutality until she felt her only escape was death. But after Father traveled to Jeddah, even he was repelled when he heard of his daughter’s sufferings. But Father agreed with his son-in-law that a wife belonged with her husband. Sara’s husband promised Father that his relations with her would conform to a life of normalcy. Mother’s hand trembled and her mouth stretched in a howl when Father told her of his decision. Sara began to weep and tried to leave the bed, saying she did not wish to live. She threatened to slit her wrists if forced to return to her husband. Mother stood over her daughter like a mountain and, for the first time in her life, defied her husband. She told him that Sara would never return to the house of a monster, and that she, Mother, would go to the king and the Council of Religious Men with the story, and neither would allow such a matter to continue. Father threatened Mother with divorce. She stood fast and told him to do whatever he had to do, but her daughter would not return to swim in such evil. Father stood, unblinking. He probably realized that in all likelihood, Sara would be forced by the men of religion to return to her husband. If the past were any precedent, they would advise the husband to deal with his wife in the manner spelled out by the Koran, and then they would turn their backs to such a disagreeable situation. Father stood, staring, analyzing Mother’s resolve. Askance at her apparent resoluteness, and wanting to avoid public interference in a family matter, for once in their married life, he gave in. Since we were of the Royal Family and he did not wish to sever his ties with my father, the husband reluctantly agreed to divorce Sara. Islam gives the right of divorce to men, without any question of motive. Yet it is very difficult for a woman to divorce her husband. Had Sara been forced to file for the separation, many difficulties would have arisen, for the religious authorities might have ruled, “You might dislike a thing for which Allah has meant for your own good”, and forced Sara to remain with her husband. But Sara’s husband
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