Will the real Norma please stand up


The BBC reports:

A controversial book about the honour killing” of a Jordanian woman has been withdrawn by publishers in Australia after the author was accused of fabricating the story.

Norma Khouri’s Forbidden Love was a best-seller in Australia. It is a first-hand account of a Muslim woman’s death, murdered by her father over her relationship with a Christian.

But an Australian newspaper says it has uncovered dozens of inconsistencies. The author stands by her story.

Forbidden LoveThe author sounds very sincere in an interview where she talks about how emotionally upsetting it was for her to write the book, and how she was shaking with fear for her life on the flight out from Jordan. It seems the Sydney Morning Herald conducted an 18 month investigation into the veracity of Forbidden Love.”

It reminds me of a quote byAnn McClintock to the effect of how Europe has tried to civilize the Middle East by disrobing their women, and civilize the Africans by making them wear clothes. Looking at the cover of the book, with its mysterious veiled woman with her kohl darkened eyes, it certainly invites one to buy the book and open its covers to disrobe this mysterious Oriental creature who holds God knows what secrets of cruelty and passion. Norma may be a disturbed person or just a clever hoax, but what about those people who were more than willing to publish her, represent her and make money off the book. And what about all the people who get their fifteen dollars worth of satisfaction of not belonging to such a barbaric culture.” And what of those women who actually have to deal with domestic violence, whether they live in Lahore or Columbus, Ohio. And finally, can the women from Ohio dream of having their books published with so much alacrity and end up on a best-seller list?