Death in Riyadh: dark secrets in hidden Arabia

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Arena books, 2000. okt. 28. - 230 oldal
This is not only a travel book but a thought-provoking documentary on inter-cultural relationships between the different races and nationalities comprising the huge expatriate population and native Arab residents of the oil-rich peninsula.The many characters portrayed, presented in a variety of authentic stories encountered by the author on his travels, are centred around the horrific event of a public stoning in Saudi Arabia. Some of the stories have a humorous flavour, but all are concerned with the human problems - many of them poignant - of expatriates and Arabs alike, living cheek by jowl in a society of gaping contrasts.It would be simplistic to interpret the book as merely a critique of the harsher aspects of Arab life from a Western perspective, for in the cause of future concord, the author calls for a dialogue between the cultures of the Middle East and the West in the name of social justice and modernisation. The present strains, in what has become a multi-cultural society following the influx of millions, mostly from the Third World, anticipates the possibility of trouble ahead.The status of women is highlighted and discussed in several dramatic episodes, and a compassionate view is taken of Asian guest workers in the light of their widespread mistreatment in the Gulf.The rigidity of tradition would seem not merely to prevent the development of a modern mind-set, but in the perceived threat of Westernisation, to trigger an even more regressive attitude, as is shown clearly in this book. But note is also taken of the Arab outlook on the Western world, together with their horror of Western liberal values, and their passionate arguments for resisting change are recorded in detail.An element of suspense and mystery is maintained throughout the book as the execution of the condemned victim progresses through the narrative, only interrupted by recollections of other personalities and the stories surrounding them. Is the condemned person male or female? And what was the offence? No prior information is posted by the authorities on the public punishment or execution of offenders. The attitude of many readers to the horrific episode many change considerably as the true facts leading up to the execution are revealed towards the end of the book.The prolific travel writer, Peter Biddlecombe, writes:- "e;Brilliant! Read 'Death in Riyadh' and you'll never want to buy another gallon of Saudi oil again. Anyone with any sense of decency, let alone half-a-litre of justice, should buy two copies to read and the other to throw at Robin Cook's ethical foreign policy! A book of adventure and true compassion, and an un-put-downable read."e;

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Gateway to anxiety and fortune
The tales of Chander
In a Saudi home
A family in Jeddah
To be rid of a wife
Justice in a mans world
The grim capital
Values in conflict
Uncertain of the future
Families divided
A celibate in Doha
Apartheid between the sexes
Twilight of the European expatriates
The writing on the wall
Women and progress

The Yemen adventure

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