Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Saudi "love children"

From Arab News:
She looked Arab but spoke, in addition to English, a Southeast Asian language. When asked about her origin, she said her father was Saudi, who left her mother and returned to the Kingdom, said Najeeb Al-Zamil, a businessman and Saudi columnist, who met the girl by chance while abroad.

The girl worked as a masseuse, serving tourists at their private accommodations. “She was not the only Saudi-origin girl abandoned in that country or in other countries,” he said.

“Unfortunately, after four years the girl died at the age of 17 with HIV. ... She was not the only victim in the family. Her mother also had Arab features and she too was abandoned by her Saudi father as well,” Al-Zamil said.

“We tried to reunite them with their family in Saudi Arabia but both Saudi fathers left no trace and we failed to help them... The only thing we managed to do was to move them to a better home,” he added.

Al-Zamil said it was a reality that many Saudis fly to the Far East, get married, have children and then simply leave.

Another heartrending tale is that of a 14-year-old girl called Salma, not her real name. At the age of seven her Saudi father left both her and her mother, and returned to the Kingdom.

Salma left school early and began working at a bar and as a model featuring in low budget advertisements. She was nicknamed the queen of advertisements. However, life’s experience has left her bitter about men, Saudi Arabia and Islam.

In spite of everything, Salma’s mother, who had converted to Islam to marry her father, had still brought her daughter up as a Muslim.