Thursday, August 26, 2004

Forbidden Love by Norma Khouri

Look at what I've just discovered! I read a post in a BookCrossing forum the other day about this non-fiction book was in fact a fiction, resulting her book withdrawn from sale. The publisher recommends bookstores to do the same and has refused to publish the sequel. I read in local newspaper yesterday saying the same thing. Norma lived in Chicago when she was 3! Not in Jordan!! And there was no Dalia.

From back cover:

"Author Norma Khouri and her friend Dalia were like sisters. Since the age of three they were inseparable, sharing in all the childhood joys that a modern, middle-class life in Amman, Jordan, had to offer. By all appearances, they seemed very much alike: Like most Arabs daughters they lived under the jurisdiction of their male brethren, and each was expected to enter a marriage based on family honor - not love. But Norma's family was Christian, Dalia's was Muslim, and each of the girls was bound to age-old religious customs and traditions that would someday tear them apart.

Dalia is twenty-five when she falls in love with Michael, a Catholic. Their relationship is more than just a crime in the name of Islam: It is grounds for an "honor killing", a practice that remains legal in Jordan today. Still, Dalia would have sacrificed everything - her relations, her beliefs, even her homeland - to be with Michael... until Dalia's family finds out about her haraam, or forbiden love.

NORMA KHOURI is a poet and author of short fiction. As a result of the events recounted in Honor Lost, she was forced to leave Jordan. She lives in Australia."

I have the book here with me actually - part of a bookring by fellow bookcrosser, but haven't read it yet. I'm a non-fiction lover. It's frustrating to learn this new discovery done by an Australian press. It was made public like a month ago. AARRGGGHHHH!!!

I've read some articles on this. Her lawyer said that she's compiled crucial evidence to prove she did live in Jordan between 1973 and 2000. But everyone is somehow conviced that she didn't based on 18-month investigation by the press.

I'm going to just quote from here:

The following comment comes from a young, Jordanian Christian woman, so I hope it will be regarded as useful insight.

I have not personally read Khouri's book, I know people who have (Jordanian women) and who were shocked by the exaggeration it holds. Anyhow, the author can write whatever she wants to, as long as she does not attempt to convince people of a lie. The lie is not about "crimes of honour" which do exist not only in Jordan but sadly in a lot of countries. The lie is that Khouri only lived in Jordan until she was three, that is when she emigrated with her family to the USA. The whole story is a fabrication, and this was revealed by the Australian Sydney Morning Herald, in collaboration with a Jordanian NGO, which by the way is fighting against the so-called crimes of honour. Please take some time to know the full truth, check the Jordan Times newspaper online, or the Sydney Morning Herald.

Things are not perfect in Jordan, nor anywhere, but I am proud to be a Jordanian woman, conservative but not oppressed. If Khouri's aim is to advocate women's rights, it would not have been through a scandalous and profit-oriented manner, but rather through political and social activism.

Tania Haddad

Amman - Jordan

I agree with Tania.

-some links for info-

Random House Australia | Middle East Information Center | The Daily Star | ABC Online | Absolute Write | Religion News Blog

** The book is also sold under the title Honor Lost

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