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Once I lived in a harem

(11 Posts)
LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 10-Oct-13 12:28:17

This week we hear from Phyllis Chesler, a grandmother with quite a story to pass on to her two grandchildren.

Having accompanied her new husband to his native Afghanistan, Phyllis' passport was seized by her family, and she found herself under house arrest in the harem. Read about her incredible story here.

j08 Thu 10-Oct-13 12:36:04

Oh dear. Lack of research before take-off perhaps? hmm Wonder what she expected in Afghanistan?

Should there be a link from the blog page back to here?

j08 Thu 10-Oct-13 12:37:16

There is a link! #Specsavers #kindlefireisonlylittle

j08 Thu 10-Oct-13 12:43:36

The book sounds very interesting. smile

janerowena Thu 10-Oct-13 12:54:47

It sounds fascinating. I had a very narrow escape from a similar life in Iran - as for prior research, in those days where to start? No internet and very little at the local library. hmm I backed out when I was told that I wouldn't be allowed to drive or leave the country without permission from a male relative. Even that information wasn't given to me, I just managed to pick it up from conversations I heard when his mother and uncle came over with a ring and to vet me and my family. I was so lucky, as the country locked down soon afterwards. I never did manage to find out what happened to my former betrothed.

petallus Thu 10-Oct-13 13:23:21

As someone who can't seem to help shouldering responsibility for everything, I do wonder if life in a harem would be a blessed relief.

Stansgran Thu 10-Oct-13 15:15:38

You don't want to go to a harem do you? Don't you think a beguinage would be the thing to long for?

petallus Thu 10-Oct-13 16:35:18

Yes, a beguinage does appeal to me except I'm not religious.

But would it offer me the same total lack of responsibility as a harem?

And then there's the sex! grin

FlicketyB Thu 10-Oct-13 17:46:13

I heard the mother of soldier who died in Afghanistan on the radio today. She was clearly well educated and might have been a doctor.

As a reaction, I think, to the death of her son, she set out to find out why Afghanistan had the problems that led to the war, which included visiting the country. The things she said she had discovered, speaking as if they were a complete revelation that nobody knew, included things like. Afghanistan is still a tribal country, that tribal conflict and revenge fighting is still a significant factor in the country.

All the things she mentioned, as if nobody in the UK realised, were things that have been on television, on the radio and in the newspapers for at least the 12 years of the conflict, if not longer.

It constantly amazes me the number of women and some men who launch themselves into multicultural marriages without, not just researching, but visiting the country, seeing what it is like on the ground, finding out what laws are governing marriage children etc.

I had a friend who got engaged to an Australian and insisted on going to Australia for six months before they married. They never did marry. As she said in his own country with his family and friends he was an entirely different person. Please do not say but people are in love. Love is no excuse for crass stupidity.

mazgoli Fri 11-Oct-13 09:30:38

This sounds like an amazing read, I wonder what year Phyllis Chesler went to Afghanistan. I have so many questions. She says that she went on to meet up with her Afghan husband again later in life and loved his wife. Did he in fact only have one wife in the end?

I'd also like to know when 'janerowena' went to Iran. I have been driving in Iran for 35 years with no problems, they have female bus drivers and lorry drivers too.

'FlicketyB', Afghanistan's problems that led to the war/invasion could have something to do with their vast reserves of minerals and natural gas!

FlicketyB Mon 14-Oct-13 22:36:39

mazoli whatever the cause of Afghanistan's problems - and they go back hundreds of years, when their 'vast reserves of oil and gas' were unknown, it was this lady's total ignorance of how Afghan society works that so amazed me, considering it has featured in the media regularly for over 12 years.