Monday, January 09, 2006

epilogue: l'agente provocateuse

Yes. This poem is terminated.

The truth: "saudigirl" was a literary experiment, an instance of rhetorical transvestism, an attempt by a young saudi guy to create a female character, in blog/poetic form.

Why? Well, it's complicated. But here's a stab at my thinking at the time:

It first started when I became livid by some of the idiotic arguments that certain public men were using to justify, or make apologies for, the dearth of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. I decided to write to these men in a public fashion. Why not write as a man you ask? Well, I thought it would be more effective (for the cause) if a woman demonstrated the total absence of logic in their arguments.

So Alia, a character created for an angry email, became my Arab Amazon, fighting for her rights, and for the rights of all downtrodden Saudi women. That was the vision... the reality, well... was a bit different as you can surmise. As literary constructs do, she developed in unforeseen ways, lodging herself in a particularly autonomous zone in my mind, reading feminist literature, and acquiring knowledge on Saudi women's issues, all the while finding that she could not do anything but verbally attack that set of glaring problems immediately pertaining to women in Saudi Arabia.

But many exceedingly important issues, she noticed, were “human” issues and therefore super-sexual. They rose above gender/ethnic/national/cultural lines. This observation, along with another in which she noticed the inordinate time and energy devoted to separating people from one another led her to conclude that this need to segregate all issues into those of women and those of men was a sign of an unhealthy society: pathologically divided and unable to harness the collective talents of its members.

Not being able to operate in the real world, she became horrified by the sublime proportions of the problem. Overcome and depressed, she followed the hermetic poets under fascism into solipsistic art, music and sound -- into the warm (and universal) embrace of the insular aesthetic.

And what of those poor oppressed women? I asked, appalled at this abandonment of her raison d'etre. She quoted Bernard Crick to me: “The person who wishes not to be troubled by politics and to be left alone finds himself the unwitting ally of those to whom politics is a troublesome obstacle to their well-meant intentions to leave nothing alone.” She then packed her bags and emigrated to a Greek island, muttering on her way out of the door: “Life's too short to waste on the likes of you...”

I'm surprised it lasted so long. Even if it did continue, I really could not see it developing further than a few months given her exceedingly demanding nature. Ultimately, I no longer wanted to spend time with my exhausted heroine. I got bored with her, and she with me. She is gone.

It is, of course, for the better.

Ali K

PS: Thank you for reading/participating; apologies if this liberal interpretation of poetic license offended anyone along the way. As one of my readers said, I'll see you all on the 'other side' (-;


Blogger raf* said...

dear "a",

brilliant. just brilliant.

of course, the truly interesting question is: what impact did "alia" have? did saudi women engage "her" as much as saudi men (apart from those entertaining salafists)?

you spin an intriguing thread.


10:11 AM  
Blogger Trevelyana said...

I'm amazed .. I'm disappointed. I should've known she was too good to be true, like raf* said, she was fleeting.. ephemeral.
The euphoria and passion of her existence were bound to be doused, regardless of whether she was real or conjured up.

and so she has decided to find her H elsewhere .. with that desertion my heroine dies as well.

But not in vain.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not the first to do that. The famous writer Georges Sand in France was... a woman. She proved that women could actually write.

Women in the Arab world are too submissive and too repressed to liberate themselves. I often say that woman's liberation is a man's job.

4:02 PM  
Blogger reincarnated said...

yes leno im clairvoyant.

I was intimidated by this character but i knew she was good to be true.

I was a regular visitor and i was amazed by her confidence on the contrary i do believe not many engaged with the character right? i think she was on a much broader level and intimidating

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We won't take the fact that you are male out of context !

A) A male wrote a fantastic blog that could equally have been written by a woman
B) Ultimately the joy of a blog is that it is defined not by gender but by words
C) Alia may have left her space but a space has been created.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Mystique said...

Alright, am still in a shock, I can't believe I've found someone or lets say people who might think and elaborate their thoughts to that extend as much as I do....

4:53 AM  
Blogger ana-alia said...

ok i wish i was that Alia so i would have the courage and emigrate to a Greek island!

10:45 AM  
Blogger RichArab said...

nice work. keep it up!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Ammar said...

Hi girls,
My name is Ammar, and im livin in riyadh... if anyones interested in chat or gettin bored just hang me a call... 0560882612.

Gosssssssh its hard to find girls here.

10:52 PM  
Blogger mueen said...

very bad joke......u have wasted your time....because muslim women will prefer death instead of having a freedom like dirty american women if a women wants freedom like american she is automatically heeding towards destruction.also if u had wrote about pooness in arab countries etc it would hadbeen a great work.i think u either are self styled american spy or u r planted........
women has a freedom but not like dirty american dogs.we all see how dirty american human faced dog women are naked and spread crime.insAllah those people thinking of making mslim women same like american dirty women should be aware of it that muslim women have brothers like me who will cut themselves instead of seeing there sisters behaving like dirty dognatured american women..........

11:13 AM  
Blogger AK said...

Dear Mueen,

I'm sorry if you didn't enjoy this blog or if you felt that some of the jokes were at your expense.

I can assure you that I am not a spy, a plant, or even a nut. I am a saudi who lives in Saudi Arabia. I have a mother, sisters, female cousins, friends who are girls, a magnificent and adoring wife and perhaps one day I will be blessed with daughters. I love them all (in different ways) but I do love them all. This blog was for them, and for everybody else.

Can I offer you some friendly advice: (1) don't call people 'dogs' or any other bad label. It's name-calling, and an indication of poor manners Islamic or otherwise. (2) Judge people as known individuals and not as unknowable groups. (3) Don't presume to speak on behalf of others without their explicit permission. (4) Put some effort into your communications with the outside world, it's a sign of respect for those who take the time to read what you have to say. (5) Treat women with the respect they deserve. You are incomplete without them.


6:28 AM  

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