Finished July 18
Burned Alive: the Survivor of an "Honor Killing" Speaks Out by Souad in collaboration with Marie-Therese Cuny
This memoir was a bit different than I expected. Souad is a pen-name for the woman that was set on fire by her family as she still fears for her safety. Her experience happened more than twenty years before her story was published, but the physical and mental results of it still affect her.
Souad was raised in Palestine, and her father owned land in the village she grew up in. Her life though was still a life like those of past generations. She was not given any schooling, and lived a very restricted life, almost like a slave to her father. Women in her family and in her village were generally not valued, with their only aim in life to become a wife, securing a bride price for her father. Her loneliness and focus on the goal of a husband led her to make a bad choice with a man who lacked the ethics he should have had, and she became pregnant, drawing shame down on her family, who chose to try to get rid of her and her shame in the way accepted in their community. Their punishment was not successful, but brought her to the attention of a foreign aid worker who got permission to bring her abroad and give her the medical treatment that saved her life.
Souad has the husband and family she always wanted, but still is not happy as she has the constant reminder of her physical disfigurement that limits her activities.
This is a sad story, and one that is still happening for women today, decades later.
Souad speaks for the agency that saved her life and this part of the book reads more stilted and judgmental though it is important work that they are doing.