We arrived in Riyadh in 1976 after living in Europe and Asia, but nothing prepared me for Saudi. I was Alice in Wonderland in an upside down, backwards world where Saudi women lived daily with the injustice of Wahhabi/ISIS style brutal law that sprang from deep Arabian roots.
By 1976, Saudi, with its small, newly educated business class, moved quietly toward Western democracy and women's rights but was thrust back into the dark ages as the petroleum industry empowered the powerful Wahhabi Saudi Royals who made lucrative deals with Americans. . More than anything else, they and the entire petroleum industry disliked President Carter and his early move toward solar energy together with his peace plan for a U.S./Egypt/Israel alliance. The murder of President Sadat likely was intended to end any such plan.
When I returned to the States from 3 years of living in Saudi in 1979, no one believed my stories of Saudi women, culture, Wahhabism, etc. It's taken all these years because, in my view, the entire Arabian continent was locked up tight by the petroleum industry. Also, deals were made for Army Corps of Engineers early involvement with petroleum inspired billion dollar construction projects. No one wanted to upset the lucrative apple cart. Because my husband was a contracting officer for Army Corps of Engineers and because I was out and about marketing my Revlon on bases at Jeddah, Dhahran, and Riyadh, I began to get a big picture very early. Later I was in the States for Gore 2000 in Florida followed by 9-11 on Capitol Hill under the George Bush administration.
UNVEILINGS, A Desert Journey, 2nd Edition,
Available today on Amazon.com
Unveilings, first published in 2004 and now in its 2nd edition, reveals the author's Middle East experiences during the 1970s and 80s, continues with Capitol Hill experiences including 9-11 when the author lived on Capitol Hill, and ends with a 21st Century view of the Iraq War and current events including the ISIS threat. During these years of global power shifts, the author's world view transformed from innocent to knowledgeable and far more sophisticated. In this world of new realities, she understood the threat to women’s rights and to all human rights.
As the author traversed a raw, desert land ruled by strict Sunni Islam, she realized the inevitable clash of cultures looming on the horizon. In the United States in 1973, Roe v. Wade ruled unconstitutional a state law that banned abortions; thereby strengthening women’s rights and freedoms. In that same year, the Arab Oil Embargo greatly empowered the Saudi nation ruled by Sunni Islam as petrodollars poured into a nation with no respect for women or democracy.
Storm clouds gathered on the horizon; women’s rights were at the center of the storm. Middle East nations, one by one, fell under a black veil; and on September 11, 2001, the storm came to America. Now, in 2014, war rages in the Middle East; in America, women, once more, fight for women’s rights and for all human rights.
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA
WE LANDED IN THE DARK OF NIGHT AND AWOKE TO A
STRANGE NEW LAND.
WE BEGAN OUR NEW JOURNEY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
BEHIND HIGH WALLS.
CHET, MY ENGINEER HUSBAND, WAS FREED BY HIS WORK.
LEFT TO FIND MY OWN WAY OUT. …
AND SO I DID...
I learned that our actions have consequences that reverberate
far into the future.
What we sow is what we reap.
It's a law of nature and a universal law.
ACROSS ROLLING DESERT SANDS...
BEYOND QUAINT DESERT VILLAGES...
I TRAVELED ON...
TO TEL AVIV
TO CAPITOL HILL
AND TO PEOPLE AND PLACES BEYOND...
IN AN AGE OF PETROLEUM.
ALREADY, PETROLEUM IS YESTERDAY'S NEWS,
EVEN THOUGH EARTHLINGS WILL CONTINUE TO USE IT FOR AWHILE.
WE MAY EVEN FIGHT MORE WARS BECAUSE OF PETROLEUM POLITICS.
GREAT MINDS HAVE MOVED ON
AND SET THEIR SIGHTS
UPON THE ENERGY OF THE COSMOS.
MY INTEREST NOW IS...
WHAT LIES BEYOND THE AGE OF PETROLEUM?
WHERE DOES THIS ENERGY TREK LEAD US?
WHAT IS THE ENRGY USED TO PROPELL US
INTO A STARRY UNIVERSAL FUTURE?
THE PHYSICS OF LIGHT ENERGY GIVES US ANSWERS.
EVERY CHILD IN THE WORLD SHOULD STUDY PHOTOVOLTAICS AT THE EARLIEST AGE...IT WILL, PERHAPS, LEAD US TO THE TRUTH ABOUT EVERYTHING...NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE HUMAN POPULATION DRAGS ITS FEET ON LIGHT ENERGY...IT IS OUR UNIVERSAL DESTINY.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of
life is when men are afraid of the light. ~ Plato