Friday, June 21, 2002[posted by jaed at 12:01 AM]
Marriages to Saudi men: the State Department speaks
Or, well, it did speak until a protest from the Saudi government caused it to remove from its web site a compendium of advice for American women contemplating marrying Saudi men. Fortunately, ABC news has preserved a mirror of the advice for us to read. It begins with a general word of advice:
Survivors of dual-national marriages
Quite a phrase.
provide a checklist for American women to consider prior to making a commitment to living in the Kingdom. The stories of those whose marriages have failed underline the necessity of looking before leaping into the cultural chasm that separates Saudi husbands from their American wives.
The tone of the document is matter-of-fact. There are no horror stories here. But the picture it paints of the socially isolated American wife, at the mercy (quite literally) of her husband and his family, is chilling. So is this little tidbit, which helps explain the stories of kidnapping and detention of wives and their children:
Most American wives believe that the U.S. Embassy can issue exit visas in a pinch. This is not the case. The U.S. Embassy cannot obtain exit visas for American citizens. Passports issued by the Embassy are worthless as travel documents without the mandatory Saudi exit visa.
And why, you ask, is there no such document for American men contemplating marriage to Saudi women? The document helpfully explains:
Saudi women are prohibited from marrying non-Arabs except with a special dispensation from the King.
(Has anyone notified Noam Chomsky that the Saudis have miscegenation laws?)