It ‘s been a while since my last post. It was not a lack of inspiration, but rather a surplus of it. Michael (and before him my beloved late husband, Emmanuel) always says “why take pictures when the real thing is in front of you, to take in, unique moment that no technology could ever capture”. I have lived a lot of such moments since I last posted on this blog.
But there is one moment that has been so overwhelming that I could not sit with it on my own much longer. Indeed and although I rubbed elbows with many famous people in Saudi Arabia, including Bill Clinton, the most powerful experience I had in Saudi Arabia was having tea with a charming young Saudi princess. Princess ******* (she will recognize herself), at the age of 19, shatters all stereotypes most of the world may have of Saudi women. She is poised and sophisticated, cheerful and smart, beautiful, casual and elegant all at the same time. She takes edgy fashion photographs of her friends, she loves Lady Gaga and fashion from London’s Dover Street, and she told us of an occasion on which she provoked Tony Blair with her questions on his policies towards Palestine. He was so embarrassed and lost he had to call in his advisors for rescue, LOL. We discussed the role of showing female skin in the West and in Saudi Arabia, and the fact that we both respect tradition and modesty, on the one hand, and yet love beauty and fashion, on the other. Just as I willingly respect the norms of Senegal when I am there (for instance my husband and I do not hold hands in public there), she willingly respects the norms of Saudi Arabia, walking with her head covered in public spaces – but taking her hood off and letting her hair down in private settings. She loves her brother and argues with her father, whom she also loves, and successfully combines modernity and respect for her culture. A true delight!