23 March 2011

Interview - "When the Veil Drops", by Samara

A few weeks ago, I attended a writer's conference that specifically dealt with memoir writing. At that conference, I met a great many authors who had a story to tell. None of them, however was as unique or so profound as the lady who sat next to me on the front row. Samara is an Egyptian born woman, who grew up in the ancient city of Cairo. That in and of itself is a unique story. She could have probably had a best-seller talking about life as an Arabic woman who came to the U.S. What makes Samara's story so unique is her choice to focus solely on her sexual liberation by discussing the dichotomy of her life as it relates to Sex in Egypt and Sex in America. I can assure you that you will not agree ALL of her life philosophies, but you will find it an interesting read, nonetheless. My mouth was agape for much of the time I spent reading it. Get her book, "When the Veil Drops", from Amazon and enter the world of a woman with ideas that will leave some wanting more and others thinking new possibilities.

"When the Veil Drops", by Samara

1. Hello Samara. Let's start by introducing yourself. Tell me a little bit about your background and what brought you to America.

I am 37 years old single woman and free lance writer. I was born in Egypt. I was a virgin at the age of 23. I came to the US after I married an American soldier. It was lust mistaken to be a love story since I had no experiences.

2. Did you come from a wealthy family in Cairo? Would you say you had a comfortable life there?

I came from an upper class family in Egypt and I had a very comfortable life if by materialistic comfort.

3. I don't want to deviate too much into political affairs, but would you say your family in Cairo is happy that Hosni Mubarak is no longer in power? 

My family members hold different opinions about Mubarak leaving power, but mostly they are cautious and awaiting the replacement to formulate an opinion.

4. So what is this book about and what prompted you to write it?

“When the veil drops” is my sexual memoir. I have always kept a journal. I was asked by a close female friend to put it in print.

5. Of all the cultural differences between the United States and Egypt that you could talk about, why do you choose to write about sex? I mean, why not a woman's right to better education, equal pay, or representation in politics? 

I actually believe that the right to sexual freedom is the one women’s right that is one of the most neglected and ignored.

6. You open your first chapter, "Sharmoota", meaning whore, detailing how a doctor basically took you as you were being seen for an actual medical condition. Even though you do give in and ended up seeing him several times thereafter, don't you have to admit that's not a very professional thing for a doctor to do and doesn't that verge on sexual assault?

I understand that it can be viewed as sexual assault. It was not for me. It was an act of craziness in the heat of the moment. The doctor asserted himself as a man and I loved it. For me he initiated, I had the right to not give in. He did not force me.


7. Pick the chapter in your book that has the most meaning for you. Give me the chapter title and then summarize for me the details of it.

It is hard to choose a chapter that has the most meaning. I believe the sum of my experience made me who I am. Each relationship was meaningful to me.

8. Okay then, which chapter was the hardest for you to write about? And tell me what made it difficult to recount that particular incident.

Jack M.D was the hardest to write. It is the longest relationship which lasted longer than my marriage. I was trapped in it for over six years. Writing about it help setting me free.

9. At the end of your book, you recite poetry in Arabic and then give the English translation. Would you mind talking about the last poem, I believed entitled, "The Straight Rod"?

My poems are my very personal expression free of any form and rules. It is me and how I feel.

"The Straight Rod
I seek protection from my doomed devil
From a merciful God
I don't want my sins to be forgiven
I know my words disgust you 
Yes, I wear the veil
My face has repented
My body resists, refuses 
and likes torture
I seek protection of my doomed devil 
From a merciful God
I don't want my sins to be forgiven
I walk on a straight path to hell
and I don't feel alive
Unless I am on a straight rod"

- Samara

10. I have to admit, some of your philosophies, opinions, and concepts on sexual relationships are probably the most incendiary I have ever heard. I spent the majority of the time reading with my mouth agape. Mainly because I would have never expected to hear all this coming from a woman of Arabic descent. Do you write more for the shock value or is every word a legitimate sentiment from the heart? How did your feelings begin to develop into this new line of thought?

Every word I wrote represents how I feel and think. The shock is a byproduct of my opinion and not intended goal. I was called a Human resources nightmare before. I would not call it a new line of thought. I grew believing in polygamy. Now I extended the male right to multiple partner because society does not allow polygamy. Writing about your life help you discover yourself and your line of continuity.
11. Explain why you believe that a man who doesn't cheat when afforded the opportunity is not a man worth keeping.

I believe that a man has to be honest first to himself. Honest means true to his nature. You can’t be faithful to others while betraying yourself and denying your true nature.
I believe that men can have sex without emotional attachments. Women can’t. If a woman cheats then she does not love her partner and a man should walk away. If a man has another sexual partner then go back to his wife or girlfriend that strengthens their emotional bond.

If a man does not cheat because he does not want to hurt his partner, he is under a woman’s control.

If a man does not cheat because he thinks that he cannot enjoy other women then he is a lost cause already.

The only exception is the military or politician if a man does not cheat fearing to lose his job. I can understand and respect that because keeping his career is at least a male reason. For example, my partner was a soldier who deployed. Of course, I asked him to have safe sex with locals. I also asked him to call me and I got to hear him. It was very arousing to me and I enjoyed it. It felt like I got to join. It is more flattering to me to know that I have a man who is desired by others and can please others.




12. There is a dedication in this book to your Mother, whom you acknowledge isn't thrilled about your lifestyle. You mention that she fasts and prays on your behalf. Are you still friends with your mother? Has any other friendships/relationships been altered now that this book is out?
I am very close to my mother. She found a way to accept me and love me even if she disapproves of me. I have lost few friends over my book. They acted all puritan and refused to stay my friends. I knew their sexual stories and the number of their partners which was way more than my humble list. Yet, I became the whore to them.

13. There are some commentary in your book that is not to flattering to people of Islamic faith. In fact, some of your points go against Muslims in general. What makes you so willing to be outspoken on these matters? Do you have any fear of reprisal?

I am a moderate Muslims. Some Muslims may disapprove of me but Islam teachings ask us not to judge each other and leave judgment for God. I have always been outspoken. I have to be true to myself first and my true nature. I believe Muslims who will be mad at my writings have bigger issues to worry about than my book. There are few mosques who asked American Muslim to ban the book and not to buy it. So far, they won and the book did not sell. If the book sells it might prompt them to take other measures against myself or the book.


14. Who is this book for? Who, do you believe, will best benefit from your book?

Initially, I wrote my book ," When the veil drops" for women, however it had more male than females readers. The purpose was to entertain and give a light hearted reading to women who could be my girlfriends.

15. Do you think young women coming of age should read this book and learn about or experience what you have found out about sex? Will you try to educate young Arabic women about sex as you see it...maybe in seminars, workshops, or a school? 

If given the chance, I am willing to talk about my book and discuss with women in seminars and workshop maybe not in schools.

16. What's next for you? Will there be a part two?

I am working on writing a book about my childhood in Egypt. I am also working on a second edition of "when the veil drops" coming in June.


Greg, Samara says hi.

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