Betty Mahmoody Message Board

Marilyn L. posts on 9/23/2009 9:02:00 AM Altho' my problems are basically over except for dealing with 'damaged' grown children and I've just completed a very successful career as a speech pathologist and am at the point I am 'happy' (well, sort of) that I married my Arab husband because my life became very interesting with the travel and the people I met along the way. Really bad stuff and those memories can fade with time, but the vividness of them remains when conjured up. Anyway, if there is a website where we can talk to other women who are in or have experienced what we have so that we can communicate directly with these women or even get together in an organized fashion in cities or towns, that would be nice. I think those of us who have 'made it through the mess' with some measure of success would like to support the women who are there now. My children were yanked away from me, yes, but the affluence of their father gave them access to private schooling, upper class neighborhoods, associating with very educated people, and without his help (which would not have existed) my children would have ended up trailer trash as I had no money.
Janet posts on 9/20/2009 7:16:08 PM I read both of Betty Mahmoody's books. She never once generalize the Itanians, Iraqis or any other people. Her husband was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. My father was verbally and emotionally abusive. He didn't dare be physically (or sexually) abusive as some men are because my Mom, small as she was compared to him (5'6" to 6'3") would have let him have it. I still remember her backing him into a corner with a chair and hitting HIM when he hit one of us. He was rude and insulting and constantly making fun of my mother's faith or giving us a hard time. After reading Betty's books I wonder if my father might not have done the same thing had he been a foreign national. He was lazy and he lost a perfectly good job. I don't know the circumstances of that situation but I know that he wouldn't tend to food on the stove when Mom was out shoveling snow nor did he appreciate her. I have read some of her writings and gave them to a friend from her church. I don't ever want my sister to see them - she pretty much hated dad as it was. My mother didn't marry a foreign national but she married a man who was spoiled rotten, whose mother didn't want him to get married (in fact he did exactly TWO things against her wishes his whole life - he went into the service and he got married). My mom was raised in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. My father was born and raised in Massachusetts. So domineering was he, and his mother, that Mom only got home to see her parents ONCE after she married and she wasn't allowed to take my oldest brother with her. When my grandfather died, in our home when I was not quite eight, the funeral director had to intercede so that Grandpa could be buried in dad's family plot. He was afraid it was an insult to his family. My grandmother would have been out on the street if he'd had his way. While Gram and I didn't always get along I can't imagine a man telling his mother-in-law (who was a sickly woman) that she couldn't live with us but that's what he would have done. I find Betty's experiences to be somewhat parallel to my family's. Mahtob had a choice and she chose NOT to be reunited with her father ever. Betty, like my Mom tried to do, raised her daughter to view people as individuals and not as generalities according to their skin color or religion. My family is now a "blended" family as my brother married a Chinese girl (a Christian) and my niece (who is half Chinese) married a guy who is Greek, Hungarian and Cherokee - that he knows of. They have three beautiful children. Hats off to Betty for having the courage to stay until she could bring her daughter with her and for surviving all those years. Also for organizine the One World For Children (hope I got that right) organization.
theprisonwithin posts on 9/18/2009 1:52:25 PM It's been 10 years since escaping from Lebanon with my 3 children. I have lived in hiding since returning to the US and not spoken publicly of my experience. The fear is still very real and I know much of this may be kept alive by my own need to prevent anything from ever separating me from my children against my will and their best interests. I know there are others like me that carry this burden and responsibility and would find solace in having the opportunity to share their own stories with other survivors. How can I find this support? Who can I trust? Who can imagine the world I have chosen to live in, in order to keep my children safe?(yes,he may not physically have control of me now, but my fear of him (even after all this time)still gives him control over my life. How can I get in touch with these women who live their lives with new names and identities, as I do, yet carry deep within themselves an experience that will forever color their perceptions of the world around them and the direction they must go? I hope someone can direct me in my quest to make contact. Thanks for a badly needed bridge.

Marilyn L. posts on 9/14/2009 7:56:34 AM This was an extremely educational message. It's hard for me to believe that the Spaniards are so dark ages! I look at Spain as a beautiful country to visit, the men are gorgeous and the women beautiful; I never envisioned that women were treated so badly there. It makes my 20 years married to a Palestinian Arab and having my children yanked away from me with all contingent problems then, and now, when they are grown seem so tame. I experienced nothing like this woman did but I thought I was experiencing the worst! Was it Oprah who said how fortunate we women are who are born in the US.
Quenby Wilcox posts on 9/13/2009 3:32:17 PM What happened to Betty Mahmoody is far from being a problem with Iranians, Arabs or Muslim. I lived, and am living a similar experience with a Spaniard, his Spanish family in Spain. The age old traditions and cultural norms of the domination and subordination of women is not a religious based problem, even if religious dictates and norms do encourage it, it is a culturally based problem. I have had many Muslim and Middle Eastern friends over the years, and the same disrespect, abuse and subordination they recieved from their husband's and his family I recieved from my ex-husband and his family. After 17 years of living with an abusive husband, the last 4 years of which were insupportable, I filed a complaint against my husband's repeated threats to kill me if I did not stop my efforts to become financially independent and leave him. In retaliation a corrupt, antiquated judicial system did the following: -abducted my children -embezzled all of my assets ($1 million)and threw me on the street destitute, obliging me to return to the US -made me financially responsable for the mortgage on our home -obliged me to pay child support to my ex-husband -and now are in the process of initiating criminal proceedings for non-payment of said support so that if I ever return to Spain for my children I will be incarcerated All of this with US Consulate complacently watching AND with lawyers recommended by the US Embassy in Spain. Amnesty International reports that foreign women in Spain in domestic abuse cases have 1/4 of 1% chance of survival. And, I can assure you that the judicial system in Spain is no different than Arab ones. Laws may have changed, but since no one within the judicial system is obligated to respect these laws and the constitution they mean absolutely nothing. During my divorce in Spain I was tortured by the system, worse than my ex-husband and his family ever did. What they did to me is no different that the honor killings and suicides of Muslim women. And, I know understand why and how these women are driven to suicide. More and more women around the world are being killed in their efforts to extricate themselves from abusive relationships and husbands. Cultural biases, often perpetuated in the media, that this is somehow a Muslim problem does more harm than good to the battle these women are fighting. If my case had happened in a "democratic" Muslim country the media would be all over it, but since it happened in Spain, my case is politically incorrect. More info. on my case can be found by googling my name.
Kim posts on 9/7/2009 5:06:45 AM I do feel that Betty Mahmoody did the right thing. I have been in a marraige to a man of a different culture. When I watched the movie "Not without my daughter", it was a big reminder to me of just how my ex husbands family acted. You know, the sisters and brothers and whole family fighing in their foreign language and then of course there is always one single sister with no kids who has the biggest mouth and the ugliest frown on her face. My ex husband's family was not Iranian. They were some strange cult that spoke in German and wore a uniform. I can't say what they are to protect the innocent ones that are not like he was. If Betty Mahmoody had stayed in Iran, no telling how things may have turned out. We all know what would have happened if she had to leave without her daughter. I don't feel one bit sorry for her ex husband. He HAD a very good job as a doctor in the US and he HAD a home WITH his daughter but instead chose to try and control someone else by lying and tricking. What Betty did was very dangerous but she was very brave. I don't know if I could have made it like she did but then again, I would have NEVER agreed to go to a place like Iran in the first place. If my husband were persistant and I was afraid of him taking off with my daughter to Iran I would have left him while he was at work and I would have went into hiding. Anyway, great job Betty Mahmoody!
a mom posts on 9/1/2009 2:38:35 PM reaction to the Dr's death??
nur posts on 8/21/2009 7:33:08 AM The crux of the matter is Betty's husband dceived her. If one were to turn the tables and imagine a western man taking a traditional/rural woman ( his wife) to a capital city of a developed westernised country and then telling her this is her home, till death, I don't she would manage even a month. It is sad and tragic that Mahtob grew up without her father but hey, wasn't that fate spelt out for her, sooner or later Betty's husband would have deported her, locked her up somewhere or killed her and Mahtob would have grown up without her mother. I wonder if Betty's husband remarried and had any other kids?
whatever posts on 8/11/2009 6:14:28 PM Betty Mahmoody tries very hard to show respect to the Iranian culture in her book. She does not overgeneralize about the Iranian citizens. As a matter of fact she is quite explicit when she describes how she was aided by very good Iranian people. She also describes in her 2nd book how when she got back to America she did not want Mahtob to be ashamed or regretful of her Iranian ancestory. See kept that part of Mahtob's heritage alive for her daughter by still preparing Iranian meals, etc...
L posts on 8/1/2009 4:15:14 PM I think that one person's experiences should be valid. People complain about generalities, but unfortunately generalities of all types are often valid in a lot of people. She wrote of her own experiences and what she felt. She has a right to that, whether or not anyone likes it or not.
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