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This is a book of fiction that tells the story of normal people living in the Middle East region and their struggles and attitudes during the wars, their passions and aspirations for a normal life, and their adaptation to the social and political changes. It is also a story of prohibited passions complex traditions and the big challenge for these families they need to face seeking a peaceful and honorable life.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)|
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THE ARAB SPRINGLEBANON AND SYRIA
By JULIEN ANDERS
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Julien Anders
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBOOK ONE
TRIPOLI, NORTH LEBANON, 1950
Nizar shouted at Samia in front of his sister, Jamila. "I've had it with you. You are divorced, divorced, divorced. "Inti Taleq, Taleq, Taleq."
It was hard for Samia to control her happiness when she heard those three beautiful words, declaring the end of her nightmare.
"Good, I am going to arrange my things and leave." She stormed out of the office and went directly to her room.
Nizar fell helplessly on his chair and cried, "My God, what did I do?"
He called after his sister in a hurry to consult with her. She came along with Mustafa a long distance relative who was working for them.
"It's a complete disaster and scandal." Jamila sat on the sofa, holding her head with her hands.
"It's not over yet, Master." Mustafa moved forward, calling their attention. "There is a way to get her back according to Shariaa," he said confidently.
"Are you crazy? No one will touch that woman but me. I will kill her before I let any other man touches her," Nizar said angrily.
"But if Master chooses the right man, who is trustworthy and agrees to marry her and divorces her the very next day without touching her—"
"And who is this man?"
"I myself will agree to do this, Master." He bowed his head humbly.
Nizar looked at his sister, who addressed Mustafa. "Leave us. We will call you later."
Mustafa bowed and left the office.
"What do you think?" Nizar asked.
"He will comply because he owes us a lot of money, and it will be a relief for him to pay his debt. But we need to play very safely and be cautious so that you don't become the joke of Tripoli by marrying off your wife to get her back. How could you be so stupid?" Jamila shouted angrily.
"She was getting on my nerves, and you've seen how she was behaving."
"You could have given her a good beating, which would be much better than this. Where will you find such a young and fertile woman to give us an heir?"
"You go and talk to her. Tell her we will find a solution and I will give her whatever she asks."
"I suggest we send her to Beirut. She must be away from here to solve the problem. You will send her to a hotel in Beirut while we work on the solution. When everything is ready, we all will go there and solve the problem."
"I like the idea. She loves Beirut too and will win us some time. You go and talk to her."
Jamila entered the room without knocking on the door. She saw Samia in her old clothes, ready to leave.
"What are you doing, my dear?" Jamila asked, sitting down on the edge of the bed.
"I left him everything so that he won't say that I took anything from him."
"Sit down, my dear, and let us talk. He committed a small mistake, and he is willing to apologize and correct his fault."
"You say a mistake. I can't breathe in this house. I can't look at a window. I can't speak to neighbors. I am not entitled to do anything but to wait on him and be his slave."
"I know that he is a nervous person, but he loves you a lot and feels jealous of everyone all the time. You are young and beautiful and full of life, and that makes him insecure. Now calm down, my dear, and let us not suffer a scandal that will be bad for everyone. It will be bad for your family and ours too. Imagine how we will explain what happened to your father and your sister Salma, who is to be wed very soon."
Samia thought of her elder sister, Salma. Since the death of her mother, she has taken good care of her, saved her from her father's brutality, and helped her to pass through the first week of her marriage, when Nizar beat and raped her on her wedding night. She relaxed a little bit and looked at Jamila. "Okay, I am willing to cooperate, but it will be different rules this time."
"This is the voice of wisdom. What do you want, my dear?"
"First, I want money in my own personal name, free from any obligations to him. Second, I must agree on the chosen husband. Third, he must promise to stop shouting and control his jealousy. I don't love him, but at the same to stop shouting and control his jealousy. I don't love him, but at the same time I am a respected woman and will not look to another man as long as I am married to him."
"You are right, and I support you on all these conditions. Let me talk to him and be back to you. Put on your best clothes and prepare your bag, for we are going to Beirut, where you will relax while we find the adequate solution."
Jamila went back to Nizar's office. "She agreed to cooperate as long as you agree to her conditions."
"What are these conditions?"
"She wants money of her own. She wants to agree on the husband you choose, and she wants you to stop being jealous with her, because she said that as long as she is married to you, she will be faithful."
Nizar smiled happily at hearing that. "Okay, give her a hundred liras, and that will be my gift to her."
"You want to lose her for good. Give her a hundred liras. Do you think she is stupid? You need to show yourself to her and get her back. You need to be generous."
"I will call her father, and he will give her a beating. That's how generous I should be with her."
"Then what will happen? You know Al Shariaa. You can only have her back if—"
"Don't say those words. I can't bear hearing them."
"For this reason you need to have her by your side to fi ght for your honor. You need to conquer that."
"What do you think I should do?"
"Give her big money. Show her that you trust her and love her."
"I will give her a hundred thousand liras. I will put it in her name. She will not have the chance to spend this money, and it will be good for my taxes. It is settled. You tell her that."
"You need to ask Farid to drive us to Beirut. He is Christian and not family. He will keep his mouth shut, and everything will be a secret."
"You are right. I will send for him, and I will give you my private car. It is safe and secure. You will be with her and won't lose sight of her. Did you tell her about Mustafa?"
"Of course not, Do you want me to lose her trust? We must do it step-by-step. First, you need to win her trust, and then we will work out the rest of the details."
"You are right. Go and prepare yourself to leave too. I will send for Farid."
"Do not forget to prepare money for our expenses."
"I won't. I will write her the check to open her account and take care of everything."
Farid drove the car into the silent night while Samia and Jamila sat in the back, close to each other in complete silence.
"What are your instructions?" Jamila broke the thick silence.
"I am to drive you to the hotel, look for a cheaper one for me, stay at your disposal and provide anything you need."
"That's my brother. He always treats everyone who is faithful to him badly. You will stay with us in the same hotel."
Farid remained silent.
"Have you ever been to Beirut?" Jamila asked him,
"Yes, several times on business with Mr. Nizar."
"You know where the best restaurants located are and the places to see?"
"It is my first time, and I want to enjoy it. Don't you want that too?" She addressed Samia.
"I'd prefer to stay at the hotel."
"No, you won't. We will go out and enjoy ourselves."
They checked into the hotel and took two rooms—one with double beds for Samia and Jamila, and the other for Farid, who tried to refuse but Jamila wouldn't hear of it.
Jamila arranged her things quickly and said to Samia, "I've always liked you and respected you, and I think of you as a sister. I want to know one thing. Can I trust you?"
"I don't understand."
"I have a secret to tell. Can I confide in you?"
"Your secret is safe," Samia said, wondering what was going on.
"I'm in love with Farid."
"But he is Christian. Nizar will have a fit."
"He doesn't know yet, and it is my chance to try to convince Farid to become Moslem so we can get married. This is my chance to speak with him."
"Why do you love him so much?"
"He is the kindest man I have ever met. I will be going to his room to speak with him. If Nizar calls—and I am sure he will—please tell him that I am in the bathroom in case he asks to speak with me. Can you do this thing for me, my dear?"
"Yes, I can. Are you sure you want to do this?" Samia was very excited with the whole situation.
"I've never been so sure in my life." Jamila replied confidently checking herself in the mirror for the last time before leaving.
"What are you doing here? You will cause us a scandal." Farid was horrified to see her at the door of his room at that hour.
"It will be a bigger scandal if you don't let me in," Jamila said firmly.
He let her into his room and remained standing by the door. She walked around the room and said, "I see that you organized yourself quickly. You are good at it."
"What do you want? Why do you come here at this hour?"
"I came to talk with you. It is the only chance I have to speak with you freely."
"What do you want?"
"I want you to marry me. I know that you love me, and I love you, so why are you fighting the chance to be together?"
"I won't change my beliefs for any reason in the world."
"You don't know what you are missing."
"Jamila, you are a very beautiful woman and I respect you a lot, but our paths don't cross."
"Don't you ever say that," She jumped on him, hitting his chest. He tried to back her away gently, but her anger was intense. Suddenly, she kissed his lips hard, and his arms fell weak and he kissed back. They fell on the bed, and suddenly he was on top of her, thrusting hard in a decisive rhythm he had always dreamed of.
"I was waiting for Jamila to call upon your arrival, and she didn't. I was worried about you," Nizar said over the phone.
"She forgot, and I didn't know we should call."
"Where is she?"
"She is already sleeping. You want me to wake her up?"
"No, I'll talk to her in the morning. How are you feeling?" he asked softly.
"I am a little bit confused."
"I am sorry to cause you all that, and I promise to find an adequate solution."
"The problem will be how you will behave after finding the solution. I can't go on with the way you treated me."
"I promise you that I will change and I will treat you like a queen."
She remained silent for a while, and he said, "You better rest. I will call you tomorrow."
"Good night," she said in a sleepy voice and shut the phone before hearing a response.
Samia began to look at Farid in a different way after Jamila's wild stories of their encounter. They had been staying at the hotel for a week, and she was meeting Farid every night, when they indulged in long sessions of lovemaking.
To win them time, Jamila did her job of complicating the agreement between Samia and Nizar to enjoy more of her relationship with Farid, hoping by getting pregnant she will put him in a situation that will force him to marry her.
She had lost her faith in convincing him to marry her and was set to enjoy herself with him as long as possible. She told Samia all the intimate details of their encounters, never suspecting that she was making her fall in love with him.
Samia kept to herself and never told her what she thought. Despite her marriage she was very innocent to such details and feelings that Jamila kept on telling her every night and she never felt during her marriage with Nizar. She became very curious to know all about Farid. She was looking at the right opportunity to be with him alone and start discussing several matters of mutual interest.
The opportunity came when Nizar appeared in a surprise visit. She was in her room with Jamila when he entered the door, wearing his usual mad face. "What's going on? I've been waiting for your reply for a week."
"What reply?" Samia asked.
"You didn't tell her? I arranged for a man to marry you and divorce you the other day so we can get married again."
"And who is that man?"
"Mustafa," Nizar chuckled.
"No way will I agree to marry that horrible man. What if he decides not to divorce me and calls me to his house? Have you ever thought of that?" Samia cried back
"I told you to give me more time, but you never listen to me." Jamila argued with him
"I am sure that Mustafa wouldn't play with me." Nizar replied back
"I don't trust him." Samia inquired stubbornly
Nizar looked at his sister and said, "What will we do now?"
"I asked you to give me more time, but you did not listen. I suggest you rent us an apartment here and look for a person she can trust."
"You want me to rent an apartment? It will take a lot of time."
"I want to help you cut the hotel expenses Come with me down the hall and we'll talk."
"You forgot we have an appointment at the beauty parlor," Samia said.
"Farid will drive you there. I will follow later."
Nizar tried to stop her, but he knew he couldn't do so. He followed his sister, wondering how to solve this problem. He was getting mad seeing her and not having her.
"I told you to come when I call you. I am reporting everything for you. What more do you need?"
"I want her back. I can't live without her."
"I found the perfect solution, but we need to wait awhile. You rent the apartment, and I will make her agree to marry but to the right man she will agree and he won't blackmail us in the future. We need an honored man to do this."
"Who is that man?" Nizar asked curiously,
"Ahmad is the one who will be marrying her elder sister, Salma. We'll approach him right after his marriage to her sister. I am sure he will agree and honor his part and she won't deny him."
Nizar smiled widely. "You are really a genius. I must trust you all the way." He got up and kissed her.
"What will we do with Mustafa?"
"We'll keep him for an emergency. Don't say anything to him, so everyone will think he's the one until after Salma's marriage, and then we will put it on the table."
"This is a great strategy. I will even help to quicken their marriage."
"No, don't rush it. We can pay the dowry as a gift to ensure the marriage will take place on the day they already agreed to. We cannot let Samia suspect anything until then."
"You arrange for the apartment, and I will send you more money."
"Keep Farid around, He won her trust and will keep a good eye on her."
"Yes, he seems to be doing a good job."
Samia sat in the backseat, happy with her freedom. She was determined to remain free, but she knew that it wouldn't be for a long time unless she finds the right solution. She told Farid, "I've changed my mind. I don't want to go anymore to the beauty parlor. I'd like to go to a coffee shop."
He drove the car to the coffee shop. She got out and addressed him. "Come and have a cup of coffee with me."
He got out and followed her inside the coffee shop. They sat down, and both studied each other silently.
"What do you think about life?"
"Life is beautiful, but it can be very treacherous."
His words fell hard on her mind. "Why did you say that?"
"I am sorry, madam. You are a good person, and I hate to see you deceived. I can't say a lot because I will wind up paying for that, but you ought to be very cautious."
"You mean Jamila?" Samia asked,
"But she told me that you love her." Samia said breaking the silence
"And I hate what she is trying to do to you." Farid inquired
"What do you mean? Tell me, man." Samia asked nervously
"She is planning on keeping you faithful to her until your sister's marriage to her husband. She'll pretend to ask him for help, and that way you cannot refuse." Farid explained patiently,
"This cannot happen," she cried. "I never thought that she could be a cheating bitch."
"Why are you telling me all this now?"
"I don't want to be a part of hurting you."
"You don't love me. You barely know me, as I barely know you, and you are always with Jamila."
"I don't love you, but I don't want to be part of the whole thing. I wanted to leave my job, but Jamila is threatening me to tell her brother."
"You must help me. Please, I will give you whatever you want, but you must help me. I need to get away from here."
"The only way to skip out on them is to leave the country. They are very rich and powerful people here, and we'll never get rid of them unless we leave the country."
"Then we must do that," she said decisively. "We can travel to Syria."
"No, he has a lot of business and friends in Syria. Let me think of something, and we'll talk later. I will want ten thousand liras to start my new life, and I will help you.
"I will give you the money tomorrow."
"We must not raise suspicion. You must continue to be her best friend, and I will do so until I discover the best way to skip out."
"Good, I will pass by the bank tomorrow and get you the money."
Farid met with Samia alone two days later. He had left Jamila sleeping in his room and said, "I don't have a lot of time. You must stay at the hotel and not go to the apartment. Second, you need to take photos and try to get a passport. I met a man in security services who can help issue your passport without anyone suspecting anything. You will need to pick up the documents from Tripoli. It will cost two hundred liras, but you need to get four photos for the passport. I will take Jamila away so you can go and get the photos."
Excerpted from THE ARAB SPRING by JULIEN ANDERS Copyright © 2012 by Julien Anders. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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