or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › "not without my daughter"
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"not without my daughter"

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
So I married a (non-Muslim) Lebanese man (almost 9 years and 2 babies ago) and I still get the, "not without my daughter" spiel from friends and family members...

My DD#1 was actually conceived in Lebanon during my 4th visit. My mom still mentions this movie to me periodically whenever I mention that I would like to move to Lebanon for a few years... My friend mentioned this movie to me last year after I took a 9 day vacation in Orlando and she expected me back in 7, she said she thought my husband packed us up and took us away to Lebanon. I actually didn't speak to her for several months after that...

My sister has been doing work in Afghanistan and she is constantly comparing the culture in Afghanistan to my husband... Lebanon is practically a European country... I'm sure that there are some people who are the way she describes, but I surly haven't met any...

I've noticed that there are several mommy's on this board that are married to Arabs or Persians and I was wondering if I'm the only one that hears about this stupid movie regularly even after years of marital bliss?
post #2 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyJoia View Post
So I married a (non-Muslim) Lebanese man (almost 9 years and 2 babies ago) and I still get the, "not without my daughter" spiel from friends and family members...

My DD#1 was actually conceived in Lebanon during my 4th visit. My mom still mentions this movie to me periodically whenever I mention that I would like to move to Lebanon for a few years... My friend mentioned this movie to me last year after I took a 9 day vacation in Orlando and she expected me back in 7, she said she thought my husband packed us up and took us away to Lebanon. I actually didn't speak to her for several months after that...

My sister has been doing work in Afghanistan and she is constantly comparing the culture in Afghanistan to my husband... Lebanon is practically a European country... I'm sure that there are some people who are the way she describes, but I surly haven't met any...

I've noticed that there are several mommy's on this board that are married to Arabs or Persians and I was wondering if I'm the only one that hears about this stupid movie regularly even after years of marital bliss?
hey, i didn't know they made that into a movie...i read the novella years ago. just wanted to give you some support. people are insensitive and just plain UAVs sometimes. my ex boyfriend (from highschool) is Catholic and Sri Lankan but grew up in the United Arab Emirates, and you wouldn't believe all the BS i heard about "that culture" even from my mother who is not what i would call racist in a million years. it was insane. he was a perfectly nice guy and had so much respect for me as did both of his parents. i don't really have any advise, just s
post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 
It was sally Field.. she married an Iranian and everything was great until she moved to Iran... Then he started beating her so she went to the US embassy and they told her she could leave, but the daughter was the husband's property...

You know, you don't have to be Muslim from Iran to beat your wife... anyone can do it... I'm sure there are wife beaters in every culture with any color skin...
post #4 of 41
I think the main problem you are encountering is people don't understand Lebanese society, which is nothing like Afghanistan. I had a friend who moved there years ago (she is African American, her husband German) and she loved it there. When her husband passed on she left to another country because she wanted a new start. But from what she told me the country was more cosmopolitan.

But bringing it back to this country, I am sure that most people wouldn't think that Danny Thomas from the 50s show "Make Room for Daddy" or Jamie Farr from "M*A*S*H" would be capable of such an act because we think of them as thoroughly American although both of those actors are of Lebanese descent.

Recently there was a news story about a young black woman who had to go to South Korea to get her son because the father (who was adopted by an American family) went back to the country of his birth with their son. Now I'm black and my husband, similarly, is a South Korean adoptee but I don't have any fears of the same thing happening to me should we ever break up or argue because I know what type of person he is. But people like to think that all people are the same and they don't take into consideration individuality.
post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 
My husband's half sister is half Lebanese and half African and she married a German... But they live in Germany.

We have a running joke about all the Lebanese actors/celebrities... My MIL has thoroughly educated me in all actors/celebrities that were born in Lebanon. I do the same thing with celebrities born in NJ. Our favorite is Keanu Reeves (sp?) He was born in Beirut, but his parents are not Lebanese...
post #6 of 41


I'm sorry - that is so ignorant. My dh works for a company where the owners and all the other employees (except for dh) are Lebanese. We hear nearly daily dumb comments about him working for the Taliban, supporting terrorists, etc.

Now mind you, everyone in the company is Christian, not Muslim, and have received their American citizenship and have lived here and run this company since the early 80's. But by golly, they must be hiding their turbans somewhere.
post #7 of 41
Ugh. I didn't even marry anyone from the Middle East, but my mom made me watch that movie "to give me perspective". This was before she got to know my dh, while she was still freaking out about me marrying a complete stranger to them. I thought it was bizarre behavior on her part, totally not my normal sweet, accepting mom, but as she's been recently dx'd bipolar, it occurs to me she may have been on a downward swing during that time.

I'm thinking Iran is also very different from Lebanon. And societies change anyway. It's far to simplistic and ridiculous to say "Ooooh, you married a Persian. Better hold extra tight to your kids." People forget that in America, children are regularly "kidnapped" by their own parents over custody disputes and splintered families.
post #8 of 41
I got to hear all about this and a whole host of other crap when I married a Muslim Turkish man and moved to Istanbul.

Honestly, I feel for Betty Mahmoody's situation, but her personal idiocy does not warrant the denigration of an entire culture of fathers. Read the book, read what really happened to her, and then ask yourself what this woman's damage was? She made some very un-wise decisions and then had the nerve to write an opportunistic book slamming an entire culture for the mistake of marrying a man she hardly knew. She went to a foreign country with a man who was already showing signs of mental pathology, where she didn't speak the language, and then was a complete biotch to his family and denigrated their customs. I could go on and on, but this book did as much damage to "Persian-ness" as Midnight Express did to "Turkish-ness" and incidentally was ghost-authored by the same guy--chosen for his ability to turn a phrase and shock by Ms. Mahmoody's own admission.
post #9 of 41
Hmmm, I'm in the same situation as you are (married to a Lebanese man, who is not a Muslim) but no one has ever mentioned the movie to me!

I would be extremely offended and angry. I don't blame you for not talking to your friend for a few months after her comment.

So sorry you have to deal with this. I think I would just laugh out loud and roll my eyes at anyone else who says anything. Maybe add in a comment about how it's such a shame some people are so ignorant about other cultures.
post #10 of 41
Some of my moms coworkers felt the need to talk to me about "not without my daughter" when I became engaged to my dh, who is turkish. my husbands coworkers warned him about marrying an Italian (me) because Italians "have bad tempers". Aren't people wonderful to be so concerned about our welfare?

I haven't heard any more references to the movie since then, and it has been 10 years. I guess we just haven't bumped into too many uninformed individuals lately.
post #11 of 41
Oh goodness we went through all of this, my dh is muslim and from Algeria - my parents even wanted us to talk to the minister because his wife's father was muslim and they would be able to explain the cultural differences, it didn't make any difference to anyone that we had known each other for three years before marrying, even two children later my parents - mother in particular - said that the only reason I married dh was because I love to be the centre of attention and be a 'sensationalist'!! As much as I love my mother, I shall never manage to get over that one - but anyway people are drawn into these awful generalisations and find it almost impossible to get away from them - then things got even worse after 9/11 when ALL Algerians were terrorists! Anyway I feel for you - it's awful - mind you the longer we're with our dhs the less that this happens - or sort of anyway!!!
post #12 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
Hmmm, I'm in the same situation as you are (married to a Lebanese man, who is not a Muslim) but no one has ever mentioned the movie to me!

I would be extremely offended and angry. I don't blame you for not talking to your friend for a few months after her comment.

So sorry you have to deal with this. I think I would just laugh out loud and roll my eyes at anyone else who says anything. Maybe add in a comment about how it's such a shame some people are so ignorant about other cultures.
She said, "you're ALIVE???!!!! I thought your husband either packed you up and took you to Lebanon or murdered you and buried you in the woods somewhere"

She went on to tell me that for the two "extra" days I was away She and her husband discussed all the things my husband could have done with me and my daughter (only one at the time, but I was pregnant with DD#2) and she mentioned "not without my daughter" as well... something to the effect of, "I thought he killed you and ran off to Lebanon with your DD"

I kept saying, "you're talking about my husband... are you serious???"

I didn't talk to her for months. My husband told me to get over it and just take it as a learning experience that now I know how she really feels about us. I told my other friend who is married to a Lebanese guy (who was raised in Venezuela) and while she agreed that she would have been offended if someone said that about her husband, she said she would have laughed it off.

The really sad thing is that she doesn't know why I stopped talking to her. She is completely clueless to the fact that she was so offensive. I never told her because I'm really non-confrontational and I only told a few people in our playgroup (mainly moms that are married to foreigners).

I figure, If my husband didn't want me to sever the friendship, then I should listen to him.
post #13 of 41
What's so nuts is that it's not like this type of thing has never happened with WHITE guys. C'mon, we can all think of many stories of white American men who have murdered their spouses or kidnapped their kids. But ONE book/movie about someone from a Muslim country and suddenly it becomes common knowledge that "That's how things are over there".

I agree with your husband that now you know what she really thinks about him.

I can see why you wouldn't sever all contact, but I sure couldn't be a close friend with someone who could suspect DH of killing me and kidnapping our child.

If it's still bugging you, maybe you could try telling her that you were extremely disturbed by what she said. How would SHE feel if you had said those things about her DH?
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
I'm thinking Iran is also very different from Lebanon. And societies change anyway. It's far to simplistic and ridiculous to say "Ooooh, you married a Persian. Better hold extra tight to your kids." People forget that in America, children are regularly "kidnapped" by their own parents over custody disputes and splintered families.
I just came back from Iran...uh, literally...4 days ago...and frankly...that stuff isnt the norm. There r sleazeballs everywhere...but frankly, over there people were VERY offended by that film and the guy himself explained his side of the story which was quite mild. The jist was he wanted to stay, she didnt...instead of either waiting to see what happens or trying to work something out...or trying to enjoy her new surroundings (Iran isnt a scary place at all) or whatever she freaks out. I dont have any sympathy for her becos I read her books, I also heard about it in Iran...and I donno..the story really doesnt jive, I think its more sensationalism than truth. PLus I'm on a Muslimah discussion board and 1 young women on it attended HS w/ that womens daughter and even the daughter would tell people it wasnt *really* like the film, she still sees her dad!

I really dislike it when you mention, Iran, Iranian men or whatever and people get all uptight and freaked out...it really offends me.
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turkish Kate View Post
I got to hear all about this and a whole host of other crap when I married a Muslim Turkish man and moved to Istanbul.

Honestly, I feel for Betty Mahmoody's situation, but her personal idiocy does not warrant the denigration of an entire culture of fathers. Read the book, read what really happened to her, and then ask yourself what this woman's damage was? She made some very un-wise decisions and then had the nerve to write an opportunistic book slamming an entire culture for the mistake of marrying a man she hardly knew. She went to a foreign country with a man who was already showing signs of mental pathology, where she didn't speak the language, and then was a complete biotch to his family and denigrated their customs. I could go on and on, but this book did as much damage to "Persian-ness" as Midnight Express did to "Turkish-ness" and incidentally was ghost-authored by the same guy--chosen for his ability to turn a phrase and shock by Ms. Mahmoody's own admission.
Word. Betty was deluded. She went to an extremist war-torn country with an unstable husband... that was a really bad idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmIbrahim View Post
I just came back from Iran...uh, literally...4 days ago...and frankly...that stuff isnt the norm. There r sleazeballs everywhere...but frankly, over there people were VERY offended by that film and the guy himself explained his side of the story which was quite mild. The jist was he wanted to stay, she didnt...instead of either waiting to see what happens or trying to work something out...or trying to enjoy her new surroundings (Iran isnt a scary place at all) or whatever she freaks out. I dont have any sympathy for her becos I read her books, I also heard about it in Iran...and I donno..the story really doesnt jive, I think its more sensationalism than truth. PLus I'm on a Muslimah discussion board and 1 young women on it attended HS w/ that womens daughter and even the daughter would tell people it wasnt *really* like the film, she still sees her dad!

I really dislike it when you mention, Iran, Iranian men or whatever and people get all uptight and freaked out...it really offends me.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Iran... I've had people ask me things likes, "Do they have electricity? Hot water? etc..." They don't realize (obviously) that Iran is a modern country with all the accoutrements thereof. Of course there are some backwater places, but there are backwater places HERE!

I have never been maltreated in any way when I was in Iran (4 times as of the last trip). My DS loves it there. My husband's family goes out of their way to make me comfortable and happy. The people are very friendly. Granted, I've never been in an Iranian custody battle, but I think that anytime you mix two countries into a custody battle there are bound to be huge problems and extreme inequalities.
post #16 of 41
Quote:
I really dislike it when you mention, Iran, Iranian men or whatever and people get all uptight and freaked out...it really offends me.
Sorry. I was just thinking that there may be particular times in particular cultures when a foreigner might feel particularly nervous. Which might lend itself to a skewed perspective. I don't know if that was the case in Iran at the time when the movie was set, just thinking out loud.

But it's interesting to see the other side of the story. Wow. Even when I watched it, and even though it was slanted in her favor, I did think she was certainly not the total victim that she portrayed herself as.
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
What's so nuts is that it's not like this type of thing has never happened with WHITE guys. C'mon, we can all think of many stories of white American men who have murdered their spouses or kidnapped their kids. But ONE book/movie about someone from a Muslim country and suddenly it becomes common knowledge that "That's how things are over there".
:
post #18 of 41
Regarding my husband directly, no. After he passed away though? It seemed as though all anyone could think to say to me was "you're not going back to Egypt, right? You can't go back! What if his family tries to take your son ..." That's all someone in no state of mind to be thinking clearly on their own needs to be hearing ... I'm still embarrassed that I even remotely entertained the notion as a result of the constancy of it all.

If it helps though, when we got married all my husband kept hearing from the friends who had yet to actually meet me was how he should never marry an American woman because I'd surely eventually divorce him and run back to the U.S. and he'd never, ever get to see whatever kids we might have again. The story, apparently, is popular on all sides.
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
If it helps though, when we got married all my husband kept hearing from the friends who had yet to actually meet me was how he should never marry an American woman because I'd surely eventually divorce him and run back to the U.S. and he'd never, ever get to see whatever kids we might have again. The story, apparently, is popular on all sides.
Yeah. I (and DH!) hear that one a lot too. My MIL STILL makes comments about how bad divorce is.... Hint hint.
post #20 of 41
Before I got married (to my Lebanese husband who grew up Muslim), I went to a counselor. She said the most absurd, racist things, talked about "not without my daughter," basically told me I was putting myself in danger. (And nothing I said about him could have given her that impression! The session was not about him at all.) My own extended family didn't have a good reaction, either, claiming fear of terrorists as well as the wife abuser stereotype. A good chunk of my extended family refused to come to my wedding reception and then acted sheepish when they actually met him a couple of years later. I'm shocked by the kinds of racist and sectarian things people are willing to say to me. (I notice that people who've actually met my husband never manage to say this sort of thing to my face.)

Some of my husband's family back in Lebanon feared him marrying a greedy, materialistic American who didn't value marriage and family. I sat next to him as he broke the news to his 80-year-old grandmother over the phone. Luckily, my Arabic wasn't very good at the time, so I didn't hear him trying to soothe her worries and deflect her suggestion that he "come home and find a good Lebanese woman." That same grandmother fawns over me whenever she sees me, and I am in love with my husband's whole family.

People still sometimes say things like, "he doesn't force you to wear the veil?!" when I tell them my husband is Lebanese. (Being Muslim doesn't mean you have to wear a head cover, and it's not acceptable to force it on someone against their will. And it never occurs to people that he might be a lapsed Muslim, or not Muslim at all.) People have all kinds of other questions that make my jaw drop. Some are cultural questions. A lot of them are political in nature, and I realize that people in America know very little of Middle East culture, history or politics. I try to remember that there was a time when I had some basic questions that I would now consider ridiculous. (I have to say that I was never as ignorant as some of my questioners, though. )

I feel really isolated, sometimes, by the fact that most Americans I meet are so happy to passionately embrace stereotypes of the Arab and Muslim worlds. I understand people have a lot of other things to think about, though, so I try hard to gently educate people on these subjects when I have the chance. And at least when that doesn't work, I get to come home and tell someone who loves and understands me all about it.

Thanks for starting this thread. It makes me feel like we're all in this together.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Multicultural Families
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › "not without my daughter"