Interview by Alexandra Simeonidou in grafida-sintikis and Christos Katsaros before republishing the book entitled “Nightmares in the Saudi Arabian Desert” by the publishing group Menander-Alkyon.
Alexandra Simeonidou: entitled “Nightmares in the Saudi Arabian Desert”.
The Greek woman who escaped from hell
Alexandra Simeonidou, is a Greek woman who escaped from hell.
Mrs. Alexandra Simeonidou is a sweet person, she honored us by giving an interview. Her books, touch a very sensitive issue, the position of women in the Muslim society based on the Sharia and Arabic culture, an issue that may confront the Greek, but also the European society with refugees and the migration flows from the Arab countries. In the books of Mrs. Simeonidou, beyond her personal experience, she speaks about a testimony to how far away is the concept and culture of the Western world than the Islamic.
Mrs. Simeonidou, your personal history and the books you have written put the lights of publicity on you. Has that changed your daily life and if so in which way?
I would not say that it changed my everyday life I still live my life as before, nevertheless I would not rule that revealing this matter through my book it made a big impact.
What was the reason for you to communicate to the world what you lived? It was a confessional mood that will redeem you from the pain you experienced or a warning to other women and society in general of what Islam is?
First, it was a great need to bring out of my bones from deep down inside of me, it was a redemption of the soul clutching mid unbearable my passions. The soul's testimony was redemptive and liberating of the shackles of the past, while it enabled me to also bring the information to other women in due time.
Mrs. Simeonidou, only the woman is essentially a property in the Islamic world or there are other categories of people who are oppressed and cannot react?
I think only the woman is subordinate to this fate to be a piece of property of her husband. No other categories; men are the “a and z” in these societies.
In your book you talk about easy money opportunities in exchange for moral retreats from some girls who worked as hostesses. On the other hand, Greece is a country that is fermented for at least 400 years to the Muslims and pretty much some things have left their odor even in the Greek mentality, at least until the 80s. There were not enough indications of how women are treated in these societies?
That there were easy money opportunities for some of them, it is an indisputable fact, because "no one hated money." On the subject of Greece and kneading of the Muslims during the Ottoman occupation are not clear clues or indications at least for the new generations, or even was such thinking on the issue of women's treatment. They are another world. And Greeks never subdued to them in no way.
Today, if you could go back in time what would you change? Your wedding was clearly a bitter experience but on the other hand was also a life experience and you had your son. What will you keep and what you would like to change from all that?
It is impossible to turn back time, "as the facts, are the facts," but even if I could go back in time, I would not change anything, because if it were not for these experiences and triggers, which of course were the worst experiences of life, I would not be able to give my testimony and to contribute by giving enlightening information to women.
Do you believe that the treatment that you had had from your ex-husband’s family and also from himself was it out of fear in front of the “different” as you were foreigner and Christian in the Arab-Islamic world? The deeply rooted culture of subordination of woman and whatever departed from that was it in their consciousness of a reduced morality and therefore dangerous?
I think there was no fear for the preservation of their ideas, on the contrary, they treated me with fury, as an outlandish, infidel, an element of another religion because except to their own religion, none has value and it is naturally reduced of an ostensibly moral, but above all I would say with certainty that they are possessed by a terrible inferiority syndrome.
In regards to the Greek society and the official state structures, how did they face you when you arrived in Greece with your mother and the unborn child and later on when your story became known and more ago when you were trying to save yourself from this Calvary suffers?
The Greek society had no reason to deal with me in a different way, anyway when I arrived and for some time no one knew anything about my personal life. Later, when my story became known because of my published book it affected the society and mostly the women, they faced me with sympathy, admiration, and many other emotions arising from such an adventure as for the State structures, I cannot say that they were touched.
Today is there even a minimum of communication with your ex-husband with you or your son?
As you said there is some communication in a latent form just with my son.
Do you think that European culture will accept a blow from the refugees’ flows or there will be a creative osmosis of cultures and mentalities?
I believe that European culture will suffer from the influx of refugees. I cannot even think or discuss about an osmosis and coexistence of cultures, these people have only one thing on their mind, to spread their religion everywhere and to eliminate the rest of us.
Mrs. Simeonidou, today you are an established writer. How do you see the book's position in Greece and the world?
Ah! The space of the book is a "church" where each 'faithful' author deposits his being, his soul. It should be taken seriously but unfortunately again in Greece all have a flowing form. In the rest of the world the book excels, the book illuminates, awakens consciences, offers knowledge, offers companionship.
What in your opinion made the world love so much your books and especially the Nightmares in the Desert Nights of Arabia which is about to be republished if I'm not mistaken?
It is a republished anniversary, also due to what is going on in the world. My books and especially the first one that is experiential, my autobiography, people love it because it is genuine and true reporting valid in todays world and of an invisible part of it that people do not know and fully understand.
What is the secret of a well-written book and what you have to advise all those who decide for the first time to deal with the writing?
It is very difficult at least for me, to give well-written book recipes, of course as anyone can understand it should be of a very exciting subject, touching hearts and then it depends on anyone’s ability how he can formulate his thoughts, as it happens with painters and other artists.
You were stewardess, how exciting is it to fly in the skies and I wonder if you never miss that feeling?
I love to fly in the air, it is this sense of freedom together with a taste of risk that brings me in seventh heaven. Yes, I miss it very much but I always fly as a passenger and that excites my imagination and raises my adrenaline.
What are your future plans on the literary field? Do you prepare something new? Will you work with translations or thinking about something else?
My future plans are focused on writing new exciting stories, to keep on traveling around the world and to convey my experience to expand internationally as I have done so far. The translations of my books go together with my writings.