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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Documentary Forbidden Lies

By chance the TV was on last night while I tinkered with my laptop. A documentary, Forbidden Lies, an Australian production was being aired.

The film was awarded Best Documentary in the Australian Film Critics Association in 2007 and after the first 5 minutes, I put down my computer and was captivated.

The film was about a Jordanian woman who wrote a bestseller book about her best friend, a Muslim, killed by her father and brother because she dis-honored them by falling in love with a Christian.

Norma was the author and she appeared in the docu as herself, often giving pained interviews about her own difficult childhood and her best friend's tragic life. She painted Jordanian women to be trapped in a society where they were not allowed in the streets without a hijab, or allowed in public without a male escot. She fought to get her message out by giving numerous TV interviews, in order to change laws in Jordan that alledgedly do not punish honor killings.

As the film progressed and her friend Dahlia's story was told by Norma, the publishers started getting reactionary letters from, strangely enough, Jordanian women who feel that Norma was not representing Jordan and their culture well.

Then cracks in Norma's tale started showing and it became more apparent that Dahlia may not even exist. Norma remains defiant and continued to fight the critics about the truth of her story and even brings a producer back to Jordan to prove that the murder took place.

When her trip failed to bring any truth to light, she spun other stories, about being sexually abused by her father and also her husband. Stories about her being a con artist emerged and it appeared that Norma had deceived many others in the US where she lived for most her life, even though she said she was in Jordan when Dahlia died.

Very interesting stuff and if  you do get a chance, watch it.

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