by Annick Cojean - £8.99 Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press (2014)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781611855678 | ISBN 10: 1611855675
Soraya was just fifteen when she was given the honor of presenting a bouquet of flowers to Colonel Gaddafi, “the Guide,” on his visit to her school. She carried out her task with grace, but the next day three women from the “Department of Protocol” came to Soraya’s house, telling Soraya’s mother that she had to come and present more flowers to him — immediately. Soraya was taken to a luxurious desert encampment, measured for clothes, asked her bra size, shaved, and adorned with makeup. When she went into Gaddafi’s trailer, he was naked. This was the first sexual encounter she had with a man who would torment her for almost seven years.
In Gaddafi’s Harem, Le Monde special correspondent Annick Cojean gives a voice to Soraya’s story and supplements her investigation into Gaddafi’s abuses of power through interviews with other women who were exploited by Gaddafi and people working in his administration. Her book is a disturbing and important portrait of the horrors that can occur in any dictatorship — abuses of power on the most intimate level.
(Price & availability last checked: July 2014)