It seemed almost like a movie in the making; the story of a princess who gave up a lifestyle of royalty for a man she fell in love with. Indeed the seemingly real-life fairy tale of Princess Meriam Al-Khalifa's marriage to a U.S. marine spawned international media coverage, an appearance on America's highest rated television talk show "Oprah" and a battle between Hollywood's giants for the rights to tell their story.
The American network NBC triumphed, making the recent television film, "The Princess and the Marine" as part of its bid to win the February television rating war.
The heavily promoted film told the story of how this Bahraini princess fell in love with U.S. Marine Jason Johnson after meeting him at a shopping mall. It told how she continued to see him, despite her parents' wishes and how the two fled the country with the princess disguised as a U.S. Marine. And just like the true-life story, the movie demonstrated that the couple's troubles began shortly after their arrival on U.S. soil.
Immigration officials in Chicago detained the princess and attempted to send her home, but after pleading for political asylum, Meriam was allowed to stay pending the outcome of an immigration hearing.
The couple eloped in a small Las Vegas ceremony and the two moved in with Jason's open-armed parents. Johnson was demoted in rank for his part in helping the princess leave Bahrain.
Now in real life, the Princess and the Marine, with the assistance of a Los Angeles agent and an attorney, have taken their case to the public. Their hope is that they will garner enough political pressure to force an immigration judge to rule on her behalf.
Unfortunately this tale of a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, as their agent revealed in a recent interview, will be told again and again, ad nauseam, through a book deal and on a lecture tour, making one wonder if Princess Meriam Barbie dolls aren't far behind.
But regardless of how many times this story is told, the true victims in this media blitz are America's Muslim community.
It has thus far served in the best interest of the Bahraini princess, her new husband and everyone associated with them to depict Islam in the most negative light possible. The couple's attorney has already paraded out Jean Sasson, author of a series of nonfiction bestsellers, which depicts the "absolute male authority" of Saudi Arabia. This self-described expert on Muslim women has capitalized on the Western fascination with real and/or imagined sex slaves and harems in the Muslim Middle East. Sasson has already made a public appearance with the couple and has vowed to testify in Meriam's behalf in an upcoming immigration hearing.
And each time the story has been told, it has both direct and indirect false messages that Islam is a religion in which women are "oppressed".
But in all the press coverage and television appearances, few have truly focused on some troubling questions about the couple's story. For example, no one has focused on the fact that Princess Meriam began "dating" the marine at the young age of 17, an act considered to be illegal even in some U.S. states. And no attention has been given to the GI's insensitivity to the country's religious and cultural mores and his lack of respect to Meriam's parents whom he knew did not approve of their relationship. Instead, Islam, and the nation of Bahrain are subjected to Western value judgments. This was no more apparent then during the Princess' appearance on the Oprah show, when the daytime diva of talk gave her audience yet another dose of self-righteousness by proclaiming, "Isn't America the best place for girls?"
But what Oprah and others have failed to note is that the United States is not necessarily the best place for teen-aged girls. It is a country plagued with teen pregnancy, sexual diseases, eating disorders, suicides and drug and alcohol addictions.
Unfortunately that true story doesn't bring in high television ratings, and it doesn't sell millions of books.
can't respect any one else. This people are allways like that, We should not bother even and continue to look for those who are searching for truth.