Read Gaddafi's Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya by Annick Cojean Marjolijn De Jager Online


In 2011, Annick Cojean, senior reporter at Le Monde and special correspondent for Tripoli, wrote a shock article, titled 'Gaddafi's sexual slave', which told the story of Soraya, a twenty-two-year old Libyan woman who had been kidnapped and held captive since the age of 15. Soraya was a schoolgirl in the coastal town of Sirte, when she was given the honour of presenting aIn 2011, Annick Cojean, senior reporter at Le Monde and special correspondent for Tripoli, wrote a shock article, titled 'Gaddafi's sexual slave', which told the story of Soraya, a twenty-two-year old Libyan woman who had been kidnapped and held captive since the age of 15. Soraya was a schoolgirl in the coastal town of Sirte, when she was given the honour of presenting a bouquet of flowers to Colonel Gaddafi, the Guide, on a visit he was making the following week. This one meeting - a presentation of flowers, a pat on the head from Gaddafi - changed Soraya's life forever. Soon afterwards, she was summoned to Bab al-Azizia, Gaddafi's palatial compound near Tripoli, where she joined a number of young women who were violently abused, raped and degraded by Gaddafi.In 2012, Cojean returned to Libya to continue her investigation. Her book, Gaddafi's Harem, takes Soraya as its starting point to recount the fates of so many other women. She has gone to remarkable lengths - rape is the highest taboo in Libya - to collect these women's stories. Heartwrenchingly tragic but ultimately redemptive, Soraya's story is the first of many that are just now beginning to be heard.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 abused by Gaddafi, and those who were involved with his regime, including a driver who ferried women to the compound, and Gaddafi's former Chief of Security.Gaddafi's Harem is an astonishing portrait of the essence of dictatorship: how power gone unchecked can wreak havoc on the most intensely personal level, as well as a document of great significance to the new Libya....

Title : Gaddafi's Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya
Author :
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ISBN : 9780802121721
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 287 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Gaddafi's Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya Reviews

  • Evan
    2019-03-12 05:10

    This is not an easy book to read, but it is a book that needs to be read nonetheless. The atrocities committed by Gaddafi, both public and secret, need to be publicly aired so that the nation of Libya can begin rebuilding its cultural and social history. Although a taboo subject, the sexual crimes that were perpetrated by the ruler and his followers cannot be forgotten or simply swept under the rug, as many would prefer. It is quite interesting to see how religion and culture can even shape people's reactions to these types of atrocities; blaming the women and feeling that a sense of shame is reflected upon the family, instead of on the abusers. The saddest reality is that not much seems to have changed in the country regarding the equality of women. Until women are given a place at the same table as the men who get to make decisions concerning their lives, there will never be equality.

  • Louise
    2019-03-18 02:57

    Political prisoners who have been beaten, humiliated, staved and chained are given a welcome back to society. Not so for Gaddafi’s sex slaves – and slaves they were. Upon release, none were feted, some were killed by their own families, all were labeled whores. This is the case of the women in Gaddafi's Harem.This powerful content needs a better book. I recognize that there are loses in translation as it goes from Arabic to French to English and I recognize the need to disguise the identity of those who agreed to be interviewed. The problems are that the stories are only sketches and that smaller points take space that should have been given to the larger issues.The first third of the book is the experience of Soyara. While history should have specifics about how the women of Bab al-Azizia were treated, I was glad that bedroom parts were general. The result is significant: when Gaddafi was finished with Soyara, she was often bruised, bleeding and sometimes needed medical help. The space devoted to Soyara; however, is an example of the need for perspective in this book. If this were a collection of short biographies on the women of the harem, the full story of Soyara in France (and the author’s verification trip) would have been appropriate. Because the book is (or should be) about the extent of Gaddafi’s sexual predation, the bios should have been either summarized or edited to include more info and description on topic: How did they cope? How did they relate to each other and to providers such as Mabrouka? How often were they called to “the Guide” and how did they spend their time in between? What did they share of their experiences in words, gestures, attitudes? There is little mention of the men who were raped, did they live in the Bab al-Azizia basement too?. The security needs explaining: one day one is held captive and on another able to walk out.In the later part of the book, Anniek Cojean describes what I believe is the most important revelation: how sex was a key part of Gaddafi’s grip on power. Gaddafi used sex to control and thumb his nose at Libyans. Harming a daughter or wife in a culture obsessed with female chastity was a powerful weapon. The girl or woman is blamed and the family shunned and ruined. The family may kill the woman to show their solidarity with the community. Sex was also a part of Gaddafi’s foreign policy. This particular weapon had nothing to do with Libya, and all to do with Gaddafi. In foreign affairs, he could best foreign leaders with unseen yet obvious trysts with wives, daughters and appointees.The scope of Gaddafi’s sex operation was astounding. He had people devoted to looking for women. He gave speeches at a university where he had a secret boudoir aside a gynecology room. He had his regime sponsor beauty pageants and shopping trips for young girls. He seems to beat up only the Libyan women. The “Guide’s” sex seemed to take all the regime’s time and energy. There seems to be no interest in education, trade, agriculture or any other government endeavor.There needs to be more exploration of the role of sexual predation in Gadaffi’s rise to and grip on power. There must be more consideration of these victims in post-liberated Libya. Gaddafi's inclination to abuse was abetted by the cultural view of women (and it appears homosexuals too) that keeps their mistreatment out of sight. Can this be common in other countries where women have few rights? Has this been an historical norm that has prompted the custom of veiling?At the end, the author says this book is being distributed in the US, Italy, China and Libya. I will be interested in the reaction of Libyans. What will happen to the profiled women if and when their identity is discovered? Will Libyans see the role of women, who began their revolution, with new eyes?While this book is a three star book, I’m giving it 5 for the courage of the author and those who were interviewed and for the importance of the issue it introduces.

  • Alisinny
    2019-03-03 02:47

    This book is very disturbing yet an important document of the Gaddafi years in Libya. The bravery of this young woman and the savagery and cowardice of her countrymen is painful to read, I can only imagine what she herself must feel. This story is an indictment of a brutal dictator and the system of men and women who facilitated his systematic rape and torture of young women and men (many of them still children really) and a society which despite ridding themselves of Gaddafi himself, continue to ignore the victims of his violent crimes. Any society which covers up crimes against its most vulnerable citizens rather than confront them and assist the victims to heal is continuing in the perpetuation of the original crime. Until a society truly values it's women and children it is going to continue to perpetuate brutal crime. The sense of outrage is palpable in this book, perhaps because so many of those who should be outraged would prefer to not know or acknowledge this sad history. I came away from this book feeling like I wanted to know there would be some outcome for young women like this. However the feeling I was left with was rather hopeless. An important historic and social document which deserves wide acknowledgement. Unfortunately I found the translation from the original french very clunky and ponderous. I had hoped Le Monde would have authorised a more readable English version.

  • Liz Simmons
    2019-03-10 06:14

    This is the opposite of a light read. French journalist Annick Cojean writes an important but hard to read account of the extensive system of sexual abuse /sexual slavery that existed in Libya under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. About the first half of the book (and in my opinion the most engrossing) is a firsthand account of one of Gaddafi's "girls." Soraya's story is brutal but it turns out, not uncommon. At the age of 15 she was "selected" from her school to present a bouquet of flowers to Gaddafi. She thought this was an honor but it turned into a nightmare that resulted in her enslavement for many years. Eventually, even her own family turned against her, because of the "shame" she had brought onto them. Gaddafi was a brutal and violent man who was completely obsessed with sex. Gaddafi selected women he desired from all parts of society, from the wives of visiting foreign dignitaries, to 12-year-old schoolgirls. He was fond of brutal, violent rape and caused internal injuries in many women. No one stopped him, because his regime was so powerful that to speak against any action would result in imprisonment, torture, and sometimes death. I think the most sinister part of this story was the accounts of the women who were complicit in this system, from the Eastern European nurses who took care of the victims after each brutal rape, to the terrifying Mabrouka, whose job it was to bring the girls to Gaddafi and "train" them to become whatever he desired. It is incredibly the things that people are capable of doing to each other. The author of this book found it very difficult to find people willing to talk to her about these atrocities. It is very disturbing that the women who were put through this torture cannot even get justice or recognition for what they went through, because Libyan society considers rape victims to be at fault. Gaddafi was a complete monster, and I can't believe that this part of the Libyan revolution has received such little exposure. This is a disturbing but very important story.

  • Wytzia Raspe
    2019-03-11 01:03

    French journalist Annick Cojean met some girls who according to her lived in the palace of the Libyan dictator as sex-slaves. I read her newspaper article first and when she wrote the book I was interested in a glimpse into the real life of this dictator. What a disappointing book. It tells nothing more then her newspaper article and gives no description or background at all. And it is very badly written. A total waste of money.

  • Thiago S.
    2019-02-23 01:55

    Lunatic book, a complete waste of time and money full of lies, recommended only for perverts and disturbed people; western cheap propaganda at its best (or worst?); should have a label "FICTION" on its cover_One of the most bizarre and terrible books I had ever read. The author probably was funded by someome interested in create a demonized figure of the former Libyan leader. This book is intended for those manipulated people with low IQ who believe the world is a big western cowboy movie with good guys (America, UK) vs bad guys like Gaddafi. The source of book has ZERO credibility and the whole story is almost laughable so disconnected of reality it is. Only buy this book if you are a couch potato with nihil knowledge of the media dirty propaganda systems and plus are sexually pervert and have pleasure fantasying the gross details of this sick book. If the world was a fair place, the author would be sued by Gaddafi relatives for creating this piece of garbage. Run away and avoid this, because watching Reality shows give you more culture than this Manual of "how make your enemy looks inhuman" which maybe have made a impact in Century XIX but is almost infantile on the Age of internet. A shame that among a lot of serious books about Libya and its former government, this FICTIONAL piece of propaganda is BY FAR the most distributed and sold. It tells something about our western culture and how manipulated we are. "Soraya", its main character, is so plausible (sic) as Gaddafi feeding gangs of African mercenaries with Viagra to mass-rape Libyan women, a story that was widely reported in 2011 by the media and later totally dismissed as histeric bull**** by Red Cross. Even if you didnt like him or his politics, you must know that the way Gaddafi is portraited - as a drug and sex addicted rapist - have absolutely no touch with reality and no references at all in his other biographies, including those texts produced by people which didnt praise and even rivalized with him. It becomes more interesting if you realize that Colonel Gaddafi was West enemy for at least three decades and only after NATO assault on Libya and his brutal assassination - a War Crime worldwide broadcasted - a report like this conveniently came to light.Mrs. Cojean should apply for a job on a british below standard tabloid and/or seek psychological help from professionals. Not even Hillary Clinton herself could write a piece more biased and grotesque than this. It absolutely needs to be put on the fictional shelf, but still would be a poor read. I read it for free, but if someome offered me a copy of "Gaddafi's Harem" and asked to exchange it for a tin can filled with manure, I would reject cause its a bad deal. It is disturbingly sad to see and makes you feel depressed and hopeless about the situation of our educational system and the future of our civilization to note how many innocent readers who reviewed it before were so frightened and shocked by the horror TALES described in this book that they couldn't even question how its possible - or at least to see the blatant incoherence - that the man who managed for 42 years the population with the highest HDI on Africa and had a crucial leading role on the continent's social developments - Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela used to call him as "our Brother and Guide" - was in his private life a modern version of Caligula or Vlad the Impaler...I do believe this creative and perhaps mentally sick author had fantasied a history about sexual slavery and then decided to use a famous world leader as its protagonist so it would boost the book sales, and her choice of legendary Brother Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for this crappy book certainly did it and plus pleased a lot of influent people in the western part of the globe, which helped such a waste of paper and ink (or bytes and battery) to contaminate a large number of readers.

  • Annisa
    2019-02-28 01:11

    It is not an amazing book.First, the flow of the story felt more as fiction rather than testimony or documentary, particularly on Soraya's story that takes half of the book.The second part is much better, although, somehow, I feel it is not ordered well enough.Somehow, the fiction impression that I got makes me want to read its French version, since probably the writer uses more expressions and more dramatical words than those she used here.Second,The writer also missed to emphasize and to conclude one important thought: a dishonored woman (still) has no place in current Libya. This is the hidden idea of the book that is not well explained.If the writer explored it more, she would able to give clearer link to each story.Despite those weaknesses, this book is pretty much light and easy to read

  • tinabel
    2019-03-11 02:46

    The first half of this biography-cum-history is Soraya’s story – told in the first person, she tells us of her tragic kidnapping by Gaddafi’s men and ‘Amazonian’ bodyguards and subsequent sexual enslavement at the young age of fourteen. Though much shocked me throughout the novel, perhaps one of the more surprising elements (since I was not overly educated on his reign and downfall prior to reading) was that Gaddafi advocated for women’s rights in Libya, a country with a Muslim majority. Ironically, Cojean argues that this was one of the reasons many people turned a blind eye, or at the very least, refused to believe the truth about Gaddafi’s true character. Similarly dumbfounding was the sheer number of people (women included, his wife in particular) who were aware of what was going on in the basement of Gaddafi’s compound – from high-ranking Libyan officials to major world leaders – and yet did nothing to stop it. Even the wives and daughters of prominent and influential men were not safe from Gaddafi’s reach, though some were willing to sell themselves to him for a night in exchange for the riches he offered. Most memorable was one story Soraya recalled of when she traveled with Gaddafi on business – the wife of an African nation’s president selling herself to him for a night in exchange for a large diamond. Others, he took by force, revelling in the fact that he could rape and abuse the wives and children of these men, and they could do little to stop him without risking their own lives and those of their family. Equally heartbreaking for me was what happened in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s downfall and subsequent execution. Try as she might to bring to light what she and so many others suffered, no one cared to listen to her story. Most Libyans, including her family, from whom she is potentially always one day away from an honour-killing, continue to sweep it under the rug. Perhaps more awful than enduring what Soraya endured, is, after coming out of it alive, finding no one willing to believe or acknowledge that what you went through was real or important or worth hearing, even your own family. This is one of the things that makes Gaddafi’s Harem such an important read – it allowed Soraya, and through her all, of those who similarly suffered, to tell their story to the world. My only grievance with Soraya’s story was my suspicion that much was lost in translation. This to be expected, however, when translating orally from Arabic (Soraya) to French (the book was originally written in Cojean’s native French) and then translated once again for the English edition. There were far too many exclamation points for my liking, and occasionally, the wording was awkward or choppy.The second half of the book, is told from Cojean’s journalist perspective, and seeks to corroborate Soraya’s story, as well as several other allegations against Gaddafi. In truth, I found some parts to be tedious and repetitive, and unfortunately, she lost me towards the end. However, much of what she investigated turned out to be true, finding others who witnessed similar acts of Gaddafi’s cruelty and were brave enough to tell their story.

  • Cheryl
    2019-02-24 05:55

    Respected French journalist, Annick Cojean, was in Libya shortly after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Cojean was writing an article for Le Monde about the role of women in the Libyan revolution. She found it curious that no women appeared in any films, photographs, or reports dealing with the ouster of Gaddafi. While in Tripoli, she was approached by a young woman who, at great risk to herself, told Cojean her story. Cojean was shocked and overwhelmed by the account, and she followed up on it by interviewing as many sources as she could to corroborate it.During his 42 year dictatorship of Libya, Gaddafi portrayed himself as a reformer and champion of women’s rights. He organized a military training institute for women, expanded educational opportunities, and was frequently shown with women bodyguards. But in reality, he was an abusive, violent sexual predator of young women and men--some as young as 11 and 12 years old. He instilled fear of retribution against anyone who would speak out about the horrors and atrocities he was perpetrating. His behavior was shocking, monstrous, disgusting, and criminal. The plight of his victims is unimaginable. Annick Cojean’s thorough investigation and exposure of the Gaddafi regime's abuses of power became an international bestseller and is the winner of the Grand Prix de la Presse Internationale and the International Club de Las 25 Prize.

  • Tayri
    2019-03-22 05:02

    A very interesting book, showing two worlds that were taking place in one country, two contradictory worlds, the suffering of women, the lavish expenditures and throwing of money away , while the real Populations is benefitting little of, the book showed what the real psycho character of the assissinated dictator was like , and the real face of Libya of today!

  • Jesús Santana
    2019-03-11 03:15

    Uno de los tantos problemas que tiene el mundo es la lamentable y triste costumbre de muchas personas que ven y analizan las dictaduras como buenas o malas dependiendo del punto de vista y del vinculo político que tenga quien las define así o los que las justifican diciendo “es que al menos hizo algo, él fue un dictador progresista” y eso ha generado o degenerado que muchas terribles historias hayan ocurrido, ocurren y seguirán repitiéndose en la historia del mundo. Mao Zedong, Idi Amin, Nicolae Ceausescu, François Duvalier, Benito Mussolini, Muamar el Gadafi, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro o Iósif Stalin son algunos de ellos entre tantos y que terminaron convirtiéndose en los terrores de sus países y de millones de personas, existen cientos de libros en los que se cuenta detalladamente las pesadillas que significaron estas manchas históricas para sus países, uno de los libros recientes que reúne de manera contundente los terrores de uno de ellos es el trabajo llamado “Las cautivas – El harén oculto de Gadafi” escrito por la reportera del periódico Le Monde Annick Cojean.Muamar Muhamad Abu-minyar el Gadafi gobernó Libia por mas de cuarenta años quien luego de liderar la llamada Revolución del 1 de Septiembre se convirtió en un terrible dictador que censuró, torturó y persiguió a todos los que de una u otra manera lo adversaron durante su casi medio siglo de gobierno, todo bajo el manto de su biblia política llamada El Libro Verde (un equivalente a El Libro Rojo de Mao Tse Tung) pero uno de los crímenes mas terribles que cometió fue crear un harén privado a su total servicio sexual, un lugar en el que abusó, violó y asesinó fríamente a una muy considerable cantidad de casi niñas, adolescentes, mujeres y algunos hombres.La investigación que hace la periodista francesa se muestra en “Las cautivas – El harén oculto de Gadafi” publicado por la Editorial Anagrama el cual se divide en dos partes, la primera corresponde a “La historia de Soraya” una de las victimas que sufrió un secuestro en ese circulo del infierno conocido con el nombre de Bab-al-Azizia el cual no solo funcionaba como el cuartel general de Gadafi en la ciudad de Trípoli sino también era el lugar donde Soraya sufrió por mas de cinco años la espantosa pesadilla de ser víctima a diario de las terribles torturas a las que se le sometió bajo el poder de este dictador. Soraya comienza a contar a Cojean su historia desde el principio y su rapto luego de ser seleccionada por el mismo Gadafi en un típico y supuesto inocente evento infantil o juvenil en su escuela, una simple caricia en su cabello que para todos los asistentes podría significar una sencilla muestra de cariño para con ella era en realidad la señal de que había sido seleccionada para ser parte de sus prostitutas privadas y el inicio de una historia de terror que le esperaría por unos cuantos años bajo el líder de Libia.Soraya narra con todo tipo de detalles lo que significó para ella esa simple caricia, como es básicamente arrancada violentamente de su hogar por el Comité de la Revolución y pensando que lo que sería un orgullo por haber sido seleccionada era simplemente una fachada para conocer a un personaje que abusaba sexualmente y a cada momento no solo de ella sino de otra gran cantidad de mujeres y hombres todos convertidos en esclavos sexuales del dictador. Excesos de todo tipo que incluían cocaína, muestra a niñas de pornografía para irlas preparando para su adultez y que así aprendieran las artes de satisfacer al líder, sacarle sangre de las que aún eran vírgenes para hacer rituales de magia negra y con esto creía poder mantenerse en el poder, otra gran cantidad de terribles eventos y criminales hechos que muchos aun quieren ocultar fue parte de lo que tuvo que soportar Soraya. La segunda parte del libro es llamada “La investigación” en este capitulo Cojean cuenta como fue su encuentro con Soraya y como durante este trabajo también pudo ubicar otra cantidad de valientes mujeres que de igual manera decidieron dar su fiel testimonio del terror que vivieron bajo las garras de Gadafi, de cómo las hermosas escoltas que el líder solía utilizar conocidas con el nombre de Las Amazonas eran algunas de las que de una u otra forma sirvieron de cómplices para raptar y abusar de las niñas y adolescentes esclavas, todas dan testimonio de cómo Gadafi solía pedir las fotografías de las bodas de sus mas cercanos amigos y conocidos para poder seleccionar chicas que fuesen llevadas ante él o su gran obsesión por las primeras damas de otros presidentes y dictadores que lo visitaban. “Las cautivas” analiza el abrupto y violento final de esta dictadura explicando realmente las razones por las que muchos de los oprimidos y abusados por tantos años decidieron cobrarle al dictador en vida antes de ser asesinado a sangre fría.Muamar Gadafi fue un terrible déspota y opresor de su pueblo, como todo dictador goza de muchos defensores alrededor del mundo, algunos opinan que lo que vive Libia después del fin de su imperio del terror es peor que el que reinaba otros lo niegan, pero de eso se encargaran quienes hoy hacen la historia, lo que no se puede negar son los hechos que estas mujeres cuentan con dolor y miedo luego de haberles destruido sus vidas para siempre y se debe trabajar intensamente para que la gente se entere de lo que sucedió y sucede en las dictaduras independientemente sea quien sea el líder o el partido al que pertenezca.

  • Vijai
    2019-03-21 23:51

    This was a very depressing book for me. Having finished this yesterday, I have had very little motivation to go work out, write or do just about anything else. How could I? After I read Soroya's story and the other women like her?A heart wrenching book that could leave one feeling very angry, sad and worried. Angry with all the fucked up families of these women. Here is your daughter coming to your home with bruises and blood all over her clothes and you are worried about the honour of your sons? What the fuck? Sad for the two girls written about in this book who after all that torture had been shot dead. Worried for Soroya. Will that girl get back on her feet?I hope and pray that all the Libyan women who went through such torturous hell be blessed with happiness. Last not but not the least, kudos the journalist who took the pains to write about these women and brought the world's attention to the atrocities they faced.The world owes it to these women to listen to their stories. So we may learn, so we may not forget and so we may do what we can to the brave hearts there ensuring that women gain their rightful prominence. Five stars for the message and writing. Please read this. Please buy first hand.

  • Bob Schnell
    2019-03-14 03:14

    The Arab/Islamic world has always been more than a bit mysterious and misunderstood by the Western world and Americans in particular. Other than Kipling tales and Hollywood stereotypes, my first glimmer of understanding came from Sir Richard Burton and his adventures in going undercover to really experience Arab culture first-hand. The latest eye-opener was this book, an expose of Gaddafi's use of rape as a political and miltary weapon in a society that blames the victim and hides such crimes for fear of the shame it would bring on their families. Gaddafi used this "tool" in his aresenal to great effect, luring unsuspecting victims with his "Brother Guide" cult of personality and then performing unspeakable atrocities in the hidden chambers he created throughout Libya. Though the crimes were well known, no one would dare speak against Gaddafi for fear of the shame and retribution that would follow. The first part of the book is one girl's tale, the second is the author's investigative journalism to corraborate the tale. This book is an indictment against Sharia Law, an argument for women's rights in the Islamic world and definitely not for the sqeamish.

  • Eléah
    2019-03-10 23:09

    Annick Cojean décrit dans ce livre l'histoire bouleversante de Soraya, une jeune fille qui a été enlevée par les sbires de Kadhafi quand elle avait quinze ans. Cette fille a eu sa vie brisée, encore aujourd'hui elle vit dans la honte car en Libye une femme qui n'est plus vierge avant le mariage est un déshonneur pour la famille. D'ailleurs ces frères ont envisagé de la tuer un jour. Sa captivité est décrite sans prendre des pincettes, la qualité d'écrite d'Annick Cojean nous fait ressentir son humiliation quand Kadhafi la faisait monter dans sa chambre.Dans la seconde partie du livre la journaliste mène son enquête sur les enlèvements de jeunes filles et la manipulation que Kadhafi exerçait notamment avec ses amazones. On découvre une Libye encore dans le déni et qui préfère ostraciser ces anciennes esclaves sexuelles plutôt que de les soutenir dans leur détresse. J'ai adoré et dévoré ce livre, et je le conseille à ceux qui sont intéressés par ce sujet.

  • Bassem Aly
    2019-03-04 06:10

    Well, after all I am not sure it was a real book with real content !It is something unbelievable, May be it categorized under a science-fiction book rather than being a political book which tell real stories !I can not understand or accept the fact that there was a man like the mentioned one in this book Mummar Qaddaffi !!How a human creature can be like the mentioned one with all this sexual-mania ?! and how was such a sluttish regime like the Libyan one able to stand all these years ?! and being welcomed for the national society ?!It is a shame on the humanity and mankind if this book was a real one was no exaggerations !!this book lets me questioned and buzzed of the terrors was mentioned in .. I wish if the writer was a hustler person and wish that I lost my time reading dozens of lies rather than being a true story full of this ugliness !!!May rest be on all dictatorship and madness victims with all not realistic wishes to can continue their lives one day !!!

  • Rowena
    2019-02-26 01:05

    Deeply disturbing book and utterly shocking, especially for the fact that such a public figure can get away with such horrendous crimes for forty odd years. The story itself tends to be repetitive and once one account by one witness is read you essentially don't really need to read the rest. Certain facts seem implausible and it would have been more credible if the author had checked her facts before writing certain things down which make her story dubious. For example, I know for a fact that abortion is illegal and not practiced in Malta to this date. So for her to state that one of the girls was sent there from Libya to terminate a pregnancy was very foolish. It screams of fabricated embellished story.

  • Holly
    2019-02-25 05:06

    A disturbing book written sensitively and openly that exposes Gaddafi's persecution of women through sex. This book gives a voice to the rape, brutality and perversion that was emblematic of Gaddafi's reign in Libya. His maniacal demands took away the souls of so many people he systematically targeted and debased. While publicly stating his support for women, in private he treated women (and mere well as men and his own family members) to a private hell that they may never recover from. It's a disturbing and shocking book, but one that needs to be read. Annick Cojean tells the story of Soraya in her own words and relates those of others, displaying horror that is almost unimaginable in modern times.

  • jeand99
    2019-03-11 02:53

    Power tends to corrupt and absolute power, corrupts absolutely. The 42 year reign of Muammar Gaddafi (1942-2011) in Libya proves this 'fact' one more time. He was sex-obsessed and committed an endliss list of sexual crimes. No woman or man was safe in his country. Rape for 'fun'. Rape for punishing. Rape for lust. Rape for manipulation. Children. Teens. Woman. He even raped the woman and daughters of his generals. And if he had to the generals themselves too. Complaining in Libya? Tricky ... mostly it was a death warrant.Who sodomized him after being captured? Why?More:

  • Marti
    2019-03-13 01:47

    This was one depressing read. I always thought Gadhafi was an evil buffoon, but in addition to blowing up airplanes he seemed to treat the whole country of Libya as his own personal brothel (even selecting his victims from middle schools). Although inmates of the Presidential Dungeon were allowed brief trips outside the gates of the palace, anyone who tried to leave was generally coerced back (usually by threatening the families). It also seems as though the entire country knew about his atrocities and kept quiet out of fear. How a leader of a country (even a lunatic) had time for all this is pretty amazing, but I do not doubt a word of the story.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-24 01:47

    Started off interesting, though very disturbing, and I was more thoroughly disturbed once I googled what Gaddafi looked like. After a while, though, the writing devolves into being very vague, repetitive and boring, which is kind of an amazing feat given the subject matter.

  • Helena Sheibler
    2019-03-07 02:05

    We all knew the guy was insane but wow. That said, I'm uncertain about this book. I believe the events described within but there's a lurid quality that cheapens the narrative. Perhaps it's a bad translation.

  • Bina Rai
    2019-03-18 04:08

    Another disturbing book reflecting on the corrupt and schizophrenic profile of a dictator. A man who supposedly ruled a country but beneath it all was basically a sex predator and an addict. The story behind all the glitz and glamour that was projected.

  • Maureen Grigsby
    2019-03-16 01:09

    Appalling! It is just horrific to think what happens to many women in countries that have no respect for women. This book makes it frighteningly understandable why we haven't heard more on this subject.

  • Nicko D
    2019-03-07 02:15

    Great story for a newspaper, but absulutely no for a book!

  • Giada
    2019-03-01 01:01

    Soraya è una quindicenne come tante, ha una famiglia che la ama, ha degli amici, va a scuola. La sua vita scorre tranquilla almeno fino a quando Gheddafi non si presenta nella sua scuola e la ragazzina viene scelta insieme a sue coetanee, per accogliere la "Guida" portando gli omaggi dell'intera scuola e dei fiori. Quando la piccola si avvicina l'uomo le accarezza la testa, lei non sa che quella sarà la sua condanna, che quel gesto per molti affettuoso e dolce decreterà l'inizio di una nuova e crudele vita. Il giorno dopo la giovane viene prelevata infatti dal negozietto dove lavora la madre e portata al cospetto di Gheddafi. L'uomo che agli occhi del mondo sembra essere un salvatore, un difensore delle donne, altri non è che un sadico e crudele che ha fatto della sua casa un harem privato dove ragazzine (anche minorenni) e ragazzi vengono costretti ad assecondare ogni capriccio e depravato desiderio. Soraya non può fare nulla per impedire che il suo corpo venga percosso e violato da un mostro che lei ha sempre ammirato e visto come un Dio. Per molti anni la ragazza è costretta a vivere al servizio di Gheddafi, ad assecondarlo, ad essere trattata come una serva e una nullità. Questo libro è la testimonianza di Soraya raccontata a una giornalista, il racconto di quei terribili giorni e di come ora, dopo la morte del dittatore, lei stia cercando disperatamente di ricostruirsi una vita normale, cercando di dimenticare quei terribili anni. In questo libro non viene però raccontata solo la testimonianza di Soraya ma anche quella di altre donne intenzionate a far cadere il velo di silenzio che per moltissimo tempo ha imprigionato tante donne, diversissime tra loro sia per ceto sociale che per età. Vengono quindi presentati racconti di altre giovani riuscite a liberarsi dalle grinfie di quel mostro, raccolte testimonianze di amici e parenti delle vittime e talvolta anche intervistate persone vicine a Gheddafi e al suo pensiero e disposte a negare le pesanti accuse rivolte alla loro ex guida. Il risultato è un libro forte e pesante da leggere, scoprire cosa dovevano subire ragazzine anche molto giovani è veramente difficile da concepire. Sono stata subito attirata da questo volume, ho sempre avuto un occhio di riguardo per certi libri che vogliono informare sulle condizioni di vita delle donne ahimè non altrettanto fortunate come noi donne occidentali, libri come questi mi hanno sempre colpita sia in positivo che in negativo e questo non ha fatto eccezione. Sapere che lo stesso Gheddafi, il quale incitava il popolo maschile a rispettare le donne diffondendo un messaggio positivo, non solo non pensava quello che diceva ma anzi non esitava a stuprare anche ragazzine di appena 12 anni beh... è schokkante! Vorrei riuscire a trovare mille parole per descrivere il mio sdegno o il mio disgusto ma non ci riesco proprio. E' terribile, rivoltante e spero questo libro denuncia possa servire a qualcosa, possa spingere gli uomini a prendere coscienza della situazione femminile e a darci un taglio con certi comportamenti, purtroppo come spesso succede mi è difficile pensare che questo "libretto" sia servito a qualcosa leggendo certe notizie che ancora oggi girano in rete, sono infatti molti a ritenere "esagerata" la storia della stessa Soraya, nel libro infatti persone difendono Gheddafi, lo stesso preside della scuola nega che ci sia mai stata una vera e propria visita della Guida per scaricare qualsiasi responsabilità sull'accaduto mentre come viene scritto e testimoniato non solo da Soraya ma da altre donne erano gli stessi insegnanti o presidi delle scuole ad indicare le ragazzine più belle e "papabili" come amanti! Una vergogna che certa gente possa negare spudoratamente storie così tremende. Nonostante il libro abbia sollevato polemiche e ci si interroghi se la storia della giovane Soraya sia vera io non ho motivi per dubitarne, non ci troviamo infatti qui in Occidente dove dire una cosa del genere ti mette sulla bocca di tutti e ti permette di farti pubblicità e fare carriera, ci troviamo in paesi dove la condizione di vita delle donne è sempre stata spesso inferiore a quello delle bestie, nonostante i mille messaggi buonisti ci sono valanghe di testimonianze di donne dalle più umili alle più benestanti che denunciano abusi e violenze, le donne hanno il compito di fare le madri e tacere, non sempre hanno opportunità come noi occidentali così tanto abituati alla "parità" di genere. Mi risulta difficile che in paesi dove non esitano a sparare in faccia a bambine (Malala ne è un famoso esempio) per motivi "futili" come quello dell'istruzione possano inventarsi storie così forti e sconvolgenti consapevoli di diventare loro stesse vittime di attentati. Se una bambina come Malala solo esponendosi e lottando affinchè tutte le bambine avessero un istruzione è stata colpita quasi a morte come potrebbero reagire di fronte a una testimonianza che colpisce gravemente e distrugge un mito quale era Gheddafi? Per questo motivo mi è impossibile credere che sia falsa, ci possono essere momenti resi forse più drammatici vista la giovane età della ragazza (si sa che in certe situazioni si può riportare i fatti in maniera più drammatica o violenta di quanto non siano stati in realtà) ma la violenza, l'umiliazione c'è stata e DEVE essere vista da tutti! Deve essere sotto gli occhi di tutti e questo libro DEVE essere letto per fare in modo che nessuno, sia un popolano o un capo di governo, possa compiere azioni tanto barbare nei confronti di donne più o meno giovani!E' un libro da leggere assolutamente e non devono essere le mie sole 3 stelline a fermare qualcuno. Ho messo infatti 3 stelline soltanto per miei problemi, la testimonianza di Soraya infatti è abbastanza breve e le altre pagine del libro contengono oltre alle testimonianze l'inchiesta della giornalista nei luoghi dove Soraya aveva vissuto o era stata, questa scelta penalizza molto la lettura, ci ritroviamo infatti una prima parte che scorre rapidissima per la necessità di sapere cosa è successo e come si sia salvata la ragazza e una seconda parte che fatica ad ingranare, avrei preferito che si mischiassero inchiesta e testimonianza così da invogliare la lettura, ammetto infatti che nonostante il tema mi stesse a cuore è stato durissimo finire di leggere, metà libro può, vista la strutturazione del volume, risultare pesante. Avendo letto altri libri-testimonianza l'ho notato subito e ho deciso di votare solo 3 stelline. Essendo questo libro un'occasione per lanciare un chiaro messaggio mi è dispiaciuto che sia stato mal strutturato così, ovviamente è solo una mia opinione, conosco persone che lo hanno divorato in appena un giorno senza lamentarsi come me.Posso solo consigliarlo a tutti! Sia alle donne che agli uomini, questa lettura deve far riflettere e deve essere condivisa affinchè episodi come quello di Soraya non si ripetano mai e mai più!

  • Vânia Garcia
    2019-02-27 00:09

    Não foi um livro em que possa dizer que não me emocionei... o facto de ser uma história real e de Soraya ter narrado a sua história ao pormenor não se torna algo fácil de digerir. É horrível saber como as mulheres na Líbia foram obrigadas a esquecer toda a sua dignidade, a deitar para o lixo todos os seus sonhos e ambições somente por mero capricho de um ditador. o sofrimento dessas mulheres não será esquecido enquanto existirem escritores como Annick Cojean.Não é propriamente o tipo de leitura que goste, mas foi uma "boa" surpresa. Aconselho a leitura, mais não seja para conhecermos algumas realidades do mundo em que vivemos.

  • Alicja
    2019-02-25 02:57

    Les + : témoignage édifiant, glaçant d'horreur et ô combien essentiel pour ouvrir les mentalités, dénoncer l'indéfinissable et faire en sorte que cela ne se reproduise jamais plusLes - : j'aurai aimé en savoir plus sur ce qu'est devenu Soraya et comment la Libye dans son ensemble a accueilli cet ouvrageLes premières lignes du livre ?"Au tout début, il y a Soraya. Soraya et ses yeux de crépuscule, ses lèvres boudeuses, et ses grands rires sonores. Soraya qui, avec fulgurance, passe du rire aux larmes, de l'exubérance à la mélancolie, d'une tendresse câline à la brutalité d'une écorchée. Soraya et son secret, sa douleur, sa révolte. Soraya et son histoire démente de petite fille joyeuse jetée entre les griffes d'un ogre. C'est elle qui a déclenché ce livre."Que raconte l'histoire ?Ce livre est un témoignage de la situation des femmes sous l'ère du dictateur Kadhafi. Principalement, celui de Soraya. Séquestrée à 15 ans par les complices du "Guide", esclave sexuelle de ce dernier, régulièrement battue, violée, insultée, humiliée, elle vivra enfermée durant de nombreuses années dans un sous-sol en compagnie d'autres jeunes filles captives du dictateur. Soraya nous livre dans son témoignage son histoire sans en accentuer les faits, sans fioritures. Avec le seul désir d'être cru pour pouvoir enfin reprendre le cours de sa vie.Suite au témoignage, il y a toute la partie enquête journalistique d'Annick Cojean. Cette enquête va plus en profondeur, à la rencontre de nombreux témoins et met en lumière ce qui n'est pas explicité dans le témoignage.Les phrases qui m'ont marquées ?"Mais Kadhafi nous a tous pris pour des esclaves ! Il a vomi sur son peuple toutes ses souffrances passées, détruisant notre culture, balayant notre histoire, imposant à Tripoli le néant du désert ! Certains Occidentaux se sont pâmés devant sa soi-disant culture alors qu'il méprisait la savoir et la connaissance. Il devait être le centre du monde ! (...) Oui, le sexe fut en Libye un moyen de pouvoir : "Tu t'écrases, tu m'obéis, sinon je te viole, toi, ta femme, ou tes enfants." Et il le faisait, condamnant tout le monde au silence. Le viol fut une arme politique avant qu'il n'en fasse une arme de guerre."Une bonne raison de le lire ?Que nous le voulions ou non, nous faisons parti d'un tout. Ma vie, comme la vôtre, est influencée et impactée par les décisions que peuvent prendre non seulement les dirigeants de mon pays mais aussi de l'Europe et du monde dans son ensemble. L'actualité est essentielle afin de savoir où nous en sommes chaque jour.Je n'aime pas regarder les infos mais je le fais néanmoins chaque matin en prenant mon petit-déjeuner avant d'aller travailler. Pour les raisons évoquées ci-dessus. Aussi rêveuse et candide que je puisse être, je ne peux ignorer la situation de mon pays et du monde entier. Comme beaucoup d'autres personnes, j'ignorais beaucoup de choses sur la Libye et Kadhafi. Ce livre m'a permis de cerner qui était ce dictateur et faire jaillir au grand jour les horreurs qu'il a infligées à son peuple.Ce témoignage est très important car il fait parti de l'Histoire, au même titre que la 2nde guerre mondiale. Certains diront que ce n'est pas à même échelle que la guerre. Mais l'horreur et la souffrance sont-elles quantifiables ? Bref, la question n'est même pas là.Un bémol ?J'aurai personnellement aimé savoir ce qu'il est advenu de Soraya. L'auteure, grand reporter au "Monde" en parle un peu mais cela reste très vague. La vie continue, qu'on le veuille ou non. Et je suis certaine que beaucoup d'autres choses attendent Soraya. Pour le meilleur, je l'espère.Au niveau de l'écriture et du style ?Le témoignage de Soraya et l'enquête sont très bien relatées et commentées. On sent un vrai travail d'Annick Cojean de coller au plus près de la vérité et de prouver ce qu'il est avancé. A qui je l'offrirais ?Je l'ignore. Je pense que ce livre mérite amplement d'être lu mais il faut le vouloir. C'est un "cadeau" pour toutes ces femmes, toutes ces victimes, que leurs histoires soient connues et reconnues.Note attribuée ?Je ne peux noter ce livre. En règle générale, il est très difficile d'évaluer un roman. Entre en ligne de compte tellement de facteurs subjectifs et de références déjà connues. Mais il est pour moi impossible de donner une note à un témoignage. Ce serait comme évaluer sur une échelle la vie d'une personne. Cela est impossible.Je peux seulement mettre en avant que ce témoignage fait parti de l'Histoire de la Libye. Il est vrai qu'il est étrange pour une petite française sans aucun lien avec un pays du Proche ou Moyen-Orient de se pencher sur le sujet mais ce livre m'a immédiatement irrésistiblement attiré et son récit m'a touché. Nous sommes, en France pour la majorité, mal informé sur ce qu'il se passe ailleurs (et pourtant étrangement nous sommes quotidiennement abreuvé de nouvelles dont nous ne connaissons souvent jamais le dénouement). C'est notre devoir à tous de nous éduquer, connaître certains pans sordides de l'Histoire pour réfléchir, transmettre ce que nous savons à d'autres personnes et ne jamais oublier Soraya.Critique complète sur mon blog :

  • Abdullah Hussaini
    2019-02-24 01:53

    Buku ni membuatkan aku stay di MPH dari lepas asar sampai sebelum balik. Cerita tentang hamba seks kepada Ghaddafi dan pembongkaran sisi gelap Ghaddafi serta negara Libya. Aku asyik dengan cerita ni seolah2 menonton documentary Vice News. Tapi aku cuma percaya 60% je daripada cerita ni Tak semua.

  • Javiera
    2019-02-24 23:53

    sickening, terrifying ordeals

  • Moonlight
    2019-03-09 01:11

    That's kind of my second experience with this kind of books, based on true story. Honestly after reading " Burned alive by Souad ", some say it's not real memoir, I don't know what to believe as long as all our world based on lie. Just now I finished "Harem of Kadafi", the difference between books is just first woman has choice in life and she choose love after that she was treated as whor* in her country, the second one didn't have choices at all. Dictator made her choice and ruined her life, make her family be ashamed of daughter. All I want to say, no matter religion or race, men keep abusing women. Women still being with those men either cause of love or cause they don't have choice and can't leave this person. It's so shameful that we are humans but behave like species , have animals instincts. Men still see in women just an accessory, women is a toy, she doesn't need to be smart or she doesn't need to talk, they are not attracted to that, they love by eyes. In other hand as long as women treated like that she gave men what ever he wants and interested only in money. It life it was always hard to understand each other, but I really wish that men would treat women more that just a "piece" of meat, same women will have respect for men. And I wish ppl will never give up on what they want or what they need,but only in good way. Life could be much more better if we put effort to live life, not just exist in this life.