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Jerson Flores
Jerson Flores

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Arsa de vie - Suad: A Book Review




Arsa de vie - Suad (Burned Alive - Suad) is a controversial memoir written by a Palestinian woman who survived an attempted honor killing by her family. The book was published in 1998 and became a bestseller in several countries, including France, Italy, and Germany. The book claims to be based on a true story, but its authenticity has been questioned by some critics and journalists.


The book tells the story of Suad, a young woman who grew up in a conservative village in the West Bank. She fell in love with a man from another religion and became pregnant with his child. When her family discovered her secret, they decided to kill her to restore their honor. They poured gasoline over her body and set her on fire. Suad miraculously survived the attack, but suffered severe burns and scars. She was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem, where she met Jacqueline Sauvage, a French human rights activist who helped her escape to Europe.


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The book describes the harsh realities of life under the Israeli occupation, the oppression of women in patriarchal societies, and the violence of honor crimes. It also portrays Suad's courage and resilience in overcoming her trauma and finding a new life in France. The book aims to raise awareness and compassion for the victims of honor killings, which are still practiced in some parts of the world today.


However, the book has also been criticized for its lack of credibility and accuracy. Some critics have pointed out that the book contains many factual errors, inconsistencies, and exaggerations. For example, the book claims that Suad was burned alive in 1982, but the hospital records show that she was admitted in 1978. The book also claims that Suad was 18 years old when she was attacked, but she was actually 25. The book also depicts Suad's village as a primitive and isolated place, where people live in mud houses and have no access to electricity or education. However, some journalists who visited the village found that it was modern and developed, with paved roads, schools, and clinics.


Some critics have also accused the book of being a hoax or a fabrication, orchestrated by Jacqueline Sauvage or other parties for political or financial motives. They have argued that Suad's story is too unbelievable and sensationalized to be true, and that there is no evidence or witness to corroborate it. They have also suggested that Suad's identity and appearance have been changed or concealed to protect her from retaliation or scrutiny.


The book has sparked a heated debate among readers, reviewers, and researchers about its veracity and validity. Some have defended the book as a powerful and inspiring testimony of a survivor's struggle and survival. Others have denounced the book as a fraudulent and exploitative work of fiction that exploits the suffering of real victims and misrepresents the culture and history of Palestine.


The book can be downloaded as a PDF file from various sources online . However, readers should be aware of the controversy surrounding the book and exercise their own judgment and critical thinking when reading it.


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