A Creature of the Saudi Night

Dalrymple observes a Saudi woman reluctant to reveal her face to an immigration officer, and wonders what she’s thinking:

I felt my gorge rising as I watched (discreetly). But my curiosity was also aroused. What imaginary threat was obviated by this vestimentary rigmarole? More important still, what were the woman’s true feeling during this episode? Clearly she was afraid, for fear was on her face when I saw it, but fear of what, exactly? The wrath of God of her husband? That anyone catching a glimpse of her would assault her sexually? Or was it only the fear of a creature of the night when exposed to full daylight?

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