Death of a Princess [site homepage]
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photo of the recreation of the executionjoin the discussion: What are your reactions to Death of a Princess and the international furor that it provoked 25 years ago?

Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear FRONTLINE,

Having lived in two Arab countries, who considered themselves democratic, I agree with the young female journalist at the end of the revised "Death of A Princess". Saudi looks western, has all the western trappings, all the haute couture in chic boutiques and it's royal families take their leisure in non-Arab countries. However, at heart Saudi Arabia is tribal in nature, and lives by tribal rules. I believe the Princess died a victim of those tribal rules. For else how long can a tribe survive as well as the Saudi Family has without forcing its strength every so often. When you go to Saudi now, yes things seem to have changed. But I believe the minor changes in Saudi practices for women have come about only because the tribe has recognized the world can no longer be kept out, so it must adapt, or at the very least, apppear to adapt to the world around them. I do not believe for one moment that the choice to kill the princess was actually predicated on Sunni interpretations of Islam, I believe that is an excuse and an affront to the Muslim religion. The Quoran is the holy book; The Sunni: interpretations of men, long after the death of the prophet. Therefore, I think the Princess's death was a cruel ruling of a tribe for what purpose I think only they, in hindsight, recognize as a mistake. It wasn't a ruling based upon religion, it was a ruling based on keeping a society in obeyance and servitude.

Mary Markey

Dear FRONTLINE,

Frontline has produced some excellant reporting in depth on national and, especially, international issues in the past--but I must say that there seems to be less of that recently and I'm concerned with what appears to be a greater timidity, perhaps even intimidation, of all the media. I hope that I'm wrong, but I doubt that PBS would produce The Death of A Princess today. Yes, doing this rebroadcast showed some courage but that is nothing like that for the original.

Oscar Lee Brownstein
Lancaster, PA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Sobering to think that in the 21st century such utter repression exists in a so called civilized society. The continuing plight of women in the Arab world is repulsive. That a sooiety can be so blind to the consequences of such a policy boggles the mind. It is obvious that without the contribution of fifty percent of a society, the momentum of that society is necessarily slowed by a far greater percent. This logical consequence is lost on Arab males whose interests seem tied to the statistical chance that they turned out male rather than female. Apparently, fatalism is the basis of their existence.

jacques warner
Charlotte Amalie, VI

Dear FRONTLINE,

i think its a very powerful story and still true even after 25 yrs & all the reforms that saudi is trying to change. i wanna take this opportunity to say thank you to bring into light by re-broadcasting on pbs across america. i knew of the arab culture and even its very shocking to watch the story unfold. frontline made the right choice by bringing this to public again with all the present tumoil in the middle east & for the american public to understand how things are still ... thank you very much again and a job well-done!

sao sao
new york, new york

Dear FRONTLINE,

It is interesting that PBS caused an international controversy involving diplomats, business leaders, and heads of state by airing this program 25 years ago. Today, PBS receives threats from a US cabinet official for simply producing -- not even airing -- an innocent children's program. What has changed in 25 years ? Perhaps the context has changed, but government oppression, religious fanaticism, and media censorship have not.

bruce hale

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posted april 19, 2005

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