The shocking true story of a schoolgirl's abduction into Colonel Gaddafi's secret harem of sex slaves. the shocking true story of a schoolgirl's abduction into Colonel Gaddafi's secret harem of sex slaves. Award-winning French journalist Annick Cojean has given a voice to the horrific and moving story of Soraya, a 15-year-old girl who was summoned to Gaddafi's palatial compound near tripoli in Libya after the dictator 'chose' her on one of his school visits. there she joined dozens of young women who were systematically abused, raped and degraded by Gaddafi. In public, the women were disguised as Gaddafi's security personnel. In private, they were confined to basement apartments, on hand for the depraved and violent impulses of one of the twentieth century's most malevolent dictators. Cojean has interviewed many who were involved in this appalling regime, including those whose complicity helped keep the charade going for so long. A French bestseller, with more than 100,000 sold, GADDAFI'S HAREM is an astonishing portrait of the essence of dictatorship: how power gone unchecked can wreak havoc. Soraya's story is the first of many that are starting to emerge. 'Kidnapping, rape, humiliation. this was the fate of so many women who were held at the mercy of Colonel Gaddafi. In this shocking book, Annick Cojean gives these women a voice ... Gaddafi's Harem will stay with you for a long time ... Cojean describes a terrifying system where young women were forced to satisfy the perverse desires of the "Guide", under threat of terrible reprisals ... An exceptional piece of reporting.' - Elle (France)
A renowned French journalist for Le Monde uncovers another level of monstrousness in the recently overthrown dictatorship of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi. Cojean's riveting two-part story opens with the blunt firsthand account of the kidnap and rape of a young girl. In 2004, just after turning 15, Soraya was thrilled to present a bouquet of flowers to Gaddafi when he visited her school. The next day, three women from his Committee of the Revolution took her to visit his nearby encampment. She wasn't allowed to leave. Soraya was bathed, made-up, and delivered to Gaddafi's bedroom. Over the next five years, Gaddafi repeatedly raped and abused Soraya, forcing her to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, snort cocaine, and watch pornography. In the second half of the book, Cojean investigates Soraya's story. Navigating traditional Libyan cultural silences on rape, Cojean locates anonymous sources who corroborate chilling descriptions of Gaddafi's use of rape as a political weapon, and the resultant pall of disgrace cast on the victims and their families. Even after Gaddafi's death and the collapse of his regime, it is the Libyan women who continue to suffer reviled by their families, ignored by their government and the international community, living in silent shame. A moving and disturbing wake-up call to the personal costs of totalitarianism.