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RIP Carol Fleming – American Bedu

May 29, 2013

This will be short and sweet, unlike many of my posts.

Carol Fleming, known to the blogosphere as American Bedu, passed away on May 27 after a long illness. I never knew Carol, but she was one of the reasons I took up blogging. Her posts about life in Saudi Arabia were illuminating, balanced and always worth reading. She set a standard for others  – like me – who write about the Middle East.

As a former American diplomat married to a Saudi, she was able to write about the country with the curiosity of an expatriate but with the insight of someone who was much more than a mere guest.

Her blog is immensely popular, and rightly so. The best way to commemorate her is to urge you to visit her website. If you are unfamiliar with Saudi Arabia, you will find a rich source of information, stories and perspectives that will bring that fascinating country alive.

Saudi Arabia often gets a bad press from the international media. Sometimes it deserves the criticism, sometimes it is undeservedly stereotyped. Carol did not shrink from talking about the dark side, but she always drew her thoughts from a well of love.

She did more than any other person I know of to portray a society that shares the same hopes, fears and dreams as the rest of humanity. For that, Saudi Arabia should thank her, as should all of us whose understanding of that country has been much enhanced by the light she shined on it.

I wish I had been her friend.

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