x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

All’s well that ends well

One wishes for a happy outcome in the drama involving a Saudi "Juliet" and her Yemeni "Romeo".

The curious case of Huda Ali, a 22-year-old woman from Saudi Arabia, and Arafat Al Qadi, her 25-year-old Yemeni boyfriend, has drawn comparisons to Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare’s famously star-crossed lovers.

Ms Ali, the so-called “Saudi Juliet” of the story, eloped to Yemen because she could not bear to be apart from Mr Al Qadi. She is being detained by Yemeni officials as she awaits a court ruling over her right to stay in the country. A large number of young women have staged demonstrations outside the courthouse, sporting headbands proclaiming “We are all Huda”.

The case bears comparison to Romeo and Juliet in the sense that this modern-day drama is being played out against a background of feuding families and seemingly meddling authorities to rival the Montagues and the Capulets. The enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s play, of course, lies in the fact that it is both a romance and a tragedy. The story of Ms Ali and Mr Al Qadi charts a similar course. The pair have been separated from their relatives and their fate is uncertain. The prospect of a reconciliation with their families, however slim, must be worth pursuing – especially if their romance ever produces children.