By Rob L. Wagner
28 May 2013
Carol Fleming Al-Ajroush, the popular American blogger who chronicled Saudi society and covered expatriate issues as American Bedu, died yesterday following a battle with breast cancer. She was 53.
American Bedu was widely read in Saudi Arabia and the United States for its insight of the Kingdom through the eyes of Al-Ajroush, an American expat married to a Saudi. Her stories and observations about the lives of expats in a closed and conservative country won legions of followers who respected her frank, but fair commentary on Saudi issues. Al-Ajroush was particularly eloquent in writing about Saudi women’s issues, including the right to seek employment, to drive an automobile and to live full lives.
In addition to her coverage of Saudi issues, she also blogged about breast cancer awareness after she returned to the United States for treatment. She participated in public service campaigns and served as a speaker at cancer awareness events. She was a member of the Lake Norman Breast Cancer Support Group.
Many of her stories of her Saudi experiences were published in “Bridges: An Anthology.” Her work was also published in Oasis Magazine.
Carol A-Ajroush had been a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, at the time of her death.
Al-Ajroush was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. Her family had a long history of cancer. In an interview with reporter Amber Shahid for Arab News, she openly discussed her illness.
“My grandmother, aunts and cousin died of breast cancer,” she said. “My cousin was only 31 years old and she had two young children. These thoughts ran through my mind when I learned of my diagnosis. By the time I reached my 40s, however, I guess I naively considered myself safe.”
A native of Espyville, Pennsylvania, Al-Ajroush was born on Oct. 9, 1959. She graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Following graduation, she served as an American diplomat for 20 years, including an assignment in Pakistan where she met her husband, Saudi diplomat Abdullah Othman Al-Ajroush. They moved to Saudi Arabia in 2006 after a long courtship in several countries. She resigned her post to get married.
Abdullah Al-Ajroush died in 2010. She is survived by a son, Jon Carmichael; a brother, Michael C. Lebhaft; and a nephew, Matthew Joseph Wells.