CH 2019 70'
Mariam Binladen is going to swim across the English Channel. This represents not only an athletic challenge, but a symbolic and ardent dream: to give a second chance to her family, to inspire and empower Arab women to go after their dreams, as well as promote awareness for one of the most important issues of our time, refugees in dire need who are forced everyday to cross boundaries to survive.
From 1875 on, more than 2000 people have already managed to cross the Strait of Dover, but many more have failed. This performance is to swimmers what Everest is to mountaineers: a legend.
Mariam first heard about this discipline from her mother when she was 11. She told her about Abdellatief Abouheif (1929-2008 Alexandria), the first Arab man to cross the English Channel. That story stuck to Mariam’s mind when she was a child and now, 20 years later, it’s become her own dream.
Miriam’s last name is Bin Laden: a surname that still scares. Osama Bin Laden was one of Miriam’s 52 uncles. Bin Laden is a difficult name to carry. But the fact that a black sheep in the family did what he did shouldn’t stain their family’s honour, a family that did and still does a lot for Saudi Arabia’s progress and welfare.
Miriam dives into the water and there she goes. She’s not yet swimming in the English Channel. She’s swimming in the Thames, 225 km north of London. Ramadan will be underway in just a few days making her journey all the more challenging. She has 10 days to reach the capital of England, a performance that will make her the first woman to swim down the Thames… An excellent training for Miriam in view of the Channel challenge.
… And finally, here we are: the Channel is in front of us, the weather and the sea condition could be ideal for Miriam’s challenge. The moment has come. Miriam starts swimming… The rest will be history.