Egypt & Women
Feminism is often thought to be a western construct, however in this interview Nawal demonstrates how women in Egypt and other parts of the world, are, and have always been, struggling for their rights. Speaking from her experiences as an Egyptian writer and activist who has also spent time in US academia, she eloquently brings to light the unique challenges faced by women of color as well as some of the hypocrisies of the western “progressives”. Interview by David Barsamian.
Nawal El Saadawi was one of Egypt’s best-known dissidents and one of the Arab world’s most famous feminists. She studied at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Cairo and was the Director General of Health and Education until she was fired for her outspoken opinions. She was founder of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association. She was jailed by Anwar Sadat and was the target of death threats. In addition to her political work, she was a major novelist. She wrote The Fall of the Imam, Woman at Point Zero and The Innocence of the Devil. Her non-fiction books include Memoirs from the Women’s Prison, The Nawal El Saadawi Reader and A Daughter of Isis. She said, “The written word for me became an act of rebellion against injustice.” She died in 2021.