Monday, January 9, 2012

Nawal al-Saadawi talks revolution, women and Egypt’s future

By Joseph Mayton
Bikya Masr

"..... She is a woman who has spent her life in the service of the feminist cause. Jailed by late Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat, Saadawi was forced into exile under recently ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Now, removed from an uprising, or revolution depending on who is speaking, Saadawi believes in her country, and its future.....

So you would argue this is part of the corrupt system that Egypt has been suffering from for generations?

When the political system is corrupt, the social system is corrupt, the welfare system is corrupt, education is corrupt, mentality is corrupt so women are affected by the corruption of the whole system.

When the revolution came and the women participated in it, many women were killed. Women were everywhere in the revolution. Then we had the right to speak up and gain some more rights, but what happened was there was a backlash. Why? Because we have the Salafists, Muslim Brothers, religious groups.

What do you mean by Salafists and the religious groups?

Saudi Arabia paid 7 billion for the Salafists to come and the United States and Israel are pouring a lot of money into Egypt. Why? To divide the country by religion. You know, we never had a conflict. I live here among Christians and Muslims, we never had a conflict. Now, you have a conflict between Christian and Muslim and Baha’is and Sunni and Shia. Now the Sunni and Shia and the Sufis and Salafists and the revolution became religious, the language became religious. So the religious groups received a lot of money after the revolution, especially the Salafists and they are trying to abort the revolution and make it religious though the revolution started secular. There was not a single Islamic slogan. It was secular men and women, and in fact, they were unified. Now they want to divide the revolution and religion is a very strong weapon.

How does this affect women?

Now women are suffering because they are being excluded. The high military council excluded women from the committee to change the constitution. Women were harassed on March 8, not by the revolutionary men, but by the gangs of Mubarak. I read in the media that they were harassed by their colleagues, but no, the revolutionary young men are establishing a national union of women with the women. They didn’t harass them, they protected them....."

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