Nawal el Saadawi may not be my favourite writer – where writing talent is concerned – but she´s certainly one of my COURAGE warriors, one of the few writers I know who actually risks her life for values like freedom, equality and justice.
As I digged into “The Hidden Face of Eve – women in the Arab world“, I couldn´t avoid the nausea. I mean, literally, nausea: the desire to throw up due to the impact the book has on me. I´ve also cringed my teeth, put on scary faces and shed tears – not of sadness but anger.
As she moves ahead talking about issues NO EGYPTIAN would dare to touch, I see the reality – harsh, unbelievable – I´ve experienced while performing in Egypt. None of the cases presented in the book are new to me – none.
8 years of career and life in Egypt have exposed me to the raw, unpolished & often shocking truth: Egyptian mentality towards women is beneath Medieval. Even men and women who are relatively educated and travelled (I´ve met some of them), still carry monstruous ideas where women, religion and sexuality are concerned.
It had never happened: getting physically sick due to the impact a book is having on me. Every single word, story, fact exposed in this book has been – in one way or another – part of my reality for years. Only now I realize I´m traumatized by it. I haven´t stopped living or operating as a “balanced” human being in the world but I surely paid a high psychological price for all I´ve achieved, seen and experienced along the way.
HIGHLY RECOMMENED (or not, if you wish to close your eyes to realities that affect many countries, not only Egypt and other Arab nations).
Here´s a teaser:
“This powerful account of brutality against women in the Muslim world remains as shocking today as when it was first published, more than a quarter of a century ago. It was the horrific female genital mutilation that she suffered aged only six, which first awakened Nawal el Saadawi’s sense of the violence and injustice which permeated her society. Her experiences working as a doctor in villages around Egypt, witnessing prostitution, honour killings and sexual abuse, inspired her to write in order to give voice to this suffering. She goes on explore the causes of the situation through a discussion of the historical role of Arab women in religion and literature.Saadawi argues that the veil, polygamy and legal inequality are incompatible with the just and peaceful Islam which she envisages.”