Saturday, March 26, 2011

Caution: Highly Quotable -- Nawal El-Sadaawi

Here's Nawal El-Sadaawi in The Nation magazine regarding the Egyptian overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, and reflecting on how to get an oppressor -- whether an abusive husband or a military despot -- to cede power.

The emphasis below is mine.

Well, it’s very difficult. This is everyone’s struggle—whether against men in the family, or against capitalism. It’s power. I don’t think that people in power can be convinced by words or articles. They will never give it up by choice. Even a husband in the house, no—power has to be taken with power. Mubarak resigned because the people showed their power. If it had been only a few hundred protesters, he would never go, but because it was 20 million, the whole country, he had no choice. You can’t eradicate power with weakness. Knowledge and unity—these were power in the hands of the people.

Within a household, the individual woman must have power. It’s not easy—it means political rights, economic independence, knowledge. A lot of women are afraid of loneliness, so when they see a woman who can live alone, then they think, “Hmm, I can do that.” But you need an example, and that is why I am proud to say I have divorced three husbands.

She goes on to talk about gender and dialogue with Egyptian youth. Read the rest of her interview here.

Also, check out a video from her Guardian interview below.

Photo via Racialicious

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