The following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian women's rights activist Nawal Saadawi, which aired on BBC Arabic TV on November 30, 2009.
Nawal Saadawi: I do not differentiate between the Islamic and Christian religious movements, on the one hand, and the regime and American colonialism, on the other hand. I always draw a connection between three forces: The foreign Israeli-American colonialism, the local governments, and the religious movements.
Interviewer: What evidence of this do you have? You are entitled to say this, but give us an example of the coordination between these parties.
Nawal Saadawi: I say, in short, that Bin Laden and George Bush are twins. If we read recent history, we see that they are twins. Who fought in Afghanistan against Communism? Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, who were recruited by the Americans, in order to fight Communism and the Soviet Union.
Interviewer: But eventually, Bin Laden and his people turned against America…
Nawal Saadawi: This has repeated itself in history. It's nothing new. The son always kills the father.
Interviewer: You talked about a conspiracy to divide Egypt between the Muslims, the Christians, and the Baha'is, right?
Nawal Saadawi: Yes
Interviewer: Who is behind this conspiracy?
Nawal Saadawi: Foreign and domestic forces. You cannot rule 80 million people, half of whom are below the poverty line, without dividing them. Divide and rule.
Interviewer: What domestic forces are you referring to?
Nawal Saadawi: The governments…
Interviewer: But wouldn't this cause them a problem?
Nawal Saadawi: No, dividing the people is very useful for the governments, so they can rule them. The Egyptian people can only be ruled through division and deception.
Interviewer: But wouldn't the division cause tension the government can do without?
Nawal Saadawi: No, on the contrary. I would like to tell you something very important. Do you know what one of the conditions for the aid the Americans gave Sadat was? Having multiple political parties. American colonialism understands full well that multiple parties in an non-democratic country like ours leads to discord. Divide and rule.
Interviewer: You've said that it seems that the next ruler will be Gamal Mubarak. If Gamal Mubarak attains power through elections, according to the current laws, will you accept him?
Nawal Saadawi: If I reject him…
Interviewer: Will you accept him?
Nawal Saadawi: I oppose the bequeathing of the rule. I said he would be elected…But if the entire state runs his campaign…Whenever I open a newspaper, I see Gamal Mubarak.
Interviewer: Doesn't he have the right to submit his candidacy?
Nawal Saadawi: Let's say, for the sake of argument, that I would like to run against him. Do I have the same capabilities? Te media is mobilized on his behalf, and so is the state. You hear his voice everywhere. He's the one fighting poverty…
Interviewer: Hypothetically, if you had the same capabilities, do you think that the people would elect you?
Nawal Saadawi: When the people see someone who gives them aid and jobs, and the media say great things about him every day – of course they will elect him.
Interviewer: In your current position, you cannot give them what he can.
Nawal Saadawi:I don't have all these capabilities at my disposal. I'm not the president's daughter. If I were, all this would be mine.
Interviewer: Regardless of all the talk about the second article of the constitution, do you think that the Egyptian people could elect a woman?
Nawal Saadawi:Of course! Suzanne Mubarak rules the ministers. She sits with the ministers around her like school children.
Interviewer: How can you say that she rules the ministers?
Nawal Saadawi: She sits there, she's the president…
Interviewer: In the field she's in charge of…
Nawal Saadawi: Egypt will easily accept the leadership of a woman, because we have a history of [ruling] women, from the days of the goddess Isis.