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Jun 29, 2004
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Egyptian Women's Rights Activist Nawal Al-Sa'dawi:The Political and Religious Authorities Collaborate and Terrorize Us

#139 | 02:12
Source: Dubai

Famous Egyptian Women's rights activist, Nawal Al-Sa'dawi was interviewed on Dubai TV and talked about her life and convictions. Following are excerpts:

host: You did not receive bridal money and you divide the household expenses with your husband?

Al-Sa'dawi: True, I am not for sale. I believe that any self-respecting woman is not for sale or purchase through marriage. This kind of marriage is like a meat-market. The woman is evaluated... The father asks the groom: How many houses do you have? How much money do you have? As though she is a cow for sale. I am opposed to this. That is why I taught my daughter to work and support herself. A woman who does not support herself, does not earn her own bread, is submissive. Just like a country that does not supply its own food. It is not independent in its decision-making. A woman who does not provide her own food is not independent in her decisions.

I ask you, would you agree that your husband marry another wife? Would you agree to such a thing, Berwin?

Host: Of course not.

Al-Sa'dawi: No, no self-respecting woman in the world would agree to her husband marrying another woman, unless she is in need of food.

Host: But she would agree to be a second wife.

Al-Sa'dawi: Not a second, nor a third.

Host: But you have said that a woman who marries a married man makes do with half a man.

Al-Sa'dawi: Let alone a third or a quarter of a man?

Host: But sometimes there are circumstances...

Al-Sa'dawi: These are financial circumstances. Why does a woman accept such humiliation? There is nothing that degrades both women and men more [than polygamy]. Would a man allow his wife to marry another man? This is humiliating! The same goes for the woman. They think women have no feelings. Our problem is that there is no real freedom for the people. Our people is creative people; it can do many things.

Our problem is autocracy. One man ruling the entire people. The fear... we are born into fear and are brought up to fear authority. The political and religious authorities collaborate and terrorize us, that is why we do not create.

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