Anna Sussman in The Nation:
White-haired and feisty, the 80-year-old Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi has been protesting against various Egyptian regimes for decades. A medical doctor by training and a prolific author by disposition, she has tackled difficult topics such as prostitution, female genital mutilation and discriminatory family laws in nearly fifty works of fiction and non-fiction. The Nation spoke to the “Simone de Beauvoir of Egypt” in advance of her appearances at New York University on March 22 and 24.
Were you involved in the planning or the social media activities leading up to the revolution?
There were many groups of young people, and I was communicating with some of them. There are some young people who have a forum; they come to my home regularly to discuss philosophy, literature, politics. So I knew there was going to be a revolution, but I was not following it very closely.
You camped out in Tahrir Square day and night. Did you see or hear anything that surprised you?
I didn’t expect 20 million people on the streets. This has been my dream since I was child, that one day the Egyptian people would wake up and revolt against slavery and colonization. I’ve participated in many demonstrations since I was a child. When I was at medical college, I was fighting King Farouk, then British colonization, against Nasser, against Sadat who pushed me into prison, Mubarak who pushed me into exile. I never stopped. It was like a dream; it was the accumulation of small revolutions.