As a result of her literary and scientific writings, she has had to face numerous difficulties and even dangers in her life. In 1972, she lost her job in the Egyptian Ministry of Health because in her book “Women and Sex,” which was banned by the political and religious authorities, she wrote against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and linked sexual problems to political and economic oppression. In September 1981 President Sadat put her in prison, where she wrote her book “Memoirs” on a roll of toilet paper using an eyebrow pencil smuggled to her cell by an imprisoned young woman in the prostitutes’ ward. From 1988 to 1993 her name appeared on death lists issued by fanatical religious political organizations. Her struggles for justice continue to the present day.
Dr. Saadawi’s work has led to new legal rights for children in Egypt, giving children born outside marriage the right to carry their mother’s name, and banning FGM in Egypt. Nawal El Saadawi has been writing and fighting against FGM for more than 50 years. (biographical details excerpted from El Saadawi’s official website)
On behalf of Mission Free Iran, activist Helene Monteil wrote to Dr. Saadawi and asked for her support for our protest against the UN on December 11, which condemns the United Nations for refusing to substantively oppose the stoning sentence of Sakineh Ashtiani and others; demands a UN resolution criminalizing the act of stoning a human being to death; and demands the expulsion of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and any other country that relies on violence against women to implement their domestic policies, from sitting on any UN body tasked with setting global policy on women’s equality and empowerment.
Dr. Saadawi responded by affirming her support for the struggle to save Sakineh’s life, and wishing for the success of our action.
She also sent a statement that will be read at the December 11 action in front of the United Nations, and is reproduced below:
“My statement is as follows:
1- I am against the stoning of Sakineh Ashtiani in Iran, this horrible crime should be severely condemned by every human being,
2- I am against all types of killing women and men by stones or by post modern military weapons, in neo-colonial wars against people in Iraq, in Palestine and other nations in any place of the world,
3- I am against all religious states whether Jewish or Christian or Islamic or other, any religious state is racist, patriarchal and fanatic. It discriminates between people according to religion, class, gender and other,
4- The idea of stoning women came in history under the slave class patriarchal system, reflected first in Judaism then inherited by other religions like Islam,
5- All religious states of any kind should be condemned and punished by a fair global criminal court (not under the hegemony of the global or regional super powers)
6- All religious states (Jewish, Christian, Islamic or other) are anti women, anti humanity and anti justice,
7- We should say: Expel all religious states (and neo-colonial states who invade other nations) from all the UN organizations (not only from women`s organizations).”
Mission Free Iran thanks Dr. Saadawi for her support of the international campaign to save the life of Sakineh Ashtiani, and of our protest action against the United Nations on December 11. Mission Free Iran also works to counter militarism and war, against poverty and injustice, and for a humane world. Our demand for secular governance, as opposed to religion-influenced constitutions, is central to our organizational goals, as outlined in our mission statement. This demand extends beyond the borders of Iran to all countries worldwide.