Rabat, July 1st 2013
Dr. Nawal Saadawi had just heard the press statement in which the Egyptian army gave President Mursi a 48 hours-ultimatum to meet the demands of the people, after millions took to the streets to demand he step down.
It is thus with great enthusiasm that, a few minutes later, the octogenarian feminist — definitely young at heart and full of humor — went out to meet the audience waiting for her at the headquarters of the Moroccan Organization of Human Rights (OMDH) in Rabat.
The debate, co-organized by the Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM), the Conseil National des Droits de l’Homme (CNDH) and OMDH, was held on the sidelines of the second edition of the “Sleepless Nights of Cinema and Human Rights” under the slogan ‘Cinema and Women’s Rights,’ held on the 28th and 29th of June.
For over an hour, Dr. Saadawi spoke with young representatives from women’s rights and human rights organizations, as well as youth active within movements for secularism and individual freedoms, academics, and also average citizens who came to meet this icon of feminism who “rocked” their readings.
Moderated, among others, by the young Palestinian activist Farah Barqawi – co-founder of the movement “The uprising of women in the Arab world”- the debate addressed issues as diverse as:
– The role to be played by Arab governments in promoting the creation, reflection and development of thinking in their societies;
– The veil in Islam;
– Women’s rights in the Arab democratic transitions and in the new constitutions;
– The need for cultural and educational revolutions in the Arab world along with the political and social uprisings. According to Nawal Saadawi “In the Arab world, democracy can not only be practiced by going to the polls, when at home a father rules as patriarch, as dictator.”;
– Women’s political participation as being critical to influence political decisions and ensure a change of mentalities;
– The urgency for Arab governments to understand that women today demand complete equality of rights and not complementary roles with men.
This event was also meant to create a platform for exchanging experiences and for solidarity among Arab women standing #WithWomen4Democracy.