Women’s Liberation and the Cause of Socialism
Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, Al Ahram Daily, 23 May 2018
Hundreds of Palestinians and thousand others were injured – mostly women and children – in the latest wave of popular rallies marking the 70th anniversary of the Israeli occupation and protesting moving the US embassy to Jerusalem on 14 May 2018, itself part of the continuing US-Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people among others around the world. Conscientious people and resistance movements around the globe are actively rising in anger, as a result. The popular resistance in the US, in turn, is also rising up against Trump’s militaristic and capitalist policies, and his administration offers both arms and funds to all the political-religious terrorist gangs: the Jewish state of Israel tops the list, but there are also ISIS, Al Qaida, Taliban, Boko Haram and the Christian bloc inside and outside the USA. The policies of Trump and his allies may lead to another world war – maybe nuclear, as we hear Trump’s and Netanyahu’s threats of war against any Asian, African or Arab country that dare develop its own scientific nuclear program, even if peaceful. More than thirty years ago, I wrote about the obstacles placed by the US and Israel in the path of the Egyptian project to use nuclear energy for medical purposes. This happens despite the fact that Israel has a nuclear arms arsenal that could obliterate Africa and Asia as well the so-called “Middle East.” It has never ceased to develop its nuclear and chemical weapons under the very auspices of the US and Europe and thanks to the law of the jungle that rules over the world. In addition, the UN has kept silent in the face of the violation of peoples’ rights and the usurpation of their respective territories and economic and cultural resources. The International Court of Justice turns a blind eye to the serious crimes of nuclear super powers, while it solely punishes weak governments and unarmed and peaceful victims from the so-called “Third World.”
Nevertheless, there has always been collective and individual resistance against injustice and tyranny. Women, children and men speak up in protest, but they also confront bullets with bare chests and throw stones at Israeli tanks that kill the innocent. In the US, American women lead the popular resistance movement, with most being workers and black, for they have realized the strong connection between racist class oppression and physical patriarchal subjugation. Popular resistance movements and rebellions now and in the future shall prevail, as they have in the past since when slavery first emerged in history.
I receive many letters about resistance, perseverance and hope. A recent one is titled “Farewell, Jerusalem,” by a Palestinian writer called Nadia Harhash, who lives in the ancient city. Here is an excerpt.
Is it just overcast skies or suppressed grief over a city that had been repeatedly raped and couldn’t take it any more, so she died? Do we have to give up and announce the death of the body of a city so depleted that it couldn’t stand any more blows? Were we born to her of adultery and do we have to accept that we have now become orphaned? Or is she the one who is grieving with no one to offer solace? Our enemy is no longer just an extremist or deranged Zionist but the entire world lending him support brazenly and openly. Are they the problem, or is it us?
A few days ago, I also wrote about another letter that I had received from Professor James Holstun of SUNY University in Buffalo, USA. He, along with his students, has participated in protests held there against both the Israeli occupation of the land of Palestine and unfettered US capitalism, which has become more rampant in the reign of Trump. Holstun makes a connection between women’s liberation and achieving socialism, and he noticed while teaching my book The Naked Face of the Arab Woman that the sections on socialism and women and work had been entirely left out from the English translation. He asked his student and friend Sami Hanna of Syria to translate the omitted chapters before sending them to me to review so that he could use them in teaching his students. Professor Holstun has been active in exposing misleading liberal slogans that pretend to defend freedom while omitting parts from books at will. He adds that Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex has also had its sections on socialism and women excluded from the English translation.
I have witnessed during my many visits to the US and Europe over the past half century the intellectual and political battles between liberal feminists and brown-skinned socialist working women. These battles continue to rage between the left and the right and bwteen women and men, the world over.