By Nawal El Saadawi
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Extra info for The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World
They seek to build a free society with equal rights for all and to abolish the injustices and oppression of systems based on class and patriarchal privilege. It is worth noting in this connection that it is precisely the current reactionary regime in Egypt, after having linked its fate to that of American and Zionist interests in the Middle East and abandoned the struggle of Arab peoples for a just and lasting peace, that started to attack the Iranian Revolution as opposed to the values of a modern civilization and the rights of women.
The insistence that society has so far displayed in preserv ing the formal structure of the family, while depriving it of any genuine substantive content, is related to the desire of exploiting classes and the political powers that represent them to ensure that the economic functions of the family be maintained and that the family continues to bear the burden and costs of rearing children instead of these becoming the responsibility of the social system. The woman remains a source of free labour and of numerous services that would have to be compensated and paid for if other institutional arrangements were to take over her functions in the home.
For the ‘higher’ politics of any country are a construction built up of many small bricks, of details that weave themselves into the general pattern. These details are the personal needs, problems and desires of individuals. The personal lives of people and their requirements are the directing and motivating forces which are translated in the ﬁnal analysis into a political will, into policies, and into the politics of a country. This personal life obviously includes the intricacies of sex, the relations between man and woman, and the relations of production and division of labour.
The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World by Nawal El Saadawi