Beatriz Badikian-Gartler on Egyptian Feminist Activist Nawal el-Saadawi

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We are living in a patriarchal system based on class and male domination.
This system breeds religious fundamentalism, paradoxes, injustices, and violence. –Nawal el-Saadawi

Women’s Media Group & The Feminist Lens send our support to the
Egyptian people during this turbulent and troubled time.

Feminist Lens Contributor, writer and poet Beatriz Badikian-Gartler read this poem on our Songpainting show this fall, and talked with us about 70 year old feminist, and Egyptian Physician and Activist el-Saadawi in a Feminist Lens interview.

Unveiling the Mind
(for Nawal el-Saadawi)
Although your brother failed in school.
He was rewarded by playing outside.
You, who succeeded, were rewarded by working in the kitchen.
The school books said the stars were created by God.
But who created God? You asked.
An explosion of white hair,
every life is important, you say. Write your life.
In prison, paper and pens are more dangerous than guns.
You write your memoirs on smuggled out toilet paper
with an eyebrow pencil from a prostitute.
You hid them in a tin can under the floor.
The guard never found them.
Writing more necessary than breathing,
You ask, Why do we write?
And answer, Not to die. To be immortal.
And demand the unveiling of the mind.

Nawal el-Saadawi
An Egyptian feminist writer, activist and physician, Nawal was born in Kafr Tahla village on the banks of the Nile. She has written many books on the subject of the plight of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society. For more than 50 years, Dr. Saadawi has written books that focus on identity, sexuality and the legal status of women-particularly Arab women-and has continued her work despite the fact that these activities cost her her position as Egypt’s Director of Public Health and led to imprisonment, threats to her life, and, ultimately, exile. One of the leading literary, cultural, and political voices of our times, Saadawi once noted, “Danger has been a part of my life ever since I picked up a pen and wrote. Nothing is more perilous than truth in a world that lies.”

Read about NAWAL Website


Beatriz Badikian
A contributor to The Feminist Lens radio show Songpainting Women this fall,

Beatriz Badikian-Gartler has taught literature and writing for over twenty-five years in the Chicago area. Born in Buenos Aires, and a long time Chicago resident, is a world traveler. She earned her doctorate in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants in the language arts. Recently, Badikian-Gartler has been a faculty member at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University and the Newberry Library where she teaches literature, writing and women’s studies. she was recently named one of 100 Women Who Make a Difference by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine.


This February and March, Beatriz will be teaching a workshop
At Chicago’s Newberry Library

A Fire in the Mind: Latin-American Literature of the Sixties

The Newberry Library, Chicago
Thursdays, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
February 17 – March 24
Six sessions, $165

During the 1960s the world finally took notice of Latin America’s extraordinary literary production. As a consequence of this recognition, two new terms appeared: “magical realism” and “El Boom,” the latter of which was often used in the media to describe the sudden notice these writers received.  We will reach beyond these monikers, however, to examine the work of some of the more important writers of this period, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortázar, and Carlos Fuentes.

Posted by on Monday, January 31, 2011