As Egyptians and Arabs mourned the well-known Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi who passed away yesterday in Cairo, many online users noted that an article by the New Arab commenting on El Saadawi's death has gone against everything she fought for.
Imagine tu passes ta vie à te battre et tout ce qu'on trouve à dire sur toi quand tu meurs c'est "Known as the Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab World". Le manque de respect est total. pic.twitter.com/TgI810OAiK— Malek L. (@Malek93) March 21, 2021
Translation: "Imagine spending your life fighting and all we say about you when you die is "Known as the Simone from Beauvoir of the Arab World." This is a total lack of respect."
In the article announcing Nawal El Saadawi's death, the New Arab referred to the famous doctor and feminist icon as the "Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab World," which has prompted angry reactions amongst online people.
Commenting on the sentence, Twitter users regarded the reference as "offensive" and "euro-centric," which goes against the beliefs El Saadawi stood for throughout her life.
That's a compete disrespectful presentation. Nawal is an independent exemplary figure of freedom, justice, women and feminist movements in the Arab, Muslim and the world. No need to fetishize her struggle by associating her to Simone de beauvoir or someone else. Thank you— Nassr Eddine (@Amazighos) March 21, 2021
For many decades, the 90-year old icon was known for stirring many controversies in Egypt and across the Arab world, besides her harsh criticism of the western colonial history of the Arab region and its cultural impact.
El Saadawi's work started with her fierce stance as a medical doctor against the Female genital mutilation (FGM) practice which is popular in several African countries, including Egypt.
In 1972, she published her highly controversial book Women and Sex, which had led social and religious circles to heavily attack her for the decades to come. By the end of her life, she had published a total of 55 books.
Besides her long years working at the Egyptian Ministry of Health, her controversial views have also touched on many risky subjects such as religion, objectification of women, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism.
In recent years, El Saadawi has come under fire for her political views in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring, being against popular protests that overthrew decades-old political regimes in a number of Arab countries, including Egypt and Tunisia.
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