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Nawal El Saadawi, famous Egyptian feminist author, dies aged 89

Nawal El Saadawi, a famous Egyptian feminist author, physician and psychiatrist, has died aged 89, state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Sunday.

El Saadawi was known as a defender of women’s rights and fought strongly against the widespread practice of female genital mutation.

She was jailed and persecuted and received threats from conservatives throughout her life for her daring views.

El Saadawi was the founder and president of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights. In 1981, she founded a feminist magazine called “Al-Moawgaha” (which translates to “The Confrontation”).

El Saadawi’s most popular books are “Women & Sex” and “Memoirs from a Women’s Prison.”

“Women and Sex” was banned in Egypt for nearly two decades and after it was published, El Saadawi lost her job as a Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health in Egypt.

“Women cannot be liberated in a class society or a male-dominated patriarchal society. This is why we have to get rid, fight against class oppression, gender oppression, and religious oppression,” El Saadawi told CNN in an interview in 2011. “We cannot speak about revolution without women,” she said.

There has been an outpouring of grief at the news of El Saadawi’s death, with some prominent activists expressing their condolences on social media.

“Such a sad loss for our region, our world,” said Turkish novelist and women’s rights activist, Elif Shafak, in a tweet. “Rest in peace, rest in power, sisterhood and books.”

Egyptian-born author and Feminist Giant writer Mona Eltahawy quoted El Saadawi’s novel “Woman at Point Zero”, saying “I am speaking the truth. and the truth is savage and dangerous.”

“Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi has died. Until I gather my thoughts: rest in power, Nawal,” she added in a tweet.

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