By: Tala Ramadan
One month on, Nawal El Saadawi’s tribute of Love was set in the middle of the Lebanese capital- Beirut to tell her stories and share narratives with those who interacted with Nawal or her writings.
On Sunday 25th of April, Riad Al-Solh Square was filled with women who organize, mobilize, fight, work, live and learn. Just like Nawal.
Hayat Mirshad, a Lebanese feminist activist and journalist, and Joumana Haddad, Lebanese author, and activist, have organized this event to bring all the archive of hope done by the one and only Nawal El Saadawi.
The event consisted of readings from Nawal’s magical works accompanied by background music by cellist Veronica Wehbe. Opera singer Lara Joukhadar wowed the crowds with her expressive vocal range while artist Rola Abdo created a mural live on the ESCWA wall in the revolution square of Riad El Solh, using street art to memorialize Nawal.
The event included everyday lives and experiences that feminists have generously shared to remind us that we all tear down oppression in different ways influenced by Nawal’s strong thoughts and actions, sometimes by pushing the boundaries, other times just by being because our existence, can also be our resistance.
Many incidents with Nawal were shared during the event, and all of them helped the attendees to assist in raising their consciousness, and therefore to organize and struggle together to liberate themselves from all types of prisons, as Nawal would put it, “most of my heroines are fighters in different ways.”
When feminist Nawal El Saadawi was a young child, she wrote a letter to God challenging him to explain why women were treated differently to men. Described as the “Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab world,” El Saadawi has written more than 50 books covering taboos from sexuality to prostitution to female genital mutilation.
Among the attendees was a woman who shared her story about meeting Nawal, asking her for moral support to remove her veil. With her thick white hair and fierce eyes, which have seen so much of life and death but which regularly break into a joyful smile, Nawal radiated strength and wisdom and told her to detach herself from being a victim of religious fundamentalism and just to be herself.
Feminists, journalists, and authors from the Arab world have previously gathered virtually to pay tribute to the life and legacy of the late Dr. Nawal El Saadawi and vowed her work would live on through the generations inspired in the world.