Retroactive Scripture

Sacrifice_of_Isaac-Caravaggio_(Uffizi).jpgThe novel Zeina by Nawal el Saadawi is full of irony and satire in its narrative which displays the hypocrisy and anti-feminism inherent in the Moslem religion, both in scripture and in practice. It’s often subtle, but generally recognized easily. One passage struck me as being very cleverly written—almost postmodern—so I’d like to share it. Please read the book yourself to enjoy even more examples of the author’s skill in writing.

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A Good Pious Man Can Only Be Tainted By a Woman

images-2.jpgAlthough Zeina is a novel that definitely focuses on feminism and the manner in which Moslems in Egypt treat women, it really is about the baseless inequality forced upon the Arab people by an opportunistic male-oriented religion.

One passage that illustrates this point (and which demonstrates the author’s often subtle ways of reporting) is when the emir’s guard and chauffeur is recalling that he drives the emir to places for song and booze and easy women even though Islam strictly forbids such activities. He muses that he must stand guard outside the toilet when the emir urinates. First, the commode is “a luxurious ceramic toilet bowl imported from Europe, the land of infidels and unbelievers” and secondly the chauffeur recognizes the same sound of urination that he makes when relieving himself. He mentally comments that “God in His infinite wisdom didn’t discriminate between a poor man and a prince” when it came to urination.

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