THE VIEW: by Dr. Nawal El Saadawi

Recently young female demonstrators in Tahrir Square have been sexually harassed by certain men. The media did not clarify the identity of these men: there has been a deliberate obfuscation as to whether it was done by the rising youth of Egypt who are the makers of the revolution, or the thugs of the previous regime.

A journalist asked me: “Is sexual harassment against young women due to sexual hunger among young men?”

I answered: “No, it is a result of
the hunger for power, wealth and competition to rule. Sexual harassment has a political goal: to frighten young women away from the square, and to frighten their parents into preventing their daughters from participating in the revolution.”

According to the constitution, the people are the source of all authorities and are above them all. But the opposite is true: the people are devoid of authority until they go out in the streets in protest and stay there until they achieve their goals. Historically, this is something that does not happen except after years or decades of bloody struggle between the revolution and the counter- revolution. Power or wealth do not come or go except with blood.

Resilience and realism are a form of wisdom, but there is a great difference between wisdom and deception, between resilience and camouflage, between the ballot and free and fair elections.

A just law or a constitution is a ruling among authorities, classes and individuals. But many constitutions and laws remain on paper because the executive power is unfair – because the ruling class has a monopoly.

So what is all this noise around the founding group for the constitution, and sexual harassment?

Don’t the rules of their democratic game change? The real revolution is not about voting arrangements, but a revolution of the mind and conscience.

Dr Nawal El Saadawi Cairo, Egypt