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Firdaus on love and heart-break in El Saadawi’s “Woman At Point Zero”

Below, is one of my all-time favourite quotations. Not particularly because I absolutely love reading African literature, or that I am a huge fan of feminist texts, or even that I am incredibly inspired by Nawal El Saadawi, but mostly because it speaks a very rare and raw kind of truth. It is never the view of heart-break we wish to be exposed to, especially in a society where we are taught that it is okay to be treated like crap and to get your heart broken regularly, for all you need is an ice-cream tub, a soppy romcom and a new love-interest and all will soon be well. This quotation is just a taste of why I have such a deep love for the Egyptian writer and activist.

“I had never experienced suffering such as this, never felt a deeper pain. When I was selling my body to men the pain had been much less. It was imaginary rather than real. As a prostitute I was not myself, my feelings did not arise from within me. They were not really mine. Nothing could really hurt me and make me suffer then the way I was suffering now. Never had I felt so humiliated as I felt this time. Perhaps as a prostitute I had known so deep a humiliation that nothing really counted. When the street becomes your life, you no longer expect anything, hope for anything. But I expected something from love. With love I began to imagine that I had become a human being. When I was a prostitute I never gave anything for nothing, but always took something in return. But in love I gave my body and my soul, my mind and all the effort I could muster, freely. I never asked for anything, gave everything I had, abandoned myself totally, dropped all my weapons, lowered all my defences, and bared my flesh. But when I was a prostitute I protected myself, fought back at every moment, was never off guard. To protect my deeper, inner self from men, I offered them only an outer shell. I kept my heart and soul, and let my body play its role. I learnt to resist by being passive, to keep myself whole by offering nothing, to live by withdrawing to a world of my own. In other words, I was telling the man he could have my body, he could have a dead body, but he would never be able to make me react, or tremble, or feel either pleasure or pain. I made no effort, expended no energy, gave no affection, provided no thought. I was therefore never tired or exhausted. But in love I gave all: my capabilities, my efforts, my feelings, my deepest emotions. Like a saint, I gave everything I had without ever counting the cost. I wanted nothing, nothing at all, except perhaps one thing. To be saved through love from it all. To find myself again, to recover the self I had lost. To become a human being who was not looked upon with scorn, or despised, but respected, and cherished and made to feel whole.

I was not destined to achieve what I had hoped for. For no matter how hard I tried, or what sacrifices I made like some dreamer sold to a cause, I still remained a poor insignificant employee. My virtue, like the virtue of all those who are poor, could never be considered a quality, or an asset, but rather looked upon as a kind of stupidity, or simple-mindedness, to be despised even more than depravity or vice.

The time had come for me to shed the last grain of virtue, the last drop of sanctity in my blood. Now I was aware of the reality, of the truth. Now I knew what I wanted. Now there was no room for illusions. A successful prostitute was better than a misled saint. All women are victims of deception. Men impose deception on women and punish them for being deceived, force them down to the lowest level and punish them for falling so low, bind them in marriage and then chastise them with menial service for life, or insults, or blows.

Now I realized that the least deluded of all women was the prostitute. That marriage was the system built in the most cruel suffering for women.”

If you have never read “Woman At Point Zero”, do yourself a great favour and read it! Perhaps I might even post a personal review of it soon 🙂

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Should movies be faithful to the book?

This guy is actually cool

Dave Farmer

never_judge_a_book_by_its_movie

Unless you’ve been living in a dark cave on Mars for the last few months you’ll probably have heard/seen all the hullabaloo about the big screen summer blockbuster World War Z. Before you read any further I’ll state right now this is not going to be one of those posts where I drone on and on about how the movie was nothing like the book, how the director and movie making people raped a very good story and created junk, and how much I detest that sort of stuff.

To quote Icona Pop: “I don’t care! I love it!”

I read Max Brooks World War Z over 5 years ago and loved it. And when rumours started circling about a movie version I began to drool like a zombie.

I love zombies.

I suspected the movie probably wouldn’t be much like the book because it wouldn’t make for an edge…

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Posted in Books

Why you should read Freakonomics

freakonomics_main

For some this is a useless post. You are one of millions who understand and you can stop reading now. To the rest of you especially my partner in crime these are the reasons why you want to read this book without telling your what’s in the book:

You will think about the decisions you make differently

Freakonimcs is about economics which is the is mainly about humans and why we do what we do. You will realise that many people no matter how educated how smart or how different they are make really interesting, puzzling, amoral and rather stupid decisions. These are not people from another country or people who look different. They look, act and come from the same places you do. They are your friends, your family,  they are you.

You will change the way you argue

One thing about people who read a lot. Is that they think they are always right. There are always urban myths and common misconceptions about how people act that creep into even the most well read people and this book reminds us of that. So the next time you are going into one of these heated debates with someone obviously less intellectual than yourself (obviously) just remember we didn’t always know the world was round.

Others are

It is a terrible reason I know. Peer pressure is the last reason my one should do anything but with 200k likes on Facebook, half a million followers on Twitter and more than 5 million copies sold world-wide how can one not be curious. I like others tend to think the crowd is wrong but it is edging in to mainstream media and conversation for example when Patrick Jane asks a member of Avon Park Playboys season two of The Mentalist  is it true that all drug dealers live with their mothers . If you going to disagree with everyone at least know what you are disagreeing with and the worst that can happen is you know what everyone is talking about.