She might quote Jack Keruoac (“I have nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion”) but Haddad is anything but confused. The Lebanese writer knows her targets and tracks them with a steady glare, slowly picking off a list of “disastrous inventions”: monotheism, original sin, marriage, machismo, chastity. Alarmed that the Arab spring is merely “another winter” when it comes to the rights of women, she calls for “a real revolution”, which will see men and women working together to destroy the old order and forge a new and equal way of life. It’s unsurprising, if depressing, that she should receive death threats, but she also receives letters from those without such freedom of speech. She reprints, with their permission, extracts here: the Palestinian woman who had to leave her daughters when she fled her abusive husband, the Yemeni man called a “sissy” by his friends for his views on equality, the woman subjected to marital rape in a state that will not recognise such a crime. Haddad speaks out for those who cannot.
By Victoria Segal. The Guardian