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The Real War on Women

5:05 PM, Apr 26, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
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An essay in the latest issue of Foreign Policy by Egyptian-born activist and journalist Mona Eltahawy, “Why Do They Hate Us? The real war on women is in the Middle East,” couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Today Egypt’s new Islamist-dominated parliament drafted a law permitting men to have intercourse with their dead wives, up until six hours after their death.

In an excerpt from the opening of her article, Eltahawy unintentionally puts the legislation in context:

In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her." Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer -- so much more satisfying that she can't wait until the next prayer.”

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