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Fatna El Bouih

Fatna El Bouih is a stunningly attractive woman in her 40s who "has the most devastating eyes" according to a colleague who is one of her admirers. When I pushed my colleague to elaborate more on "the devastation" he felt, he said that "she stares at you as if she wants to mesmerize you." In fact, in her interview, Fatna explains that the stare probably comes from her uncontrollable urge to keep her jailers at bay.

Fatna is married to Yusuf Madad who works in an electronics company and she is the mother of two daughters, Najwa and Lina. She resumed her teaching in a Casablanca highschool as soon as she was released in May 1982, after spending 5 years in prison for her political stands.

She wrote a book on her experience called "A Woman Named Rachid" which was published in 2001 and is a founding member of "The Observatory of Moroccan Prisons" and of INSAF, an association which cares for children of jailed women and provides for them literacy classes and health services. She contributes as a counselor to aggressed women in the Casablanca "Centre d'Ecoute des Femmes Victimes de Violence".

You might ask yourself where she could energy to perform all these tasks? One of the secrets I discovered while interviewing her is that her husband Yusuf Madad helps her by typing her texts and responding to her e-mails. You want a proof of what I just said? Just look at her e-mail: it is Yusuf's. Of course, Western media never reports on Arab husbands like Fatna's because only violent ones make the headlines.

Fatema Mernissi, Mai 2003

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Fatna El Bouih

Related Links:

Une femme nommée Rachid
Editions Le Fennec, 2002
Arabic original:
Hadit al atama
Editions Le Fennec, 2001

Sole nero
Gli anni di piombo in Marocco
Mesogea, 2004

This Time I Choose When to Leave
An Interview with Fatna El Bouih
Middle East Report 218, Spring 2001