Selective translations of Rachida Saqi's "Marochaines en male-vie".
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My selection from Rachida Saqi's "novel" "Marocaines en male-vie" consists of a series of vignettes or sketches of Moroccan women and the difficulties they have to endure, some of which are unfamiliar to non-Muslim readers. Of the twenty-six texts she wrote, sixteen have been chosen to cover a number of different circumstances in which Moroccan Muslim women exist, with two being dedicated to children and men. Choosing the flower as a metaphor for woman, and the Rose in particular, Saqi encourages Moroccan women to break the chains that have fettered them for so many generations. She urges them to leave behind submissiveness, ignorance and superstition and to form an integrated, never-ending circle against the oppressor, the "phallocratic" machine. Saqi believes that women have the power within them to overcome past traditions, if only they would dare to take the initial step. A change in mind-set is what is required so that Moroccan women can regard themselves as autonomous, capable of independent thought and self sufficient - able to lead their own lives. Saqi's thesis is that for far too long, in Islamic Moroccan society, the male has been cosseted and pampered from birth onwards by an "army" of women at his beck and call; starting with his mother, then sisters, wife (wives), daughters, secretaries, mistresses and so on. Saqi's feminist writings aspire to encourage her Moroccan sisters to take the first step towards self-liberation by questioning critically their behavioural responses to a hitherto unchallenged patriarchal social system.