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Egypt and the universal rights of women


URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/egypt_and_the_universal_rights_of_women_20110208

In 1799, the French artist Vivant Denon, accompanying a team of scientists traveling to Egypt with Napoleon (who excused his invasion with the logic that he was bringing democracy to the Arabs) was touring some ancient sites along the upper Nile when he came across an 8-year-old girl in severe pain. Writing in his journal, Denon noted that “a cut, inflicted with equal brutality and cruelty, has deprived her of the means of satisfying the most pressing want, and occasioned the most horrible convulsions.” Denon was referring, of course, to female genital mutilation. The Frenchman quickly pulled out a knife and performed a counter-operation, by which he “was able to save the life of this unfortunate little creature.”

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