Best of Egyptian Feminist Doria Shafik’s Fiery Spirit Revealed in Her Writings

Best of Egyptian Feminist Doria Shafik’s Fiery Spirit Revealed in Her Writings

Source: Unknown

Doria Shafik was not just a woman of steel, but also a woman of great passion and heart. While she is known for her efforts in granting Egyptian women the right to vote by the Egyptian constitution, she was also a powerful writer. As editor-in chief of ‘Bint Al Nil (Daughter of the Nile) and La Femme Nouvelle (The Modern Woman), as well as through her many poetry collections, her words left a shadow of her soft, clever and imaginative spirit.

Here are 10 best pieces of her writings (for more, read Cynthia Nelson’s book ‘Doria Shafik Egyptian Feminist: A Woman Apart’ :


Where is your luggage?

Madam… as you tour the world?

I do not have any

You see…I travel around



My heart is in my hand

Hold it…here it is!

But do be careful with it

It is made of crystal.

2.The awakening

‘To catch the imponderable thread connecting my own very existence to my own past, as well as to my own country’s history and civilisation. The Egypt I knew in my early years was an Egypt awakening from a thousand years’ sleep, becoming conscious of its long sufferings – that it had rights! And I learned in my childhood that the will of the woman can supersede the law.”

3. To Want and to Dare 

“Oh, mysterious Sphinx, what do you want of me? You dominate all and your strong shoulders represent all the glory of ancient grandeur. Before you I feel so small in spite of all there is to be proud of. Many times I have gazed into the mirror of my consciousness and I heard your voice: “Only you Know, only you Can, only you Want, and only you Dare.” Four words which contain all perfection.”

4. In search of love 

“A soul in agony because it thirsts for the infinite. The immensity. How to grasp it? Forgetting time and everything that the measure beats, the young woman wants to live in wholeness: a sympathy between herself and the universe, a genuine dream that seeks harmony between the storm that overturns the self, and this other storm which never ceases to give existence to the universe: a fight and always a fight. Between lived reality and being: Love! A word that will never die away except with the human being! But today love of whom and love of what?”

Source: The New York Times

5. Return to the City of Light 

I have often been hungry

in the City of Paris,

There I searched for knowledge

and learned philosophy.

I longed for a life,

in the absolute sense,

released, purified

from that which debased it.

For a long time I searched for Infinity

And still I remain,

“Seeker of the Absolute”

as in the past

in the city of Paris.

6. Carrying the Banner

“Turmoil was raging in my country. Lied had replaced the truth. I was revolted. It must change! Before it is too late! But how to attack mountains? One had to find the stand from where to begin. It had to begin at the beginning: the woman! A nation cannot be liberated whether internally or externally while its women are enchained.”

7. Pursuing the Absolute 

“Resolved to go to the end of the road…without hesitation…without turning back. But what would this road be like? With all my love of truth and freedom (two concepts that were but one for me), I would discover the way. The way is made of sweat and blood, of battles and tears. A way of thorns and love. In the pursuit of the absolute, one may finally find it.”

8. The Beginning of the End 

O Freedom,

I make you the gift

of my heart

without thee

life is worthless

for me!

Source: Doria Shafik’s Website

9. Flight Around the World

Conquest of my soul,

frenzied flight

toward heaven

to steal

a little


with which to revive myself

and our land that is dying

10. Solitude 


In this desert,

where I am drowning

you open more than one way.

In this silence,

the horrible silence

that encircles me,

in the torment of my becoming

you permit me

to act!



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