Published by Summit Books, 1985
Second Edition, Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago: 1995
Published by Charles Scribner and Son, New York: 1990
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This article describes the critique of polygamy in the famous novel by Taha Hussein,the internationally known blind novelist of Egypt.
This article traces the manifestations of comedy and drama in the Near East since ancient Egyptian times,through the sixties. An important source for researchers.
This article documents Rihani's rise from the comic cabaret skits of the early twenties to his full blown social comedy of the late forties.
Nonfiction/Middle East Politics
"The pages emit the heat, dust, and calls from Cairo's minarets, making the book a worthy acquistion."
New York Times
Judge Richard Goldstone's "Justice In Gaza" Article
See Home page for updated articles.Present Articles,amd former books.
Book Review.This appeared in MS.Magazine.
"A Bridge Through Time: A Memoir", by Laila Said (Summit Books, $17.95). "I couldn't say no to the promise of freedom. But how hard it is to take that road. How painful freedom can be."
"A Bridge Through Time" recounts the pain and the exhilaration of Laila Said's escape from the middle-class Egyptian society of the 1950's and 1960's and the forging of a new, though distant relationship with her homeland.
In many ways, it is a familiar story: the obligatory betrothal to a man she does not love; the mediating presence of a mentor - her father, in this case - who helps her delay the inevitable marriage while she completes her education; the widening gap between Said and her husbandy that culminates in divorce, her struggle to define herself and her work as a stage director and filmmaker.
But this typical liberation story offers more. Played out against a backdrop of more than 20 years of Arab-Israeli conflict, and the struggle for peace in the Middle East, the book captures the frustration of being exposed to the hundreds of indignities - great and small - that attend the life of women everywhere, and encapsulates Egyptian women's struggle for rights that American women took for granted even before the Women's Movement began.
Her admiration for the America Women's Movement and the women who helped make it happen (Gloria Steinem, Phyllis Chesler, and others figure prominently in later chapters) seems at first tinged with naïve awe of feminist personalities, but that awe gives way to mature respect as the book continues. Said ends her memoir in semi-exile from her native land, after several advances and retreats from Egyptian life chronicled throughout the book. But she also closes with the impassioned challenge to the world's women to cross the boundaries of color, class, and culture, and asks us to remember the goals that all women share.
It is her commitment to those goals, and her vivid portrait of a culture alien in most American women, that shines through in "A Bridge Through Time", and reminds us of the often tortuous path to freedom.
-Roseklmay L. Bray, MS. Magazine, November 1985.
Autographed 'first edition' available ($150), published by Summit Books, 1985
Najib al-Rihani and the Development of comedy in Egypt.Madbouli Press,Cairo.2004
A Bridge Through Time
Laila Said's struggle to become a modern woman in Egypt during the past three decades.
Excerpted from the book:
"When we arrived at the large, sunny terrace of the hotel overlooking the pyramids of Giza, there was a wide circle of formally dressed people waiting for us. The men were dressed in dark suits and silk ties, and the women wore cashmere sweaters, expensive sunglasses, and jewelry that glittered in the sun."
Middle East Journal: A Woman's Journey into the Heart of the Arab World
This series of interviews and journal entries presents a revealing look at the Arab intellectual community and its views on Islamic extremism, the Arab Palestinian conflict and democracy in the Arab world.
Abou-Saif, Laila, Middle East Journal: A Woman's Journey into the Heart of the Arab World. Mar 1990. 320p. Scribner, $21.95 (0-684-19136-9). Gallery.
"An expatriate Egyptian returns to her country's riverine lifeline to tell Americans "why Arabs feel the way they do." The vehicle she chooses -- about 40 interviews loosely linked by a diary -- carries the news that they are concerned with religion, Anwar Sadat's legacy, the U.S. role in the region, and the conflict with Isreal. Of her interlocutors, drawn chiefly from fellow members of the professions, Najib Mahfous, holder of the the 1988 Nobel Prize in literature, and Zeinab al-Ghazzali, a veiled Islamic fundamentalist, are particularly elequent. Do their views also animate the populace at large? Unfortunately there are no person-in-the-bazaar interviews to give us a clue, but there is one with Yassir Arafat, whom the author compares not with a liberator figure, but with Napoleon! Still, the pages emit the heat, dust, and calls from Cairo's minarets, making the book a worthy aquisition."
-- Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
Abou-Saif, Laila. Middle East Journal. Scribner, $21.95
"This series of interviews and journal entries presents a revealing look a the Arab intellectual community and its views on Sadat, Camp David, American cultural influences, and the PLO's claims. Useful as background reading on the Middle East crisis for good students."
-- Candace Smith
"Complex relationships among Isreal, Egypt, the Palestinians an the United States are explored with personal insight by Lalia Abou-Saif, Ph. D. '69, an Egyptian by birth, in her recent book, "Middle East Journal: A Woman's Journey into the HEart of the Arab World" (Charles Scribners Sons). 1990
"Abou-Saif enlisted the trust of a wide variety of Middle Easterners including Yassir Arafat, because she is one of them. She readily translates their thoughts and feelings for westerners in a way they can understand because she has lived and taught in America." - Choice Magazine