Amina Sboui, Arab women's freedom icon, tells her story

In Rome to present her book “My body belongs to me”

22 January, 17:09

    Amina Sboui Amina Sboui

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - "The coerced isolation my family forced upon me for almost a month in Tunis at a time in which I was beginning to embrace ideas and patterns of behaviour contrary to Islamic morals, was a terrible experience, worse than prison". This is how the young Tunisian blogger Amina Sboui, one of the icons and main players in the women's revolt of the Arab world, spoke about one of the most intense moments of her adolescence while presenting her autobiography published by Giunti, in Italian "Il mio corpo mi appartiene", "My body belongs to me" . Amina analyzed some of the passages of her book, a diary of sorts dominated by the intense feelings of a twenty year old Tunisian girl, who at 18 finds herself enmeshed into politics and the rebellion against the Ben Ali regime, during a meeting with Lia Migale, Azzurra Meringolo and Bianca Pomeranzi held at the International women's house. Amina's autobiography is centred around the brave choices of a "rebellious, impudent and heavy smoker", as she describes herself, who lays bare her feelings and reactions in a conservative Muslim contest traditionally hostile to women. She calls her story a "testament" to her generation. Amina, high-school student and daughter of a doctor and a teacher, embarked on her battle in February last year when she wrote the word "women" on a search engine. The image of a group of naked Indian girls below a sign that said "the Indian army is raping us" , made her understand the power of the naked body. She was seeking for that same strenght when she appeared topless with the words "to hell with your morals" or "my body belongs to me" the phrase that gave the title to her autobiography, written on her bare body. "Ethics differ from person to person" said the young Tunisian woman, underscoring that she was opposed to anyone seeking to stifle individual or collective freedoms. Amina, who has now settled in Paris, spoke with a shy firmness of the time when her family cut her out of the outside world to make sure she would not spread her "revolutionary" ideas. She was made to see both a psychiatrist and an exorcist and spent 75 days in prison. "The women I met there - she said - are the most honest, kind and supportive I have ever encountered". Delving into her experience with Femen, which Amina disowned accusing the group of "islamophobia", the young Tunisian said she pursued the same objectives but that she employed different tools. "Religion must be a private matter, something to live within oneself", stressed Amina calling the attack against Charlie Hebdo "a sad episode that should encourage us to fight without fear". To the people accusing her of selling her body Amina replied once again alluding to the title of her book. "I have used my body as I wished and will carry on doing so in the future". The last thought shared by the blogger who repudiated the Muslim faith to embrace agnostic ethics went to the future: "After my graduation I will probably go on to study political science or philosophy".

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