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Sherif Hatata

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Name  Sherif Hatata

Role  Doctor
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Spouse  Nawal El Saadawi (m. 1964)
People also search for  Nawal El Saadawi, Ahmed Helmi, Nawal Zeinab el Sayed

Sharif Hetata (Arabic: شريف حتاتة‎‎; 13 September 1923 – 22 May 2017) was an Egyptian doctor, author and communist activist. He was married to the prominent Egyptian feminist writer Nawal El Saadawi (until 2010), whom he met in 1964. They live in Cairo, but built a small house in Hatata's home village where they travel to a number of times a year. The couple has one son, Aref, who is a film director in Egypt.


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Early life

Hatata was born in Egypt on 13 September 1923 to an Egyptian father, Fathallah Hetata Pasha, and an English mother. His father was a Western-educated, feudal landowner, and his family was upper middle class. Hatata, who was raised in his home village in the Nile Delta region, was taught little about agriculture, the sector his family relied on for income. In his 20s, Hatata became appalled at the impoverished conditions in which the fellahin that worked his father's lands lived and expressed resentment that he was "the heir of feudalism and one of its sons."


In the years immediately following World War II, Hatata was invited and accepted to join Iskra, one of Egypt's major communist movements, founded in 1942 by Hillel Schwartz. Hatata cited his reasoning for joining Iskra because the left-wing movement in Egypt in general was "progressive, open, ... wasn't traditional or fanatical," while other ideological movements seemed predicated on "emotional patriotism." In 1947 Iskra merged into Democratic Movement for National Liberation (DMNL). In 1948, Hatata was arrested by the authorities during an anti-communist crackdown by the monarchist authorities.

He was released after the monarchy was overthrown by a group of revolutionary officers in July 1952. Following the 1952 revolution, he became a member of the Voice of the Peasants newspaper's editorial board. When two of Hatata's DMNL comrades escaped detention, they fled and temporarily stayed at Hatata's home. Hatata was under police surveillance at the time and upon learning of it, the three left for the house of another released DMNL comrade. However, they were tracked down and arrested.

Hatata and dozens of other communists were released during Gamal Abdel Nasser's presidency in April 1964. Upon his release, Hatata was among some of the ex-DMNL members who believed Egyptian communists could united with Nasser's Arab Socialist Union (ASU), the only official party in the country. They viewed it as a progressive and socialist movement. Nasser grew critical of the ASU at the time, claiming it was falling short of mentoring "socialist democracy" in Egypt. In December 1964, the ASU leadership was reorganized with the establishment of a 16-member secretariat-general, of which six were original communists, including Hatata.


Sherif Hatata Wikipedia