What about the spouses of former dictators? Where are they now and how are they doing? This is a question Peter Verlinden, journalist for Belgium's national broadcaster VRT, asks in his new program 'Widows after the fall' (Weduwen na de val).
This time, he visits Jehan Sadat, the widow of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, in her house in Cairo. Sadat was a nationalist and a peace hero. He was the first Arab leader who wanted peace with Israel, for which he received a Nobel Prize. He was shot dead on October 6 1981.
How did the couple meet?
The two met when Egypt was still under British mandate. Jehan's mother was British herself. "I followed his trial and I was fascinated by him," Jehan says. Sadat got military education in the army controlled by the Brits, but he was rebellious, which is why he had to go to jail.
In two places you will find yourself, either in prison or in war. - Anwar Sadat
She was rich, he was poor. And although he was married before, Jehan fell in love with him, "Love makes miracles happen," she says. They got married when Jehan was only 16 years old.
Israel changes everything
In 1948, the same year Jehan and Anwar met, the Jewish settlements in Palestine are declared the Independent State of Israel. The Arab World is furious and starts a war. For some Muslims, this is the beginning of radicalization.
Egypt has their problems too. People aren't happy with King Farouk: he is considered a puppet of the British powers. Sadat returns to the army in 1950 and he revolts again, but now against the King. He and his friend Nasser will eventually take power through a military coup and Nasser will eventually become president.
The Muslim Brotherhood
More and more Muslims are convinced that they should also have a state of their own, like Israel. The insurgents call themselves the Muslim Brotherhood and become bigger and bigger.
Only one year into his presidency, Nasser dies. He was ill and had diabetes. His successor? You guessed it, Anwar Sadat.
Sadat is different. He privatizes state companies and defunds education. Additionally, he tolerates the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead of working underground, Sadat wishes that they start working openly.
Sadat is also the president to attack Israel on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday. The Israeli occupied the Sinaï desert and Sadat wanted his land back. This war will eventually lead to the Oil Crisis of 1973. Meanwhile in Egypt, things are turning against Sadat. The Egyptians aren't ready for his liberal economics and start to riot.
Most of all, Sadat wants peace with Israel. In 1977 he is the first Arab president to visit the Knesset, the Israelian parliament. The other Arab leaders aren't happy, because it looks like Sadat is acknowledging Israel as a real country. Jehan told him at the time: "You lost the Arab world, but they will come back after a few years."
In 1978 the real peace negotiations start between Sadat and Israeli prime minister Begin in Camp David. It is president Jimmy Carter's job to make sure the talks go as planned. After twelve days peace is a fact. The two parties will eventually get the Nobel Prize of Peace for their efforts.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Revolution started to take place in Iran. It encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, but revolts were knocked down by Sadat.
Did he ever ask you to wear a veil?
Oh no, he was very moderate. He wouldn't dare with me
On October 6 1981, Sadat is killed by extremists that infiltrated in his army. Vice-President Moebarak will follow him up as president. The rest is history.
Kato Vander Sande is our Belgian correspondent. Her interest is women's issues, climate change and entertainment. She studies journalism at Thomas More University College.
The opinions expressed here by Shout! columnists are their own, not those of Shout!