10/23/2006

Female Genital Mutilation!

It’s funny the things that catch one’s attention. There I was doing some important research or as I call it skiving over at Pickled Politics during a quiet moment in work when my eye alighted on this story about the Swedish integration and equality minister's proposals for increasing immigrant integration.

The proposals all seem reasonable enough with the exception of the first which is compulsory checks on all girls to look for evidence of FGM. I don’t wish to over old ground again but basically the issue of forced vaginal examination has split more or less along gender lines. The chaps taking the view that it is fine to subject ALL females to mass screening for abuses committed by a tiny minority and the women remembering their last smear test and seeing the flaw in the plan. You can follow the debate here. Be warned if another man advocates the mass screening of girls vaginas I will go postal. Oh and if this does become law in Sweden I urge all girls to refuse to comply. Similarly I urge anyone at risk of FGM to grass their parents up. Honestly it will be less painful.

Anyway as a result I’ve spent the day pondering female genital mutilation. Naturally my first reaction is ARRRGH! Whilst I prefer to avoid sticking my beak into the neighbours business believing it to be counterproductive, a recent ruling by The House of Lords accepts the threat of FGM as grounds for asylum which gives the UK a legitimate interest in helping to stamp out the practice. In addition to which many of the countries where this practice is prevalent are recipients of UK foreign aid. FGM causes numerous health problems which arguably divert precious resources away from tacking other less avoidable illnesses. It is also possible that FGM assists the spread of HIV. Furthermore a recent report in the Times indicates that some African families are clubbing together to bring someone in to the UK to carry out the gruesome procedure. See I’m not nosy.

For those with strong stomachs a full explanation of what FGM involves, different types etc can be found here. The reasons given for it vary considerably and can also be found at the previous link. One common feature is that it seems to be carried out pretty much by women. Germaine Greer notes in The Whole Woman that Ethiopian men often don’t seem to be aware whether their wives have undergone the procedure or not suggesting that the notion that it is done to
please men is an oversimplification. She also notes that FGM has proved resistant to over fifty years of criminalisation and propaganda, indicating that ending it is going to be a difficult process.

One of the many problems caused by FGM are complications and even the death (mother and/ or child) during childbirth. It may be that in cultures where FGM are widespread such deaths are not considered to be directly linked to the practice. One productive means of eradicating FGM may be to make this information widely known in terms easy for ordinary people to grasp. If the price of FGM is potentially infertility or the death of children it may seem like a less attractive prospect. More so in cultures where fertility is prized.

I doubt a campaign on moral grounds is likely to be terribly effective. One only has to imagine the reception a group of Africans turning up in the UK and demanding we take up FGM to see the pitfalls with that approach. I suspect focusing on the practical problems caused by FGM is pretty much the only form of education that stands any chance of success. I should also stress that there are many native women who campaign against the practice in countries where it is carried out. In my view any campaign should be led by them to avoid a backlash against perceived western interference.

To return to the UK. It would be interesting to note how prevalent FGM is amongst longer established immigrants or if it mainly concentrated in new immigrant communities. In the case of new immigrants I see no harm in advising them that FGM is a serious crime in the UK and if they caught either carrying it out or requesting it be carried out will result in imprisonment followed by immediate deportation. It should also be possible for it to be treated the same as any other form of child abuse, in the sense that where doctors find evidence to suggest it has taken place, perhaps during treatment for another health problem, the police and social services should be notified. As with domestic violence not every investigation will lead to a prosecution but a few people at the very least being questioned sends out a clear message.

Greater awareness of the problem amongst teachers, social workers and other professionals is likely to be helpful. One family referred to in this Times article came to the attention of the police after their daughter was overheard talking about going home for a celebration of becoming a woman. The family concerned were of the impression that this was legal if not carried out in the UK. The police set them straight and thankfully the girl was spared the ordeal.

I do not claim to have all the answers or any expertise in the subject, the above only reflects the thoughts I have had following the debate at Pickled Politics. What I do remain certain and utterly convinced of is that the mass screening of girls for evidence of FGM is an unacceptable infringement of their rights and would inevitably lead to racism and resentment towards the groups for whose benefit the screening is being carried out. In fact if I were a member of the BNP I'd be on my knees praying mass screening for FGM was introduced in the UK. I can just see the leaflets now.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ms Clair Williams "Charity Worker" of Glasgow. I require you to cease the publications of all photographs to which, as photographer, I own the copyrights and that you do not, and shall not have, my written permission to publish. I believe that you are fully aware of the images that I am referring to.

Accordingly, please remove all images, and references, of Leah Darbyshire's mother from all web sites and blogs to which you have publishing rights within the next 48 hours in order to prevent my taking of further actions, legal and otherwise, against you, as required and appropriate.

Freedom For Yishi said...

The Darbyshire debacle really does have legs, eh? I assume anonymous is referring to the less than attractive image of Leah’s old dear- who I can assure you is a particularly handsome woman in the flesh – which you rather cheekily posted the other week. One might be forgiven for thinking that her clan is entirely made up of lawyers, rather than the collection of philanthropic working class heroes we now know them to be, considering the amount they fork out in legal bills keeping the good name Darbyshire clean. I suggest you make a deal: the photo is taken down in exchange for access to the Darbyshire’s new, all-exclusive blog. We need to know how Yucki is getting on.

David Duff said...

Clairwil, I can't take much more! Three disgusting posts on the trot. First, two yappy bitches at each others throats (call for 'Yishi', he might cock his leg on them and cool them off!), then a hymn in praise of the nitro-glycerine of cuisine, the curry, only invented before the age of the 'fridge as a means of disuising meat that had gone off, and finally, all that stuff about women's bits! Honestly, I can't take much more. Can't you go back to being rude about your fellow workers?

Clairwil said...

Good Heavens,
I had no idea you were so delicate Duff. I'll see what I can do.

ill man said...

More posts about curry Clairwil. Food of the gods!!!

Mr Duff obviously never got beyond a dodgy Vesta Vindaloo in 1973..........

Clairwil said...

Illman,
Now I think of it our Mr Duff has been stationed abroad in the army. I'm sure his stomach has endured trials we only come close to in nightmares. I think we can forgive him for being a bit wary.

On the other hand let's terrify him with a Scotch Pie. He'll be begging for curry in no time.

Old Knudsen said...

Yeah, lets talk about acceptable male mutilation, lets check all the knobs for foreskins. Anonymous, I had better not see you in the street,you do nothing but spam and troll, now I find out you take dirty pictures too, shame on you.

Belinda Cockbox said...

WATS WRONG WITH DIRTY PIX OLD KNUSDEN U LOVE IT AND YOU KNOW IT

Fat Sparrow said...

Anonym-ass, yer arse is hanging out the window and they're throwing beer bottles at it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about that other message I was high, forget about the whole thing.I will Desisi at once bygones.

David Duff said...

You're right, Clairwil, my last curry was consumed in Singapore c.1965. A bunch of us had enjoyed a lunchtime pint or three of Tiger beer and decided to call into a local curry house. It was what you might call 'Billy Basic', a door, a window with three bowls on a shelf containing a liquified substance in three shades of brown. We entered, commandeered a table and ordered. Now, the odd thing is that whilst I hate the taste of curry, I love the smell. One niff and I'm salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs, so, under the influence of booze and bouquet, I went along with what the other blokes ordered and soon a large bowl of fluffy white rice appeared before and a huge bowl of the suspiciously brown 'goo'. I spooned some onto my rice and by now, almost dribbling with hunger, rammed a spoonfull into my mouth.

I think I now know what it is like to die of strychnine poisoning! There was a three second delay and then my mouth caught fire. Unable to speak, sweat running in rivulets from every pore in body, I stood up suddenly, sending my chair crashing, clutching my throat with one hand, my eyeballs swivelling like radar dishes, I spotted the fact, which should have been a warning, that the waiter had laid out a huge jug of water and glasses for everyone. Ignoring the glasses, I simply picked up the monster-sized jug and emptied it down my throat.

I have never touched a curry since that day.

Anonymous said...

This is what I love about blogging. What a fine, educational post. I feel a bit sick though...

ill man said...

You're in good company David, apparently Charan Gill, one of Glasgow's wealthiest Indian restaurant owners had a similar experience in a Glasgow curry house in the sixties, not long after arriving here from India. The waiter asked if he'd like his curry hot, to which he replied "Yes, as hot as you can make it....." He then probably sat and wondered why they would serve cold curry..........

Apparently the brutal fire-breathing curry is something they didn't really go in for in India.

Anonymous said...

Start the countdown. If that sight is not down by 8am Clairwil will not live to see the outcome. We know where she lives. We know where she works and how she gets there. We know her car reg and model. We know her family. This time tomorrow Clairwil will be dead.

Anonymous said...

Take your last few breaths. We know where you live. We know witch pub you live over We know where your parents live. Your daddy drives a green Toyota.

Dead before sunset.

Old Knudsen said...

Are we talking about lunchtime or dinner time before sunset? fucking amateurs, people who mean to kill other people don't go around making threats, they just do it, you're giving Keelers a bad name.

Old Knudsen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ill man said...

Ooooh! An illiterate death threat. Can you do one for me please? Whoever you are.....

Something along the lines of......."Your dead Ill Man, I know whare you live. i'll be waiting at the bottom of you're street with a meet clever and a transit van. Then ill post you're body parts back to your house one by one etc.........."

Something like that, nice and gory..........

Fat Sparrow said...

Oh, excellent, Hallowe'en comments! I'd try to get in to the spirit, too, but I really can't spell badly. It gives me a horrible pain. In my arse. Much like the pain Anonym-ass gives me, now that I think about it.

Fat Sparrow said...

Clairwil, I'm with Old Knudsen on this one. Here in the States, male mutilation goes on every single day, and no one is doing anything about it. If you even try to talk about it with people, they get really defensive. There are many, many women here who would not even look at a man who wasn't circumcized. As someone who has a son, I cannot imagine why people think it's valid to go around chopping off baby's willies. Not even religious people, even, just your average white American. Hey, it's "tradition." Sorry, but this is something that really chaps my thighs. I've been planning on doing a post on it for a while, and now I may have to get off my ass and do it. I know that FGM is a problem, but I'll bet that the number of male babies being circumcized in America is higher than the numbers for FGM in Third World countries.

Anonymous said...

Really, this sorry affair is giving the rest of us anonymouses a bad name. Normally, when we start a murder countdown, you average anonymous tends not to fall asleep at the wheel after the first hour. And a little consistency please - 24/12 hours is a neater, more cinematic deadline to countdown. Telling Claire at midnight that she'll be "dead this time tomorrow", followed up by a later post, "dead before sundown", will only confuses matters. Plus, how are you going to kill her? One must always toy with the victim a little bit, make them squirm. The bit about the Toyota and the father is good – more of that please – but where’s the flair, the lightness of touch? I trust you are an anonymous union member and can refer to these guiding principles in the handbook at a later date. If, however, you are using the anonymous alias in vain, legal action will be forthcoming if you do not cease and desist such despicable slighting of our hard-earned reputation. The countdown starts here…

Anonymous said...

You just can't get the staff these days.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true anonymous. You spend your life stalking people on the internet, putting the fear of God into perfect strangers through systematic bullying and advanced scare tactics, yet it can all be undermined in an instant through the actions of snivelling little novices like our friend anonymous up there. One should at least have to pass a written exam or something, or else what is the true value of anonymity? I might as well start a blog of my own, writing about my feelings and making cyber-friends. Jesus! I’m coming for you anonymous. I know all about your family: the fact that your father drives a red Vauxhall Astra and your mother shops at Morrisons, although she does occasionally visit Sainsbury’s because it’s a shorter drive and there’s only so many hours in the day. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Clairwil said...

SHOCK! SURPRISE!

I'm still alive.

Anonymous said...

Hooray!

Fat Sparrow said...

Well, they're not exactly the Provos, are they? You know, Anonym-ass really lost me at "your daddy drives a green Toyota." I'll bet the only old banger that Clairwil's dad drives is Anonym-ass's ma.

I'm eagerly awaiting the "Your mama's so fat" line of threats.

Anonymous said...

You have all maid fun of Anonymous for the last time when I click my fingers you are all dead, fuck it I'm off to sniff more glue the only thing I'm killing is my last brain sell.

Anonymous said...

Your mama so fat she got self-esteem issues.

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