review SCHMERZENSKINDER

In her third books Waris relates her battle against FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). She finds out to her great dismay that even in several European countries FGM is being applied. Sometimes it is being done by a traditional female circumciser, sometimes by a medical doctor, some parents go with their children to their country of origin, during a holiday.

Waris has moved to Vienna and has obtained Austrian citizenship. With a small goup of women she has an organisation that fights FGM. She travels to different countries to speak with others who try to change laws in their own country, to educate women, speak at schools.

She travels to France where she attends a courtcase against parents who took their child to country in West Africa and the daughter was circumcised. In paris she meets in a restaurant with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who fled Somalia, and has been a member of Parliament in The Netherlands.

She goes to England where she meets people who have direct contact with FGM-victims.

She travels to Germany and she talks with mefdical doctors who are willing to perform infibulation.

She goes to The Netherlands to talk with demonstrators and lawmakers who want to have anti-FGM laws in that country.

Later on she talks with Muslimscholars who tell her that in the Quran you find nothing about FGM, even the daughters of the prophet were not circumcised. In the Hadith there are a few mentions on FGM, but these are considered to be ‘weak’, in other words: they do not have authority. What would happen when islamic leaders would stand up  against FGM, inside and outside the mosque?

So it is very questionable to see FGM als a religious rite, it is more likely to be a cultural rite that has become a rite with religious connotations and religious confirmation in many cultures.

To me this is a very impressive book. In Kenya I knew a young christian woman who refused to be circumcised. She had a good education. She was a teacher at a primary school. But her changes to get married were small. Whenever she went to her parents she had to sit with the uncircumcised girl and not with the grown-ups. These are far reaching implications.

At the end of her book Waris gives information on the FGM-situation in several European countries and addresses for further information and for help.

http://www.desertflowerfoundation.org/en/

Waris Dirie en Corinna Milborn – Schmerzenskinder – Berlin 2005

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semper

I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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