This past September, I was invited to take part in an incredible, really productive Listening Session on Female Genital Cutting organized by the Office of Women's Health at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington DC. For those who inquired about my participation in and contribution to this meeting, I regret to inform you of the organizers' Vegas rule: What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas!
What I can say is this: In the exactly twenty years that I have been involved with this issue (teaching, writing, conducting research, collaborating with other scholars in varied disciplines and health care practitioners) in particular, teasing out and challenging the not so hidden racist and sexist concept of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), I have never felt so genuinely respected, validated and "heard". Hats off to America for being the first western country to at least crack the door open for the Other to speak!
To the extent that through SiA Magazine I can represent the silenced majority of circumcised women, I am truly honored and humbled. The day will come when my sisters across the sub-continent of Africa, parts of the Middle East, pockets of Latin America and Southeast Asia will rise up to speak out for themselves and in their many tongues and through their varied, beautiful, cultural traditions! That day will come (and it has already - just google "female genital cosmetic surgeries") when those who ridicule, belittle and persecute us will be imitating the very thing they pretend to despise!
For now, am so glad to be back to work full time, promoting the inaugural issue of SiA Magazine (quarterly publication is scheduled to resume January 2016) and organizing the first major event for African Women Are Free to Choose set for February 6, 2016. I am at present in Nairobi, Kenya making useful contacts with grassroots women's groups, NGOs and academic institutions to begin creating awareness about the true "herstory" and meaning of Female Circumcision in Africa.
Fuambai Sia Ahmadu, PhD
Editor and Publisher, SiA and the Shabaka Stone Magazine
Co-Founder, African Women are Free to Choose