Since the arrest of two men in the UK on Female Genital Mutilation related charges, many people have called or written me to ask for my take on the events. I think it's best for me to wait and see how the cases develop before I can make any definitive comments. For now I want to post two commentaries I received immediately after the arrests (authors' actual names withheld).
Friday evening, just before I left home, there was a TV news item with [Efua Dorkenoo] looking very prosperous and deliriously happy, saying this was the best day of her life. The reason? The UK's first prosecution for FGM. As normal, the news item (and that in a paper I saw on the Saturday morning) contained very little intelligent information, since it was almost entirely composed of a recital of the usual propaganda - "barbaric mutilation", "horrific torture", etc.
One might assume that the alleged crime consisted of holding down an unwilling girl, fighting and screaming, and circumcising her with a rusty razor-blade. One would be wrong!
The accused is a doctor, working in a large London NHS hospital where there are many Somali patients. His alleged crime? Repairing a pre-existing infibulation after an adult woman had given birth. A man is also accused of encouraging him to do this - one might guess her husband or a relative who might even have been communicating on behalf of the consenting woman, who would naturally be reluctant to discuss such matters with a male doctor. (The last comments are pure speculation since there was no substantive information in the news item.) Somewhat less speculative is the thought that the Doctor would have understood that if he did not do as requested it would have been done anyway in far less safe conditions, probably with far more pain and possible damage to the woman.
It beggars belief that the paranoia in the police and prosecution services has reached such a level that they have lost sight of the original (arguably reasonable) intent of the law, and now use a pure technicality of an extreme and over-restrictive law to persecute a caring professional who probably intelligently considered the wider situation and acted so as to ‘cause least harm’.”
From, "Steve", Trenton, NJ
Many thanks for your informative website and magazine - I have read much of them both with great interest.
I campaign against all genital mutilation of unconsenting minors: male, female and intersex.
But I think that you raise many, many valid points, and I respect your views - not because I necessarily agree with them, but because you are not a hypocrite!
And of course you encourage people to learn about the true facts of this subject, rather than just accepting the discourse of the west.
It amazing me how many rational, well read people in the UK believe that every woman who has been circumcised cannot have enjoyable sex and has infected genitals. I don't agree with this circumcision (if it's performed on minors); but I do like the truth.
The hypocrisy in the west between male and female circumcision is most striking and indeed hilarious at times. Please see the attach screen-shot from the BBC news website. At the top right hand side is a link to a FGM article: "Calls to stop female mutilation"; and right next to it is a link to an article about MGM: "Non-surgical circumcision device developed". Crazy.
As you are no doubt aware, there is a mounting body of evidence that female circumcision in parts of Africa leads to a very substantial reduction in HIV/AIDS in women. I have included some links to this research; but no doubt you are aware of this:
Of course it's not widespread knowledge, as UNICEF, UN, WHO etc., don't want this to become well known as it's does not fit their discourse: FGM = Bad; MGM = Good. This is because they are terrified of male circumcision being made illegal in the west.
I would love to see you do an article on how female circumcision in Africa could reduce new infections in women by 50 or 60%. If it's OK to cut off male genital flesh to reduce HIV, then why is it not OK to cut off female genital flesh to reduce HIV? (both under sterile conditions).
Women the world over demand equality with men in healthcare - so why not equality in receiving this amazing health benefit? I have had some *very* amusing "discussions" with women in the UK about this ;-)
Here is a link to one of the main organisation pushing male circumcision in Africa. It's sponsored by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation etc.:
In the middle of the page they state:
"There are multiple messages related to male circumcision that will need to be communicated clearly, consistently and in context-specific formats. These include core messages around:
The multiple meanings of the procedure (rite of passage, marker of religious identity, personal health and hygiene, HIV risk-reduction strategy)."
So they are happy to push male circumcision as a "rite of passage", "marker of religious identity" and for "health and hygiene". But try arguing for female circumcision on those grounds! Of course Bill Gates is almost 99% likely to be circumcised.
It's just such racist, sexist and cultural hypocrisy.
So many thanks once again, and to repeat: I respect your views - not because I necessarily agree with them, but because you are not a hypocrite! Plus I think you thoughts and writings on these subjects are enlightening.
Warm regards, "Mike", London, UK.