My Granddaughter Meggie

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dejapig
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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby dejapig » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:26 pm

OK, I clicked the link and it appears to be Christopher Fountain's response to the YMCA's stand against racism. What does this person have to do with Meggie?
Be who you are & say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter & those who matter don't mind. --Dr. Seuss
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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:37 pm

dejapig wrote:OK, I clicked the link and it appears to be Christopher Fountain's response to the YMCA's stand against racism. What does this person have to do with Meggie?


I hope she does not mind that I'm giving this to you, so don't post to her! If you do, don't tell her you got it from me! But just reading the stories is wonderful. She's a good writer.

She explains alot in her posts. Also if you watch the videos, they go through youtube, you will understand.
http://nairobi2010.wordpress.com/2010/1 ... umu-day-3/
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby dejapig » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:19 am

She's a great writer! I really enjoy her posts--just enough detail to give you the flavor of her locale or topic, but not bogged down in a chronological retelling like first we went here, then we went there, then we went there.
=D>

Please continue to post links, janet.
Be who you are & say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter & those who matter don't mind. --Dr. Seuss

Keith Olbermann rocks! --dejapig

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:07 am

dejapig wrote:She's a great writer! I really enjoy her posts--just enough detail to give you the flavor of her locale or topic, but not bogged down in a chronological retelling like first we went here, then we went there, then we went there.
=D>

Please continue to post links, janet.

Thank you Deja. Ever time I get one, it just thrills me! I am so proud of her. She is a very positive person who hates abuse of any kind! She doesn't know it yet but that is the DNA she gets from her grandmother. :wink:
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:03 pm

I was beginning to get a little worried about this post taking so long!

Oh, this is so behind, but I’m determined to finish the Kisumu trip because the fourth day was the best of the trip. Maybe this will be a little abridged, though, because it’s so old. I’ve decided to do it in parts, because I’m gathering that my posts are unbearably long, so here’s part one of day four. —

Thursday morning I felt slightly uncomfortable sitting at the hotel’s breakfast table in my gym shorts and Habitat tshirt. I hadn’t worn my dorky-looking tennis shoes and socks in public since our first couple of weeks and I was slightly conscious of the fact that you could probably see my sports bra’s strap peaking through the collar of my shirt (remember we’re in a highly conservatice country). Katie also had on her gym clothes, with tie-dye and a bandana in her hair, though, and Roseanne said we were okay, so we just proceeded to eat a big breakfast as instructed and see what the day would have to offer.

We drove in our little bus for over an hour and a half, passing through the same route we had taken to Mama Sarah’s, passed where we had dropped Lillian off the day before so she could get a matatu to visit her family, and drove on. Eventually we got off the paved road and rumbled down the undeveloped two-tracks that people use in their long daily commutes. We passed through several villages and eventually hit a fork in the road, where Roseanne hesitated uncharacteristically. Go Left. Or is it right? No, it’s left I’m sure. Or maybe… So she rolled down the window and called out to a woman passing on her daily routine: “Chancellor Owiti ako kushoto? Au kulia?” Then some of us turned to each other: “Chancellor Owiti??” And sure enough after taking the left fork we did indeed pass a sign bearing the traditional black and red that read ‘Residence of Chancellor Owiti of Bondo District’.

When we pulled up about fifteen minutes later Lillian and her mother came out to greet us welcomingly. When Roseanne said with a small laugh that she almost couldn’t remember how to get to her house Mrs. Owiti let out a playful rebuke that after so many years of family friendship she should know better by now. With that we were shown into the large front room of the house, where all of us together only filled about half of the couch space, and enjoyed some brief refreshments. The only purpose of our stop here was to pick up Lillian and her mom, but in true Kenyan fashion we couldn’t just pick them up; we had to be treated to good hospitality first.

Anyway, we clamored back into the bus, this time squeezing to accommodate our visitor and hit some more narrow two tracks. There were points when just as I had begun to contemplate whether or not we were still on an actual road the vague outlines of tire tracks would again begin to rematerialize. A little along, in a narrow section, as the leaves of the trees are brushing across the sides of the van we suddenly pass by two women who are just tucked into the bushes but are right up to the windows. As we drive by they ululate at the top of their lungs and shake their bottle cap tambourines at us through the open glass. At first it’s startling, but then it’s shrugged off. Huh, that was odd, we think. Why were they there, and why did they seem so particularly interested in us? Well, little did we know we’d be dancing in the same circle as those very women in several hours time…


http://nairobi2010.wordpress.com/2010/1 ... -4-part-1/
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:24 pm

I needed to post this one from Meggie. I think this is an extraordinarily good post.

http://nairobi2010.wordpress.com/author/nairobi2010/

Today (actually Thursday–took me a couple days to finish this) in my gender and development class we talked about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM from here out. Some call it female circumcision, but that denies that it is actually mutilation, so FGM), and I felt the need to do an impromptu blog post. I feel the need to talk about this because I had never heard of FGM until I was in college (which is too late to know such a truth about the world, about women, about sexual practices), and because it was not until today that I was truly moved by what I learned on the topic. That is not to say that I didn’t think it bad; rather, I never really took the time to consider it. I never took the time to think that a substantial portion of real women around the world actually undergo this cultural ‘necessity’.

First some background: Sex is a taboo topic in most African cultures and this is exceptionally harmful for women in particular (for everyone really, given the prevalence of HIV/AIDS). A basic sexual education, about how bodies function and about sexual practices could help a number of young men and women help themselves. I won’t delay on this long now, because I will surely return to the topic for more detail at some other point. However, in the mean time I should simply like to note that FGM is a patriarchal practice used to control women. The basic argument is that women are too wild and that they cannot be trusted to control their own desires. Thus, the only thing to do is to remove the desire from them. Otherwise they cannot be trusted, they will be promiscuous, they are dirty, etc. Most FGM practices occur, much the same as male circumcision, as a right of passage. Having undergone the procedure is to make one a true woman. She can now be married (a desired and respected trait), speak with the men, be equal with the women who raised her. The operation is often performed by women themselves, and the practice is typically encouraged by other women as much as by men. There are many reason for this, the greatest being the preservation of Ethnic identity, to have their children accepted and respected, but other reasons lie in capital (like the dowry price fetched by a woman or the income that comes from performing the operation). The procedure is often done with a simple razor blade or community knife, without anesthetic, and if the girls are in a group, often the same blade is used repeatedly (Note the easy potential for the spread of HIV). I can continue on this background information, should there be interest.

Now, though, I’d like to give some facts (I‘m not going to warn about explicit content because there is no reason to shelter someone from this, although that‘s initially why I started this parenthesis bracket):

There are four types of Female Genital Mutilation, as classified by the World Health Organization (WHO). FGM is defined as “all procedures involving partial or full removal of or any injury of female external genitalia for non-medical reasons”.

Type 1: Clitoridectomy. This is the whole or partial removal of the clitoris (and often the ‘hood’ or prepule). Lets note that this fits with the simple claim of removing the woman’s sexual pleasure. It is practiced by the Embu culture in Kenya (Roseanne‘s tribe. Although her parents were educated and therefore condemned the practice, she did tell us about how she learned post-humus that her paternal grandmother used to perform the ‘operation’ and she talked about how she can walk around in the village and know when little girls have undergone the procedure because they suddenly transform their habits and proudly wear the “kanga“–a skirt/piece of fabric that women use in many ways to wrap themselves or carry things–because it is a woman‘s attire and not a girls).

Type 2: Excision. This is the whole or partial removal of the clitoris and the inner labia. The outline of this is rough because the precision with which the operation is performed is marginal. That is, sometimes it’s more or less, depending on how accurately the knife falls.

Type 3: Infibulation. This is easily the most repulsive form of the practice. It’s is essentially the scooping out of the majority of the woman’s external sexual organs. It involves the removal of the clitoris, labia minor and the interior of the labia major, leaving nothing but the skin of the labia major which is to be sewn shut over the hole left by where everything else used to be. Frequently a small hole is left through which the woman is to urinate and bleed during her monthly period. Again, though, lets talk about accuracy in the procedure and note that this is rarely an efficient solution to meeting a woman’s daily functions. Type 3 is culturally used as the strongest virginity test in a community because upon marriage a husband, or a selected person depending on the culture, is granted the privilege of cutting the woman open. This practice is most common among the Somali and Egyptians.

Type 4: Everything else. That can include equally gruesome procedures or can include the women who get piercings. Whether the action is free-willingly done or not the definition includes “non-medical purposes”. And whom is the woman with the piercing in her vagina really serving, herself or a man? (In other words, we can debate just how ‘free willing’ the choice to get a piercing is some other day)

Just how many women are effected by this global phenomenon? Here are some facts about Africa broadly and Kenya specifically (in 2009):

In Somalia 98% of women had undergone the practice, in Egypt 97%, Eritrea 94.5%, Sudan 89.2%, Kenya 32%. Clearly Kenya is the lowest of this list, but 32% is still one out of every three women. One out of three, that’s a third of the female population in Kenya! And how about Egypt? I had no idea on that number, but that’s almost every woman in the entire country.

In Kenya: 31% of rural women are effected versus 17% of urban women (so in reality, just less than one out of every five women that I encounter in Nairobi–you obviously never know who it is, but to think about that while you‘re walking around it‘s startling). For the Somali tribe within Kenya, again 98% of women, in the Kisii tribe 96%, the Masai 73%, the Embu 44%, the Kikuyu 34%. The Luo (my Dad’s family, along with Lillian’s) are a mere 1 or 2% as they don’t traditionally practice. The outliers come from the Luo’s who border the Kisii. There are many other tribes within the country, but these are some of the most well known.

For the Somali FGM is not so much a right of passage as it is a means to control the woman, who inherently has an inability to control her desire herself. Thus, 2/3rds of the 98% of women undergo the procedure between the ages of 3 and 7.

Now let me make clear: Men typically undergo circumcision as a right of passage as well. However, their circumcision has substantially less-significant health side effects. It is also performed without anesthetic and with the same blade (if in a group), so the spread of HIV and bleeding to death are occurrences, but the prevalence of these negatives are almost negligible compared to what women undergo. Frequently they bleed to death (particularly with type 3), or become easily infected and can’t be treated. Type 3 has substantial ramifications on a woman’s well-being as her urine and blood often get trapped inside, to fester or develop into cysts etc. The complications for childbirth are extreme (commonly leading to the loss of both the woman and the child) and a majority of women live with daily pain, even years after their operations.


I’m not going to include pictures of this practice anywhere on my blog, but I strongly strongly encourage you to look them up for yourself. They can be graphic but that is all the more reason to educate yourself about the practice. FGM is exceptionally harmful to women, there is no question about that, but its extreme interconnected nature with traditional culture and women’s daily lives makes its removal difficult. Imposing NGOs that demand an end to the practice are less productive than those who slowly enter the culture and engage the community in a dialog, understanding why it is important to them and demonstrating why it’s harmful for them. Let them choose to eradicate the practice. But by no means accept it as a way of life that we shouldn’t be trying to change. Know about it and tell others about it. And look it up! The visuals are powerful, and even upsetting, but you owe it to the women who have been brave enough to speak out about their experiences to create the material you will find.

All statistics from the 2008/09 Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) as presented by Professor Roseanne Njeru on 11 November 2010.
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK

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Marie
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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby Marie » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:39 pm

In Europe during the middle ages, fear of the power of women got translated as "witchcraft" and was persecuted. FGM is another expression of that fear, expressed culturally as a "danger" against which steps must be taken. What pisses me off is the way female elders participate in it, actually perform it on other women with primitive implements in unsanitary conditions.

I first read about FGM in MS. magazine in the mid-'70s. It's discouraging, with all the awareness of this issue that exists, that the world hasn't made more headway in eradicating these practices. I've even heard stories about immigrants to America trying to find doctors here who will perform it on their daughters.

-Marie-
You find out what someone is really like in "battle," and Olbermann is who you want to be in a foxhole with, Patrick said. "On the air, we had each others' backs," said Olbermann.
-David Goetzl: "Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick still brothers long after ESPN's 'Big Show'"; MediaPost blog, 4-6-2012


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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:20 pm

Marie wrote:In Europe during the middle ages, fear of the power of women got translated as "witchcraft" and was persecuted. FGM is another expression of that fear, expressed culturally as a "danger" against which steps must be taken. What pisses me off is the way female elders participate in it, actually perform it on other women with primitive implements in unsanitary conditions.

I first read about FGM in MS. magazine in the mid-'70s. It's discouraging, with all the awareness of this issue that exists, that the world hasn't made more headway in eradicating these practices. I've even heard stories about immigrants to America trying to find doctors here who will perform it on their daughters.

-Marie-

What thrills me the most about this post is that she didn't need to post it. But because of the woman she is, the truth in her, and the valor she has. She knows she can't do a damn thing about it, but writing about it, and showing it to others is a way for her to do something by bringing it to the attention of those she can reach. I really love this child. I wish I could have had her FIRST!
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:33 pm

jwolfbauer wrote:
Marie wrote:In Europe during the middle ages, fear of the power of women got translated as "witchcraft" and was persecuted. FGM is another expression of that fear, expressed culturally as a "danger" against which steps must be taken. What pisses me off is the way female elders participate in it, actually perform it on other women with primitive implements in unsanitary conditions.

I first read about FGM in MS. magazine in the mid-'70s. It's discouraging, with all the awareness of this issue that exists, that the world hasn't made more headway in eradicating these practices. I've even heard stories about immigrants to America trying to find doctors here who will perform it on their daughters.

-Marie-

What thrills me the most about this post is that she didn't need to post it. But because of the woman she is, the truth in her,and the valor she has. She knows she can't do a damn thing about it, but writing about it, and showing it to others is a way for her to do something by bringing it to the attention of those she can reach. I really love this child. I wish I could have had her FIRST!

I sitll hope that the girl who is is my granddauthers, knows me, and who has my DNA knows it.
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby dejapig » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:08 pm

jwolfbauer wrote:I think this is an extraordinarily good post.

They are all AWESOME posts, Janet! What an extraordinary young woman she is. She is absorbing and documenting all of her fabulous experiences; one day she will make good use of them to educate, help, and enlighten people on a larger scale. I can't wait to see that happen. Then I can say I used to read her blog posts via her grandmother. :grin:
Be who you are & say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter & those who matter don't mind. --Dr. Seuss

Keith Olbermann rocks! --dejapig

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby BrooklynBilly » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:30 pm

This letter is from today's NY Times Magazine in response to mention last week of FGM. I find it hard to believe that someone could defend this practice in the name of cultural sensitivity.


Letter: The Art of Social Change
Kwame Anthony Appiah makes the wonderful point (Oct. 24) that if Westerners and Europeans were more culturally sensitive to local contexts and worked with villagers rather than “parachute in with Western values and ideas,” change might be better adapted to local needs. I’m glad Appiah uses foot binding in China as his chief positive example of change rather than female genital cutting (F.G.C.) — not “mutilation,” as your subtitle suggests. I remember being in Kenya in 1980 when women from that country came back from the U.N. conference on the status of women in Copenhagen, angered by Western women’s cultural insensitivity to what Kenyan (and other African) women viewed as their issue. Female circumcision is limited to northern Africa and along the eastern coast. It was rarely seen in central and southern Africa. It is time that The Times Magazine adopted the more appropriate term “cutting,” which both Appiah and Nicholas Kristof use in their articles, rather than the socially charged term “mutilation.” Times reporters have changed over the past 10 years and adopted F.G.C. as the operative term. It’s time the magazine followed suit.

JEAN DAVISON, PH.D.
Austin, Tex
.
Nemo surdior est quam is qui non audiet

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:45 pm

dejapig wrote:
jwolfbauer wrote:I think this is an extraordinarily good post.

They are all AWESOME posts, Janet! What an extraordinary young woman she is. She is absorbing and documenting all of her fabulous experiences; one day she will make good use of them to educate, help, and enlighten people on a larger scale. I can't wait to see that happen. Then I can say I used to read her blog posts via her grandmother. :grin:

Deja I'm amazied at her. I don't know why, but evey post is better than the rest. President Obama reads her posts because it gives his girls an info look into his life when he was a boy and also what is happening in that part of the world. I'm amazed how she writes. What I see is someone who will some day enthrall a agreat many people. Of course I'm just a grandma who wishes she would go into politics and help many people but something tells me she will be a journalist. And that is Okay, really! Megan holds my attention when she writes. You say enlighting many people, that is my hope in her. But even if that does not happen, I'm still so damn proud of the woman in her.
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:51 pm

BrooklynBilly wrote:This letter is from today's NY Times Magazine in response to mention last week of FGM. I find it hard to believe that someone could defend this practice in the name of cultural sensitivity.


Letter: The Art of Social Change
Kwame Anthony Appiah makes the wonderful point (Oct. 24) that if Westerners and Europeans were more culturally sensitive to local contexts and worked with villagers rather than “parachute in with Western values and ideas,” change might be better adapted to local needs. I’m glad Appiah uses foot binding in China as his chief positive example of change rather than female genital cutting (F.G.C.) — not “mutilation,” as your subtitle suggests. I remember being in Kenya in 1980 when women from that country came back from the U.N. conference on the status of women in Copenhagen, angered by Western women’s cultural insensitivity to what Kenyan (and other African) women viewed as their issue. Female circumcision is limited to northern Africa and along the eastern coast. It was rarely seen in central and southern Africa. It is time that The Times Magazine adopted the more appropriate term “cutting,” which both Appiah and Nicholas Kristof use in their articles, rather than the socially charged term “mutilation.” Times reporters have changed over the past 10 years and adopted F.G.C. as the operative term. It’s time the magazine followed suit.

JEAN DAVISON, PH.D.
Austin, Tex
.


Thank you Billy! And thank you for reading Megins blog!
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby dejapig » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:53 pm

BrooklynBilly wrote:This letter is from today's NY Times Magazine in response to mention last week of FGM. I find it hard to believe that someone could defend this practice in the name of cultural sensitivity.

I'm ashamed that Dr. Davison is from Austin, Texas. I get that she is saying meaningful and long-lasting change will have to occur organically. I liken it to yes we know that democracy is great, but suddenly "forcing" it on tribal Middle Eastern societies with centuries of non-democratic experience doesn't work. I think she's right about that type of "cultural sensitivity." But to object to the term "mutilation" in favor of "cutting" is absurd. We're not talking about a decorative or harmless procedure like a tattoo or piercing. If it was culturally acceptable to cut off the left hand of a young girl instead of her "lady parts" we'd certainly refer to that as a mutilation. When "cutting" has such long-term adverse medical and psychological effects, it crosses the line and becomes a "mutilation," Dr. Davis. Giving it a less scary moniker only prolongs the practice. Call it what it is, or it will never change.
Be who you are & say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter & those who matter don't mind. --Dr. Seuss

Keith Olbermann rocks! --dejapig

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Re: My Granddaughter Meggie

Postby jwolfbauer » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:17 pm

dejapig wrote:
BrooklynBilly wrote:This letter is from today's NY Times Magazine in response to mention last week of FGM. I find it hard to believe that someone could defend this practice in the name of cultural sensitivity.

I'm ashamed that Dr. Davison is from Austin, Texas. I get that she is saying meaningful and long-lasting change will have to occur organically. I liken it to yes we know that democracy is great, but suddenly "forcing" it on tribal Middle Eastern societies with centuries of non-democratic experience doesn't work. I think she's right about that type of "cultural sensitivity." But to object to the term "mutilation" in favor of "cutting" is absurd. We're not talking about a decorative or harmless procedure like a tattoo or piercing. If it was culturally acceptable to cut off the left hand of a young girl instead of her "lady parts" we'd certainly refer to that as a mutilation. When "cutting" has such long-term adverse medical and psychological effects, it crosses the line and becomes a "mutilation," Dr. Davis. Giving it a less scary moniker only prolongs the practice. Call it what it is, or it will never change.

deja when I tell people that, they laugh at me, and say well that is the way of Africans. No kidding, I had had that said to me. When I think of women be mutilated, I think of may things. One of which is abuse that I know of, on a scale of wife abuse. But when I first heard of this on Oprah no less, I was appalled. And for someone to use the word cutting instead of mutilation is extreme in my view. I know if I were a mother of a girl there, I would tell my daughter to ware the tribal cloth and not tell anyone she was not mutilated. I would do eveything to cover it up. I had a problem with my girls shots!
In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy."- MLK Jr.
'Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.'" JFK


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