Abandoning Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation in the Afar Region of Ethiopia - 08
A smile formed on Dohra Al
i’s face when she recalled what her eldest
daughter asked her a couple of years ago. “Mother, is there a place in
this world where FGM is not practised where I could go to?” At the time,
the question came as an affront to Dohra, who was herself one of the
women in the community who did the cutting. Thinking back, Dohra says
the words of her daughter were prophetic. A campaign to abandon female
genital mutilation/cutting was begun in the region right about that time
– in the year 2000. The campaign was mainly spearheaded by religious
leaders, who worked tirelessly to inculcate an understanding among their
more conservative counterparts, clan leaders and the community at large
that the practice is not supported by Islam. This came as news to many,
who had grown up with the idea that it was a religious requirement.
This story was at the top of the womenwatch news feed. It is amazing that Dora Ali was able to turn around and go from being an active proponent of FGM to working in her community to irradicate it as a cultural practice. Such a change takes real courage.
Because the religious leaders in the region are spearheading the campaign there is real hope the practice can be wiped out.
I read Waris Diries books years ago.
She grew up in Somalia and ran away before a forced marriage, eventually she became a top model and an ambassador against FGM. It was very hard for her to go against her culture and family to highlight FGM and negative aspects of womens lives in Somalia. She showed great courage because she saw the need.
After reading her books I spoke with people to try to understand why it happened and the answer was that women saw it as a way of being clean and good and marriageable.
The religious leaders are now untying these associations with FGM and insisting that it is unislamic.
A news item on the The Waris Dirie foundation site it says that religious leaders in Mauritania are also banning the practice.
The film about Waris Diries 'Desert Flower' is again highlighting the issue in Europe and as a result of it Germany is tightening its laws against the practice.
If I could find out anything I would like to know whar the chain of events were that led to the religious leaders spearheading these campaigns. I'd like to know how such things begin, what the paths are that lead to change.
Waris Dirie certainly made one.