Under the headline “Female Genital Mutilation Rife in Egypt despite Ban,” we read in INTACT’s latest quarterly newsletter: “Astonishingly, in 21st Century Egypt, … more than 90% of the women have been subject to female genital mutilation (FGM). The figure comes from a UNICEF approved survey [from] 2008, the year that the practice was banned. …New… figures … due to be published later this year [are expected] to show a 10% decline. That still leaves [most] women in Egypt exposed to unimaginable physical and psychological pain and denied what the rest of us would call a normal sex life.” If you are curious to learn why the painful custom remains so popular, take a look at “In the Land of the Pharoahs…”, the concluding chapter in Hubert Prolongeau’s Undoing FGM. Pierre Foldes, the Surgeon Who Restores the Clitoris (2011; original 2006). Why does the story end in Cairo? The author, who speaks some Arabic, followed up on Foldes’ contacts and interviewed opinion-makers in medicine and government; they feel that those who wish to stop FGM also want to destroy Egyptian culture … Typical of Prolongeau’s informants speaking before regime change is a woman parliamentarian, Azza El Garf, speaking up today who would reverse the ban, claiming it’s a ‘woman’s’ right to choose to be cut. But I ask, when seven-to-nine year-olds are victims, which women choose?
UNDOING FGM “In the Land of the Pharoahs…”
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