My existence is a life-long treasure hunt.

Uganda Bravebirds

In a land far away where the sun doesn’t spare a soul
And a twisted tradition has a girl in a strangle-hold

Lies a desert with the footprints…of little girls with a secret
Of a pain, that you and I could never know

Uganda’s President has banned the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), or female circumcision. This practice is done on young girls with a crude, often unclean knife or blade with no numbing or anesthetic, often removes the clitoral hood, and/or vaginal lips, and often is stitched back up into a small opening. This cultural practice transports them into womanhood and makes them marriageable, from what I understand. I have read often that the subsequent pain is supposed to ensure the woman’s faithfulness, as she will not seek out sex for pleasure thus ensuring the husband’s paternity and control/domination over his wife. Complications include reduced-to-no sexual pleasure, infections, pain and possible life-threatening complications in childbirth, maternal and infant mortality, and increased susceptibility to diseases such as HIV.

Little feet running fast as they can like a bird in flight
Through the sand with the fire in the sky and the indigo nights
She ran away from a life spent…being witness to other unwilling participants
Of a pain, that you and I could never know

The song in this post is attributed to Waris Dirie (but also others like her, I’m sure), who underwent FGM at the age of five years, and fled from an arranged marriage at the age of thirteen years to London. She has written an internationally bestselling book about her life and worked on a film of the same subject. She became a supermodel and is still an activist against FGM.

As she speaks you can tell that the words are not easy to say
Cause they have the power to transport her to that impossible day
But she hasn’t any regrets, cause she won’t become a woman with a secret
Of a pain that you and I could never know

Several other African countries have officially banned FGM, but in some countries apparently, the practice is still rampant. This seems really difficult to police effectively, but I truly believe just recognizing the dangers and human rights violations of this practice and stating sanctions against it is a hugely important step for women. Awareness is key so I think this is a giant leap forward every time a country bans it. I am always respectful and mindful of other cultures but I do think a line has to be drawn when it comes to blatantly harming, disabling, and often incapacitating another human being for the sake of marriageablility and womanhood. If there are those more knowledgeable on this subject, I invite your thoughts as well as those of all my readers.

You’re a bravebird…of the rarest kind
You may be one of the walking wounded…but still you fly
You’re a bravebird…you put yourself on the line
When you shared your secret with the world…you saved another mother’s child

Peeped here through here.

Bravebird – Amel Larrieux

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Comments on: "Uganda Bravebirds" (11)

  1. ChocolateOrchid said:

    This just messes me up everytime I read or hear about this. I too respect every culture but harming others is where I draw the line. Especially when it is to benefit oneself.

    Damn, why do people/cultures have to make it so difficult to be a woman!!

    This is tragically horrible.

  2. karrie b. said:

    i learned about this when i was HOOKED on niptuck…alicia whats her face…that tv personality/comedian/model played an african woman who had her stuff cut, so she went to mcnamara/troy to have it reversed…

    the spin they put on it was cool, because she got it on with christian (1 of the plastic surgeons) and felt nothing. the lesbian anesthesiologist suggested that she masturbate, and it woiked. she got off 🙂

    i personally cant imagine what it's like to not have that sort of pleasure, and i cant fathom have it taken away…it's just, inhumane what they do to our women.

  3. wynsters the tigress said:

    the problem with female circumcision is not the lack of awareness among women HERE. it's that it is so ingrained in the culture of the countries where it is practiced. the sad thing is that WOMEN are doing this to other women…young girls, no less! it will take a lot to destroy something that even those to whom the pain is being brought, believe it's something that must be done. more and more women like waris dirie need to speak out before real change can happen.

  4. Qucifer said:

    *shrivers* Oh My Minty God!

    I cosign with Chocolate Orchid, I can't even read stuff like that cause just Imagining shit like these women will be: Carrying water or doing physical effort, the infection after being Fucked with a rusty knife, pissing, having a period, Sex, No Orgasms Childbirth

    It just fucks me up for the day

  5. Anonymous said:

    There is another lady who wrote a book called Infidel. Her name was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and she was subjected to the female circumcision. Personally, its incomprehensible that someone would do this simply to prevent infidelity in women, its so very destroying to the true essence of a woman.

    Lina

  6. CO: I know. Like when you really, REALLY think about it, it's terrifying. It's horrible. I ache for these girls who have to go through this.

    KB: Alisha Tyler, right? I've been so slacking on Nip/Tuck. That's the issue though. Who is someone else to take away a woman's pleasure? To exert this type of control over a woman's body, life, health?

    Wynsters: I so agree. I read so many accounts of mothers tricking their daughters who had no idea this was about to happen to them, all in fear of their daughters being able to marry. And women perform the circumcision for income. YES, more women like Waris, Ayaan, and others do need to speak out against it. Waris was shunned by family, so it is so brave to do this.

    QQ: I know, when you put yourself in their shoes and imagine going about your daily life…it's almost too much.

    Lina: Girl, whatchu doin' under Anonymous? Yes Ali is always on Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, and other political shows.

  7. mrs. mary mack said:

    I've been fortunate enough to meet some awesome women who have experienced this first hand in my work with Vday.org and the Feminist Majority. As hopeful as I am about this ban there are still several other cultures continuing this practice. I'm not sure if you've read any Eve Ensler but she has written a few pieces worth reading about this. I love how you tied Brave Bird into the blog!

  8. InnyVinny said:

    Second on Ayaan's book. I was SWEPT UP in that one.

  9. Beautifully.Conjured.Up said:

    I learned about this in college from a women's study class, and I thought it was the worst thing ever. Like you, I believe in respecting other people's cultures, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.

    I find it such an iniquity to encumber these women with this action…it's nothing but a way to take pleasure from the woman and equalize her to nothing more than a tool for a man…pure tragedy. Besides racism, sexism is a form of discrimination that I have a hatred towards that has no limits.

  10. Kisura Usiku said:

    Rejoice!!! This is GREAT NEWS!!!!

  11. MMM: I will def. check out Eve Ensler, thanks! I would love to hear more about your work with V-day

    Innyvinny: Ok, have to check out Ayaan's book now!

    BCU: We are definitely on the same page here.

    Kisura Usiku: Hey, thank you for visiting me! Every step is a good step.

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