By. Dr. Goran Abdulla
An early morning I was browsing through the pages of Washington Post when a picture caught my attention. In it, a young girl was grabbed by two women who fixed her back to the ground, and the back of another woman with a head scarf was visible. The title was female genital mutilation. I wondered how cruel and merciless these people must be to do such a disgusting act. It wasn’t long before I discovered that it was my own people who were violating that young girl.
The following day in college, my American classmates showered me with questions and demanding to know whether it were true that we did such a practice. They thought this practice was only done in some African countries, and didn’t know that Kurdistan was also a leader in FGM. I was red and sweaty from shame and raging anger that I couldn’t defend my people and myself.
“FGM is nothing”: this was the statement given by a well-renouned gynecologist and obstetrician in Kurdistan in response to a Human Rights Watch report on the issue of FGM in Kurdistan. To be honest, the first time I saw the data and figures on FGM published by the German NGO Wadi a plethora of thoughts and questions struggled in my mind: Could this be true? But the pictures are authentic and the newspaper is trustable! But no these people have done similar things before and they want to tarnish the reputation of our region!! But why haven’t we known about this before?
All these thoughts came and went but not for a single moment did I allow myself to ponder “circumcision is nothing.”
After a while I calmed down and I told myself: perhaps the government and the ministry of health are unaware of this, and immediately after the publication of Wadi’s research, they will do something about this crime and they wouldn’t stand speechless!
Two years have gone by since the picture was shown to the world, and the report by Wadi has already been published and illustrated. Even the ministry of Human Rights have published alarming figures about this phenomenon. Nevertheless, the reply of a physician – which can be generalized to the attitude of the government to this issue – is to say that “circumcision is nothing.” The misfortune of our people is that this physician is an advisor for health issues to the government, and she continues to be very influential. This carelessness and vulgarity of the ministry of health and its specialists comes at a time when the whole world has caught a glimpse of the data about FGM in Kurdistan through the HRW’s report, and the international newspapers, websites and media are paying as much attention to the issue as they give to the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, the war in Afghanistan or the world cup.
Regardless of the religious, cultural and social underlying and perpetuating factors of this practice, female genital mutilation is in principle an unhealthy practice and has disastrous consequences on physical, mental and social health of the victims. The torrent of discussions and dialogues carried out on the religious and cultural aspects of the practice doesn’t alter the fact that a fraction of women in our society are harmed and damaged on different levels and are in need of help. These victims require an urgent attention from the ministry of Health, which should no longer bury it’s head in the sand of the multitude of fatal maladies afflicting our society. But alas, this ministry is deaf and dum to these facts.
Instead of doubting and questioning the data of Wadi and HRU, the ministry and its specialists can work together to make a strategic five year plan to curtail and eliminate this practice. It is not moral to sacrifice the health of our daughters, mothers and sisters to save some meaningless and empty national slogans.
How could FGM be nothing if one is to cut the most sensitive part of a human body without appropriate anesthesia? How could FGM be nothing if one is to cut one of the most blood-rich tissues in the body without appropriate bleeding-control measures? How could FGM be nothing if a piece of flesh is cut off from the body without appropriate disinfection and with dirty instruments? How could FGM be nothing if an open wound is cleaned with a handful of ash? How could FGM be nothing if you, a specialist in women’s health, know better than most that it is proven by research that women who are victims of FGM have higher chances of developing urinary and genital tract infections and a myriad of other ailments and complications during intercourse, pregnancy and childbearing? Only if you were to lower your pompousness and lend a humane ear to a victims of FGM while she described the pains and pangs of her sexual, social and psychological life.
It is perhaps time the Ministry of Health unbury the ostrich heads of its consultants and specialists, and to encourage them to have a fresh look around and stop dealing with such a psycho-somato-social problem from a butcher’s (surgeon) view point. If even a single girl is subjected to FGM in this region, a state of emergency should be declared and the political leaders should deny themselves rest or sleep until the practice is eliminated.
A reply to a well-renouned physician and government advisor on FGM: http://www.globalpost.com/print/5560986
Note on this page in Kurdish
هاوڵاتی، ژماره 640، یهکشهممه 27/6/2010، لاپهڕه 11
بهیانیانێکی زوو چاوم به واشنتۆنپۆستدا ئهخشاندو له پڕ وێنهیهک سهرنجی راکێشام. لهوێنهکهدا، دوو ئافرهت توندکیژۆڵهیهکیان گرتبوو له سهر پشت نوساندبوویان به ئهرزهوه. له خوارهوهش پشتی سهری ئافرهتێکی سهرپۆشبهسهر دیاربوو، کهخهریکی شتێک بوو
see the original post in Hawlati