‘Handful of Ash’ to Breakdown the Wall of Silence about FGM
The Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos) will provide partial financial support for a new feature length documentary film about female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iraq. The new film ‘Handful of Ash’ will expose the silent epidemic of FGM in Iraq, particularly in Kurdistan.
The co-directors Mr. Nabaz Faraj and Ms. Sama Muhamed, Iraqi filmmakers in Kurdistan, are basing this new film on a short they made on the same subject. The feature film will examine the issue in a wider geographic area and will also follow the stories of mothers contemplating whether to cut their daughters and the activists trying to stop them.
Female genital mutilation or FGM, as practiced in Iraqi Kurdistan, involves removing the clitoris in the belief that it lessens women’s sexual desire and preserves their honor before marriage. This surgery done in a non-clinical setting without anesthesia leads to some victims dying from infections or bleeding. Although many outside Iraq are unaware, FGM is common in Kurdistan, with as high as 80% of Kurdish females in some regions mutilated. There is also some evidence that FGM exists in other parts of Iraq outside Kurdistan as well. This new film explores the physical, psychological, sociological, political trauma of FGM. It is produced by Wadi, a German-Iraqi NGO dedicated to stopping the practice. This new film will put a global spotlight on FGM in Iraq, and the filmmakers want it to spark international and local pressure to outlaw this practice.