Posted in Uncategorized

“Report Finds Gradual Fall in Female Genital Cutting in Africa” NYT 22/07/2013

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

Sometime ago, following advocacy visits to some parts of Nigeria and to Sierra Leone, I wrote this poem  to describe and condemn the practice of FGC.  I later discovered with great joy that the practice of FGC was being abandoned in a growing number of societies/communities and so I wrote this poem to celebrate that positive development. The hope was that such a positive development would spread to more societies and that such HTP would eventually die and become history.

Just last week, I came across this article in the New York Times.

Progress is being made in the eradication of FGC but the practice still continues, largely because of norms and social pressures.  The excerpt below from the NYT article explains why

“The most common reason women give for continuing genital cutting is to gain social acceptance. United Nations researchers for the first time cross-tabulated data on women’s views and learned that many mothers opposed to the practice reported having had their daughters cut”.

“This shows the gap between attitudes and behavior,” Mrs. Cappa said. “What you think as an individual is not enough to put an end to the practice because of social pressures and obligations.”

My view is that the world can end this practice when mothers, aunties, fathers, uncles and husbands and all of us join hands and forces to resist such social pressures. It is also important that we all come together to provide a network of security and support to all those who resist such pressures. Lend your voice today to stop this practice. Men and women, uncles, aunties, fathers, mothers, husbands and wives, yes, all of us stand to gain from an abandonment of FGC given the limitless health, emotional and relational externalities that would flow from such a humane and human rights based decision and choice,

Posted in Poetry

The first cut – a song against FGM/FGC

 

by Noel Ihebuzor 

I wait eyes half closed stilling myself,

seeing all around dimly,

heart pounding and racing,

sweating, shivering.

 

Then the blade flashes fast,

tears down, biting

deep into loose flesh, full lips

my body all tense,  

uncontrollable shivers and tremors,

another slash, the lips are gone,

 

a spurt, a splash

then the gush of running wet red spreads slowly,

and swells and swells, emptying me,

stunting me, marking and hurting.

 

The pain in my head stings, stuns and swells,

throbs banging,

pain plays discordant persistent jarring strokes,

hammering pounding,

my flesh now raw, red and ragged.

 

My sobs of pain and bewilderment

are drowned in the jubilant ululation of aunties

while mother looks on,

sharing my pain, not speaking,

lips trembling as I tremble, lips sealed,

recalling her own past and initiation,

an unwilling accomplice to a stubborn slow to die practice

that slashes, gores, gashes and stunts portions of life of the living

in keeping with the hollow voice of an outmoded moribund tradition.