This past Thursday morning I awoke to online news headlines screaming about ISIS in Iraq having supposedly issued an edict that all females in Mosul between the ages of 11-46 would have to undergo FGM. I peeked at the LGF Spy and, sure enough, people were talking about it.
I knew the minute I saw the story that it had to be a hoax, not because ISIS lacks the brutality to do something so sickening, but because it’s not a practice that has its roots in Islam, therefore they wouldn’t be able to back it up with anything Islamic no matter how much they cherry-picked & distorted things. Also, it was another one of those absurd stories like the Texas “Islamist Terror Enclave”, the Muslim Brotherhood using puppies as firebombs, Tunisian girls traveling to Syria for “sex jihad”, or Egypt’s “farewell intercourse” law which supposedly sanctioned necrophilia with a recently deceased spouse—it was just too way out there.
Additionally, like Syria, Iraq is basically in the middle of a civil war, so the various factions are going to be putting out all kinds of disinformation to try and scare or sway the citizenry and discredit their opponents with negative media stories.
Nonetheless, since even (usually reliable) mainstream news outlets like the BBC were running with it, I decided to just ignore it and wait for the inevitable debunking rather than wasting time arguing with people who wanted to believe it.
Sure enough, it was debunked before lunch. Naturally, rabidly right-wing blogs & news outlets (not to mention the professional Islamophopbes) were still running with it late into the afternoon, as our own Charles Johnson pointed out a few hours later: Breitbart “News” Pushes Debunked ISIS FGM Story, Commenters Call for Genocide of Muslims. (Note: As of right now, more than two days later, Breitbart still has the the same article up without any update notifying readers that it has been debunked.)
When I saw that Charles had posted the debunking, I decided to go ahead and join in the discussion. Oddly, though sadly not surprisingly, there were still those who wanted to believe the story despite it having been challenged or dismissed by numerous outlets & individuals, not to mention our own Obdicut reminding everyone that FGM is cultural and NOT linked to Islam [nor is it something radical Islamists tend to focus on, and they’re certainly not shy about expressing their opinions]. I’ll leave it to you, good reader, to ponder what might motivate people to insist on believing such a story.
So that’s the backstory for this Page. I’ve been collecting links for years & years on all sorts of topics, not the least of which is the topic of FGM because it comes up so often and is a powerful emotional trigger (more often than not, one that is also typically—and mistakenly—associated as being rooted in Islam). Too many people don’t have a clue about the facts surrounding it.
Just the Facts, Please
I’ve spent the past four hours or so digging through my bookmarks, organizing URLs, and doing a ton of copying & pasting. None of the reports & articles below are opinion pieces or items designed to support a particular political viewpoint or attract clicks and generate revenue for their respective sites—they’re all from respected health & medical publications and/or organizations dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance & protection to at-risk women and children.
LGF members please take note: After all the effort I’ve put into bringing you the following factual, objective information on the practice of FGM, if you bring up some absurd talking point that isn’t true simply because you couldn’t be bothered to click on the links and read the reports for yourself, then I’m probably going to react with extreme snarkiness, m’kay? ;-)
Reports & Articles
- Frequently Asked Questions on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting - UNFPA
- UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating Change
- UNICEF Data: Child Protection >> Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting >> Current Status + Progress
- The State of the World's Children 2014 In Numbers: statistical table on FGM/C (PDF), full report (PDF), previous reports - UNICEF. January 2014
- Female genital mutilation: Fact sheet N°241 - World Health Organization (WHO). Updated February 2014
- Aligning With Local Cultures to End Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (PDF) - UNFPA. 2013
- Joint Evaluation of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Accelerating Change 2008-20012 (PDFs available at link, 2 volumes) - UNFPA-UNICEF. September 2013
- Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse: Female genital mutilation/cutting - UNICEF. Updated 24 July 2013
- Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change (PDF available at link) - UNICEF. July 2013
- Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Annual Report 2012 (PDF available at link) - UNFPA-UNICEF
- An Overview of Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria - Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research, Volume 2(1) via the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Jan-Jun 2012
- The dynamics of social change: Towards the abandonment of FGM/C in five african countries (PDF available at link) - UNICEF, Innocenti Insight. 2010
- Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing female genital mutilation (PDF available at link) - UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO, FIGO, ICN, MWIA, WCPA, WMA. 2010
- Legislative reform to support the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting - UNICEF. August 2010
- Global Consultation on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (PDF available at link) - UNFPA. 2009
- Delinking Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting from Islam (PDF) - USAID. 2008
- Reliability of self reported form of female genital mutilation and WHO classification: cross sectional study - British Medical Journal (BMJ) via the National Center for Biotechnology Information. 16 July 2006
- Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical exploration (PDF available at link) - UNICEF. November 2005
- Female Genital Mutilation - Muslim Women's League. January 1999
UNICEF - Blood on the leaves: Ending FGM/C in Côte d’Ivoire
UNHCR - FGM Too Much Pain: The Voices of Refugee Women (6 parts)
Part 6/6Unfortunately, if you’re in the U.S. you won’t be able to view this last part—I’m not sure why. Here’s the YouTube link to it if you’re somewhere that you can watch it or if you have access to a proxy you can go through. Here’s the web page about it (it seems to be primarily aimed at EU countries).
Loudly advocating for gay equality worldwide at a forum for US and international gay rights activists last month, Vice President Joe Biden stated that support for LGBTQ citizens should be an indicator for how civilized a country is considered to be.
Biden also won high praise at another conference, Netroots Nation this past weekend in Detroit, Michigan. Netroots is the nation’s largest gathering of progressive activists, and makes a special effort to promote diversity and inclusion. Many of the attendees this weekend were especially fond of Biden’s contributions to LGBTQ advancement.
“Those of us who hold marriage equality near and dear to our hearts and our homes, we know that Joe Biden spoke first,” said Arshad Hasan, a NetRoots Nation board member, in his introduction of Mr. Biden on Thursday. “I give Joe Biden credit for changing the dialogue in the White House.”
Most Americans born in this country have a birth certificate issued from a hospital. But, for a lot of Navajos born in remote areas of the Navajo Nation before the 1970’s, it was common to be born at home. So, getting a birth certificate later - otherwise known as a “delayed birth certificate” - can be very difficult. That’s especially true in Arizona because of its strict regulations.
Recently, she helped an elderly Navajo gentleman, Bennie Bedane, who drove over an hour and a half to get to her office. For Bedane to even have a chance of getting his birth certificate, he needs to prove that he was born in Arizona.
He says he was, in 1934, at home, far from any hospital. “From where I lived, it’s about 60 miles,” Bedane says. “Dirt roads, no paved. But mostly wagons. It takes days.”
Bedane has his Navajo Census record, but that’s just one document. Matilda Perdue says he needs many more. “He would need to provide 4, 5, maybe 6 documents with the same name, the same date of birth, the same mother’s name, and the same father’s name all across these documents,” she says.
And this is where confusion comes in because first and last names were sometimes changed later. That’s what happened to Bedane when he joined the army during the Korean War. “I went to change my name,” he says. “But the Census Office don’t have that record. That’s not right.”
With out the right documents, these people will be denied the benefits they have earned by working all their lives. And denied the right to vote. Takes a lot of nerve to question the American-ness of a Navajo.
Read the rest here: Navajos Born at Home Find It Hard to Get Delayed Birth Certificates. You can also listen to the story at the link.
VASSAR, MI — More than 50 people from across Michigan turned out to protest the possibility that a Vassar facility could house Central American children and teens who have fled into the country.
The group, led by Michiganders for Immigration Control and Enforcement organizer Tamyra Murray, marched a little more than a mile, from Vassar City Hall to Wolverine Human Services’ Pioneer Work and Learn Center.
Some carried AR-15 rifles and handguns, while others carried Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, American flags and Rochester resident Jeff McQueen’s “second American revolution” flags, designed from Betsy Ross’ flag with a Roman Numeral II in the middle.
“We’re not against kids,” Murray said, speaking to media before the march started. “We have sympathy for the kids being used and exploited by the feds.”
“Not in my backyard,” he said. “These kids are here illegally. Obama has ignored us.
Fike said President Barack Obama should take a leadership role in solving the problem, and that other college leaders should help as well.
“The lives of thousands of children and young people are at risk,” he said. “We cannot be silent. I urge my colleagues at the helms of colleges around this nation to join me in calling on President Obama to show moral leadership on this issue and, if possible, to join Marygrove in
pledging housing, food, security and education if the President would act with a moral compass.”
Charles Pierce of Esquire’s Political Blog was correct. Conservatives really are the mole people.
From Mother Jones:
A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics.
An interesting article on a study you haven’t heard of. What it revealed about our culture and our perceptions of it.
It started in an obesity clinic. At least half the people were dropping out and the doctor in charge of it was astounded when he discovered, by mistake, what the cause was.
It lead eventually to a wide ranging study that discovered that cause was responsible for a lot more than just dropping out of obesity clinics.
It’s a fascinating and disturbing read. I could see much of myself in the data presented.
Lest the doe-eyes and vintage flair fool anyone, Zooey Deschanel has reminded us of one thing she is decidedly non-retro about.
In the August issue of InStyle, Deschanel tells writer Mike Albo that she’s sick of the sexist double standard implicit in the “do you want kids” question:
‘Like every woman is dying to give birth! I don’t think so. Nobody asks guys that,’ she says, gaining steam. ‘And you go into a supermarket and every tabloid is like, ‘Pregnant and Alone!’ Stuck in the 1950s ideal of how a woman should live her life. This brings out the fiery feminist in me,’ she pronounces.
Deschanel’s words ring true in a culture that tends to view childfree women of a certain age as sad victims of circumstance rather than individuals making a valid choice. But the 34-year-old “New Girl” star is in pretty good company: Cameron Diaz explained her childfree status to Esquire earlier this month, saying “I’m just what I am. I work on what I am. Right now, I think, things are good for me. I’ve done a lot.”