Boondoggle

One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Female genital mutilation — just a “small problem”

This bit of yesterday’s Washington Post article about female circumcision in Kurdistan captures the sexist domestic attitudes that make ridding this horrific practice so difficult.

Zangana has been lobbying for a law in Kurdistan, a semiautonomous region with its own government, that would impose jail terms of up to 10 years on those who carry out or facilitate female circumcision. But the legislation has been stalled in parliament for nearly a year, because of what women’s advocates believe is reluctance by senior Kurdish leaders to draw international public attention to the little-noticed tradition.

The Kurdish region’s minister of human rights, Yousif Mohammad Aziz, said he didn’t think the issue required action by parliament. “Not every small problem in the community has to have a law dealing with it,” he said.

Describing the damage done to girls by this practice as a “small problem” is bad enough, but the truly heinous aspect of the minister’s comments is his firm situation of the issue within “the community.”  By shoving the problem out of the political, and into the communal — read: the familial, a.k.a. the patriarchical — Aziz is both damning the prospects of achieving such legislation and striking a powerful and timeworn blow against feminism.  Issues like female circumcision very much belong in parliament, and shunting them out, will naturally only prolong the abuses toward Kurdish women and girls.

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December 30, 2008 - Posted by | Feminism, Foreign politics, Iraq | , ,

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