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You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry


A heartwarming seasonal story from the land of Dickens. The ghost of Christmas yet to cut:

Hundreds of British schoolgirls are facing the terrifying prospect of female genital mutilation (FGM) over the Christmas holidays as experts warn the practice continues to flourish across the country. Parents typically take their daughters back to their country of origin for FGM during school holidays, but The Independent on Sunday has been told that “cutters” are being flown to the UK to carry out the mutilation at “parties” involving up to 20 girls to save money.

A few years back, I found myself at dinner next to a lady who told me she was the “FGM coordinator” at an Australian hospital. Strange how quickly a barbarism from the fringes of the map (Sudan, Somalia) becomes a routine bureaucratic acronym in the heart of the west.

[UPDATE: A skeptical reader writes:

Really? She called herself a female genital mutilation coordinator?  Not a female circumcision coordinator, say, or perhaps a female genital alteration coordinator?  A casually self-described coordinator of mutilation? Really? You sure? Really?

Yes, weally, weally, weally!!!!!!!! No need to hit the italics key. If you clicked through to the story linked above, you wouldn't sound like such a twit, because right at the end a British Home Official says:

We have appointed an FGM co-ordinator . . .

That's the point. In the U.K., in Oz, in Europe, the "FGM co-ordinator" has become an accepted bureaucratic shorthand. It's not a female circumcisionist but a desk-jockey who deals with the "issues" it raises, sets up counseling programs, publishes health information leaflets . . . but would never dream of doing anything so culturally insensitive as trying to stamp it out. Whatever the good they do, the "FGM co-ordinator" represents the institutionalization and in a sense acceptance of the practice in the heart of the civilized world. Sorry you have a hard time understanding that.]


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