Many years ago it was common to feel sympathy for citizens living behind the Iron Curtain, because their press was severely controlled. Even though their main newspaper Izvestia was called “the deliverer of messages”, derived from the verb izveshchat “to inform”and “to notify” it left many messages undelivered and failed to notify the population about many matters. For example, they were rather late to admit the Americans had landed on the moon, and late and dismissive about the meltdown of one of their reactors at Chernobyl, though that eventually changed when the reactor kept burning and the nearby company town had to be evacuated.
So, I hope you will feel sympathy for those who rely on the BBC for their news, as I often do. Here is a BBC news item today (broadcasts on the topic were being shown last night)
Failure to stop FGM is a ‘national scandal’, say MPs.
I certainly agree with that. Here is the link to the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28127678
Perhaps saying “the full story” is being too generous. The story certainly includes this line: “Practised in 29 countries in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East”. However, it does not say who practices this cultural habit in the UK. If there is a scandal, it is usual to identify what sort of people are perpetrating it. I presume that although the MPs blamed a “misplaced concern for cultural sensitivities” for inaction, the BBC maintained its usual stance of cultural sensitivity for the perpetrators wielding their razor blades.
The Wikipedia entry is better:
FGM is practised as a cultural ritual by ethnic groups in 27 countries in sub-Saharan and Northeast Africa, and to a lesser extent in Asia, the Middle East and within immigrant communities elsewhere. It is typically carried out, with or without anaesthesia, by a traditional circumciser using a knife or razor. The age of the girls varies from weeks after birth to puberty; in half the countries for which figures were available in 2013, most girls were cut before the age of five.
The practice is an ethnic marker, rooted in gender inequality, ideas about purity, modesty and aesthetics, and attempts to control women’s sexuality. It is supported by both women and men in countries that practise it, particularly by the women, who see it as a source of honour and authority, and an essential part of raising a daughter well.
So, Wikipedia actually says “and within immigrant communities elsewhere”.
I presume, but cannot confirm, that the UK figures are related to the cultural/genetic origins of the people, as Wikipedia suggests, but if anyone has data about the continuation of this foul practice in European countries, I would be interested to see the findings.
If it is necessary to send it to me in Samizdat form, using the Gestetner Cyclostyle duplicating process which I un-fondly remember using in 1968, then I am willing to meet you on a park bench somewhere in London. As Vladimir Bukovsky summarized it: I myself create it, edit it, censor it, publish it, distribute it, and get imprisoned for it.”
Sounds like blogging, doesn’t it?