Female Genital Mutilation (Desert Flower)

English is so called « international language », right ? Ok so let’s write this articl in english. Sorry beforehand for all the mistakes I will write, I am not native speaker ;). I would like to write about a serious subject.


The Movie

Few days ago, I finally watched a movie I planned long ago to see : « Desert Flower » (2009). I heard about it and just forgot, and once confused it with « Venus Noire ». Not at all the same film. Flower Desert is from a true story, the life of Waris Dirie, who has been one of the most famous black supermodel, and who is now retired. The story of a woman, from Somalian Desert to international podia.

But more than a biography, the movie aim to enlight one of the horrible things happening to women on this Earth  : Female Genital Mutilation, also called as an euphemism female circumcision, or in french, « excision« . Waris Dirie has been one of the victims, mutilated before 15 years old.

Warris Dirie.

That goes without saying, I have been so touched about this film. Especially because I am a woman too.


FGM, what is it ?

I knew about this phenomenon, but I did not imagine it was as hard, and as wide spread. I thought it was already disappeared practice or rare. Or like male circumcision, which seems lightly mutilating compared to what I learn about female circumcision. All that we think when we do not want to hear about pain and horror.


According to World Health Organization, 100 to 140 million of women living are genitally mutilated. 2 million of little girls will suffer of this practice in a year. 6000 girls EACH DAYS  ! Here are the different kind of Female Genital Mutilation.

Thanks Wikipedia for the picture.

Pretty hard, hu. Harder when you know that this mutilation will be done without anesthesia, under terrible hygienic conditions. When you know that lots of girls do not survive. When you know that the woman will physically  and psychologically suffer of that all her life. When you know that the new happy bride will take a knife and « open » his wife before intercourse.


Where ?

I found a map only for Africa.

I thought this practice exists only in Africa, but. Female Genital Mutilations are done in Africa, in Middle East, in South Asia and in the migrants populations in Europe, Australia and America. Yes, it is a world concern.


Why ?

I read an articl, inviting the reader not to judge quickly this practice. Each culture has its amount of horrors. Does not mean we should let it happen. So what are the called reasons to justify this practice ? A woman who has not gone under this intervention is considerated as « dirty ». She won’t be able to marry a man, a woman life’s aim in lots of countries.

Moreover, this practice exists from millenniums. Religious justifications are given, but nowhere in the Coran, nor  in the Bible, female circumcision is evoked. FGM is rather a social habit, and in reality,  weaken pleasure and helps male domination. China abandoned mutilations of women’s feet, let’s abandon sex mutilations.


What is it possible to do ?

Organizations are on it : Amnesty International, UN with Waris Dirie who has been in charge of questions of sexual mutilations, Desert Flower Fondation (see also the blog), UNICEF, WHO… Actions against FGM are to let girls going to school and educate them about this phenomenon ; let women, practicing the interventions, finding an other job ; make the governments voting laws and apply them ; etc. For the religious chiefs, the action is to claim that this practice is not  supported  by the Coran neither by the Bible.

For mutilated women, the actions will be to go in Court. For us, what we can do is to speak about it with friends and family, so that everyone knows and that the world won’t be able to say « I did not know ». Even if this phenomenon is already wildy known. We can donate money, to helps Organizations which fight against that. We can buy fair trade products, so that women get jobs and have a voice to say « no ». We can sign petitions, such as this one, which is sadly already ended.

We can think that no matter what we do, horrors like that will exist forever. But think about horrors which do not exist anymore, and who are the people who made that ends. Not those who thought that nothing is possible.



Coming back to the movie, I have found it very beautiful. It is adapted from the book of the same name, biography written by Waris Dirie. The movie director, Sherry Horman, succeeded in creating a light atmosphere in a movie speaking about a serious subject. Liya Kebede, who plays the role of Waris Dirie, has a great acting. A commentator on one of the cinema sites, I don’t remember where, said it was « monsterly magnificient ». Yeah, it is something like that. I am not good at speaking about movies I have liked, so let’s just move with the trailer.

Waris Dirie hopes this movie will make people stand against that, with the will to do something and make that stops. I hope too.


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