Your Dispatches: March 2012 Archives

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Journalist against genital mutilation in hiding

John Phillips of Victoria, B.C. heard Rick's March 22 interview with Mae Azango, a Liberian journalist in hiding, after receiving death threats for exposing a secret cult that practices a brutal form of female genital mutilation:


There is more to genital mutilation than your program suggested.  The reality is that those who have had it done to them insist it be done to their children.  The women in Africa do it to their daughters and in Canada and the US men who have been circumcised usually insist their sons are done as well.  I think there is a cognitive dissonance wherein people who have been genitally mutilated want to believe it was the best thing for them.  They follow through with having their children done.

It is ironic that your listeners and most people in North America are somewhat outraged by the thought that little girls are genitally mutilated and yet at the same time they are quite accepting of the fact that we allow our little boys to be genitally mutilated.  There is no difference!  In Africa and here we become acclimatized to our cruelties.  Do you not think mothers and fathers in Africa and in North America love their children and do for them what they think is best?

Female and male genital mutilation is the same sickness in spite of all the fabricated reasonings as to why proponents here and there try to justify it.

Here is a brief comparison of FGM and MGM:

-They are both done without the consent of the individual.
-They both interfere with the normal functioning of the genitals.
-They both interfere with sexual pleasure.
-They are both humiliating to the person who has been mutilated.
-They are both justified by "custom/religion/spirituality.
-They both interfere with reproduction.
-They are both unnecessary.

The question really is; Who is the mutilation done for?  The child or the adult?
Are there any idiots out there who think they can improve upon our genitalia?  Unfortunately there are.  And tragically we allow it!

Enough said.  I've made my point.  Don't point your finger at their customs without questioning our own!  Genital mutilation sadly will continue.

Thanks Rick.  Your dispatches give me fuel for thought.


Rev. William Ball of Ottawa writes:

Rick and team, I would have been interested to hear why the communities value "not running around".  Why is that important?  What good are they seeking with this and what other ways is this promoted or enforced?

Secondly, what does this story say about tribal women and traditional sources of power?  Is woman's power limited to things like this?  How does this clash with the encounter with other values from "modernity" and outside influences?

Thank you for the story,

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Mexico an unsafe vacation destination?

Judith Benson of Salmon Arm, B.C.  heard the March 8 piece on drug violence in Mexico, and writes about a new security response that she's seen.

For the past four years my husband and I have spent some February time on Mexico's Pacific coast beaches between Puerta Vallerta and Mazatlan. We have returned to the same areas, knowing they are still safe from drug cartels.

As retired seniors living in the Shuswap, our February breaks have become times for relaxation, reunion with friends and family and coveted warmth. We have already made reservations at our favourite places for 2013.

We did notice a few changes this year. Upon our arrival to the town where we stay, a truck loaded with men dressed and hooded in black and carrying weapons were perusing the main highway.

In the next town over, on the main street where we shop for groceries, a truck was parked with men dressed in fatigues and carrying weapons. Their stance was more casual than those of the men dressed in black. No regular residents of these towns knew why either truck had made a presence.

No one stopped us or looked at us with suspicion. Although their presence was a surprise, we prefer to consider them as guardians of the tourist industry, not as threats.


Dawn Wallace of Sidney, BC responded:

I was just listening to Rick M-R's reading of the response of listener Judith Benson of Salmon Arm, BC to the previous week's story of Mexican security issues.  She said that in February she was on the Pacific Coast between Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan and that she saw security forces stopping traffic on the highway at the entrance to two towns -- but that she preferred to regard the presence of these forces as "protection" for tourists!

I had to shake my head -- we were in those towns (Guayabitos and La Penita) in February and saw these State Police forces stopping traffic and searching cars as well -- the first set were 3 trucks with about 6 officers each, all with masks/face shields and AK47-looking weapons. 

The word on the street was that the week before, there were 2 local police officers killed and a local merchant kidnapped for ransom, which was apparently why they were searching Mexican cars. 

We've been staying for long periods in that area for almost 20 years, and always felt safe there, but not this year, not any more ... several robberies and muggings, lots of ATM fraud -- and the final straw was that when a friend had a stroke and an ambulance was requested, our hotel owner advised to hire a reliable taxi driver instead -- apparently, the ambulance services are run by the mafia and extort money.

We will never read about these stories in the regular media because the cartels kill the journalists who report them.  We feel badly for the Mexican people, but we cannot put ourselves at risk now that the tenticles of the cartels have reached into almost all areas of Mexico.