ABIDJAN, Nov 29 (IPS) - Thirty practitioners of female circumcision in the Ivorian financial capital, Abidjan, have publicly laid aside their blades, knives and scissors. This is the result of an ongoing campaign in the West African country to eradicate the practice, estimated by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to affect 40 percent of women living there.When I first heard of the widespread barbarity of female genital mutilation about ten years ago, I was outraged, both about the practice of this barbarity and about the fact that most of the people in the "civilized West" didn't know about it and/or didn't care.
The campaign, underway for a decade now, is led by the National Organisation for the Child, the Woman and the Family (Organisation nationale pour l'enfant, la femme et la famille, ONEF), a non-governmental group.
The decision by the 30 to renounce their trade during a ceremony in Abidjan earlier this month marked the first instance in which ONEF had managed to convince some of the 75 identified circumcisors working in Abidjan to quit the profession. They had been circumcising girls and women despite the fact that circumcision was banned by a 1998 law . . .
Let us celebrate this tiny milestone on the long path to eradicating all aspects of paternalism, which is perhaps the most evil and destructive manifestation of imperialism.