Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not So Funny Now, Is It?

Remember the “anonymous e-mail” attacking TNDP wannabe-chair Chip Forrester for attending a meeting about female circumcision back in 1999? This was discussed ad nauseum on Nashville political blogs in early December. The e-mail sent to Tennessee Democrats asked:
"Debating 'female circumcision'? Really?" The header asks: "Is this the guy we want as party chair?"

to which Pith In The Wind blogger Jeff Woods asked:

Still wondering why the Democrats lost the legislature?

As if having an interest in a human rights issue like female circumcision somehow precludes one from running the TNDP?

When the story broke a conservative even commented at Pith:

If this is the best Forrester can do, we Republicans should pray he become Democrat Party chair. Let's hold "salon" sessions to discuss the latest topic from Oprah while real Tennesseans are fighting to pay their mortgages. I'm sure there was plenty of arugula and white wine spritzers on those potluck tables.

Ha ha that’s so funny coming from the party peddling in racism these days.

Anyhoo, those scoffers might be interested in reading this WaPo article about widespread female circumcision in Kurdish Iraq:

Sheelan Anwar Omer, a shy 7-year-old Kurdish girl, bounded into her neighbor's house with an ear-to-ear smile, looking for the party her mother had promised.

There was no celebration. Instead, a local woman quickly locked a rusty red door behind Sheelan, who looked bewildered when her mother ordered the girl to remove her underpants. Sheelan began to whimper, then tremble, while the women pushed apart her legs and a midwife raised a stainless-steel razor blade in the air. "I do this in the name of Allah!" she intoned.

As the midwife sliced off part of Sheelan's genitals, the girl let out a high-pitched wail heard throughout the neighborhood. As she carried the sobbing child back home, Sheelan's mother smiled with pride.

"This is the practice of the Kurdish people for as long as anyone can remember," said the mother, Aisha Hameed, 30, a housewife in this ethnically mixed town about 100 miles north of Baghdad. "We don't know why we do it, but we will never stop because Islam and our elders require it."

Ow. While reading that I reflexively crossed my legs.

Now keep in mind that Nashville has the largest population of immigrant Kurds in the United States, estimated at some 12,000.

I don’t know if female circumcision is practiced by Kurds in America but it’s reasonable to expect that it is at least an issue, especially for new immigrants, and one which should be discussed by legislators and political folks in their new home. It's kinda ironic that Tennessee Republicans would find this an issue of controversy, I guess because it concerns women's naughty parts and all. I'm glad that at least one political party here is interested in learning about issues affecting immigrant women in our city. Figures it's not the GOP.

(h/t, Atrios.)