Feb 6, 2009

Kevin Myers - now available in racist and sexist!

Kevin Myers is out again in fine form adding sexism to his standard racism. Why is this guy still getting published? It's amazing that once again this piece was approved by the Sindo editors. Aren't there laws against this kinda thing? This piece is almost a year old but the fate of Pamela Izevbekhai's daughters still hangs in the balance.

Myers begins by comparing male circumcision and female genital mutilation

I will give you the background to this column in the presumption that you do not know it, and the reason you don't is that the victim at its centre did not possess a vulva.

Instead, he owned a penis, and so neither our media, nor our political classes, took any interest in his fate. Had he been a girl, you know that the mob of the usual suspects -- Amnesty International, the Council for the Status of Women, the Equality Commission, Aunt Thomasina and all -- would have been trumpeting condemnations of the affair.

Is Myers making the point that "the mob of the usual suspects" are wrong in seeking justice for victims of torture? Sounds like a classic "what about the menz" argument. Taking a single example of a horrific crime and comparing it to a systematic abuse of millions of women is abhorrent. Myers is forgetting perhaps, that one in three women is a victim of gender based violence, that rapists in this country are given light sentences and that in the case of rape the female survivor's character is assassinated.

Two-and-half-years ago, a Nigerian idiot named Osagie Igbinidion was found not guilty of the reckless endangerment of life, after a little boy he circumcised, 29-day-old Callis Osajhae, bled to death. The trial judge, Kevin Haugh, told the jury not to bring their "white, western values" to bear upon their deliberations. Describing the case as a clash between two cultures, he added: "This is a relatively recent matter that Ireland will have to deal with now that we have a significant migrant population. You are not asked whether this form of procedure is acceptable in Ireland. If you start thinking on those lines, you are doing Mr Igbinidion a great injustice."

Just one commentator in the media remarked upon this extraordinary case, in which a man walked free from a court having sexually mutilated and mortally wounded a little boy. Me. I wrote: " . . . had the dead child been female, I believe that no jury would have been told not to bring their white, western values to bear on the case -- or if they had been, we may equally be sure that the judge would not be dangling from the nearest lamp-post . . ."

I do not know what that fine fellow Osagie Igbinidion is doing today.

He has not, to my knowledge, and considerable regret, been deported -- nor has he been issued with a court order compelling him to desist from his merry trade (he is a fourth generation circumciser; ah the joys of multiculturalism). So it is as legal to chop little boys' penises off today as it was then, and if they die as a consequence, the judicial advice rings down the years, not to bring our "white western values" into the case.

But when the infant in question is a girl, then those white, western values are suddenly all we care about; hence the uproar over Pamela Izevbekhai and her two daughters. She is challenging a deportation order to Nigeria, for fear that the girls might be circumcised upon their return, and alleges that another daughter, Elizabeth, aged 18 months, died in 1994 from blood loss after being circumcised.

What happened to Callis Osajhae is tragic. That baby is an innocent victim. Osagie Igbinidion should obviously be in prison since he killed a child. Why is Myers not blaming the judge? Why is Myers not campaigning for justice for Callis? Why is Myers making a horrific comparison between a tragic fuckup and the systematic mutilation of female babies? Why has Myers not pointing out that male circumcision is part of western culture too and that the "it's Nigerian culture" excuse doesn't fly? Why doesn't Myers get his head out of his arse?

It is vital to make the distinction. Male circumcision is the removal of the foreskin that is normally not life threatening and circumcised men enjoy a fully functional sex life post operation. Many Irish male babies are circumcised. It does not impede normal bodily functions or cause lifelong pain.

Female genital mutilation is an attempt to cut a girl so severely that she can never enjoy sex. It is designed to enforce chastity. It is traumatic, painful and defined as torture. There are four types of mutilation

  • Type I is the excision of the clitoral hood with or without removal of all or part of the clitoris.
  • Type II is the excision of the clitoris together with part or all of the labia minora
  • Type III is the excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening, leaving a very small opening, about the size of a matchstick, to allow for the flow of urine and menstrual blood. The girl or woman’s legs are generally bound together from the hip to the ankle so she remains immobile for approximately 40 days to allow for the formation of scar tissue.
  • Type IV includes the introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina.

All this is done without anesthesia. It is a violation of human rights and is done without consent.

Well, allegedly; a court hearing earlier this year was told that the attending doctor had diagnosed the death "as being possibly the result of the traditional female circumcision" which had been performed on the girl. Possibly, eh? And that girl was 18 months old, 14 years ago. But her two surviving daughters had not been circumcised by the time they left Nigeria in 2005, when they were aged approximately two and four years of age, respectively.

Girls are systematically cut between the ages of 4 and 8 but it can happen at any time from infancy to puberty. Calling it circumcision is disingenuous. It is not circumcision as our "white, western values" define it. For more information watch this but it does contain disturbing images.

Female circumcision is very common in Nigeria, but it is not mandatory, and is usually done at the mother's instigation -- which is unlikely to be the case here. Either way, our "white, western values" are properly affronted and appalled by the very notion of removing a girl's vulva; so these may be invoked to protect a girl from genital mutilation. They cannot, however, be invoked to protect a boy either from genital mutilation, or from the death which results when the bugling Nigerian cretin with the knife accidentally kills him.

Done at the mother's instigation? Pamela Izevbekhai is trying to prevent it from happening to her daughters, Naomi and Jemima. She has already lost one daughter to this practice.

There are many ancillary questions to this little affair. How did Pamela Izevbekhai manage to get from Nigeria to Ireland? En route, how many countries did she pass through where they don't have female circumcision? Why did she choose here as a refuge from the barbaric circumcisers of Nigeria, and not somewhere closer to home?


As for my own opinions on the matter, well, on the one hand the family has settled in Sligo, so a large part of me thinks they should be allowed to stay. But what if we are being duped? What if a baseless threat of circumcision is being falsely used to enable the Izevbekhais to stay?

And even if it's not, are we to be the refuge for every single Nigerian or Somalia or Chadean or Kuwaiti woman who wants to avoid genital mutilation? So all they have to do is get here, allege that if they go home they'll be circumcised, and then we must give them asylum: is that it? And if we don't, are we then to get the self-appointed cranks from Residents Against Racism accusing us of being racist, and then RAR will be rewarded with their usual quota of headlines?

Is Myers trying to float the idea that torturing girls is a baseless threat? That we should not be doing everything we can for people who are under threat of mutilation? That is truly disgusting.

As someone who has repeatedly suffered from gender based violence I say fuck you Myers.

Meanwhile, the asylum-seekers' little sons can still lawfully be genitally mutilated, right here in Ireland-of-the-Sisters, and maybe even die, because apparently that's part of Nigerian culture. And naturally, not one of our feminist-dominated quangos will utter a word of condemnation.

Marvellous, bloody marvellous.

Myers compares a judge's decision to a feminist takeover perhaps because it's the only way for him to stand up for the son of one asylum seeker and condemn the daughters of another. Truly classless Myers.


Mark Lyndon said...

Why do you see a fundamental difference between cutting off a girl's prepuce (Type I circumcision), and cutting off a boy's prepuce? Why do you call one "mutilation" and not "circumcision"? Why is one illegal, but not the other? Yes, some forms of genital cutting are worse than others, but how can we stop some while tolerating others?

Are you aware of how non-religious circumcision first became popular? Do you know about the history of female circumcision in the USA? If you do, it's hard to see much of a distinction between taking a knife to a girl's genitals or to a boy's.

No child deserves to have part of their genitals cut off.

Mór Rígan said...

I absolutely agree that no child should have any part of their genitals cut off. No person should have to live with a violation of their bodily integrity.

Having said that the consequences for boys and girls are very different. Boys do not generally have recurrent pain for their entire life nor are they in immediate danger of death.

It is true that some comparisons may be made between type I and male circumcision but the majority of girls and women are cut in the manner of II and III. Those are not comparable.

Thank you for your comment.

matttbastard said...

Has anyone designed a bingo card re: posts mentioning FGM and the inevitability that some bloke will show up to complain about the short shrift given to the holocaust in miniature that is male circumcision? Because, like, Mark Lyndon's comment (FIRST!) is definitely a winner.

Mark Lyndon said...

Mór: Last year, 19 boys died in just one province of South Africa due to circumcision. How much worse can it get? If you're talking about female circumcisions performed by surgeons in hospitals (a sizable proportion of the total), then not many girls die there either.

Even in a western clinical setting, some boys do die or suffer amputation and gender reassignment due to circumcision. It's rare, but why should it be allowed to happen at all? The record payout for a botched job is $22 million at a hospital in Atlanta. The victim would now be 28, and it was said at the time that he "will never be able to function sexually as a normal male and will require extensive reconstructive surgery and psychological counseling as well as lifelong urological care and treatment by infectious disease specialists."

Mattt: Your bingo card would have to include a square for someone complaining about any comparison between cutting parts off a girl's genitals and cutting parts off a boy's.

If you debate with bloggers in places like Malaysia and Egypt about female circumcision, they will always point out the similarity with male circumcision as a justification for doing it, and generally accuse you of cultural relativism. They'll tell you how harmless it is, how it makes them cleaner, and how their sex lives are somehow actually better as a result.

If you're serious about ending FGM/FGC/FC, call it what you will, you also have to be against male circumcision (aka MGM/MGC).

Mór Rígan said...

Yeah mattt. Good point

Mór Rígan said...

Mark, you miss the point. I'm assuming you are not a troll or MRA - might be a mistake but you get the benefit of doubt anyway.

The case I am concerned with, is the deportation on two girls from Ireland to Nigeria where they will be cut.

It's interesting though that you choose such a post to wax lyrical on "what about the menz".

I did not write this post to discuss FGM/C versus male circumcision. Nor did I write it to "educate" people on the issue. I wrote it to call out an old racist Irish hack.

If you want to educate yourself on the differences between FGM/C and male circumcision, please look elsewhere.

Mark Lyndon said...

I wouldn't describe myself as a men's rights activist, and I really don't see how you think I might be a troll.

I would describe myself as an intactivist, and I'd be surprised if I didn't already know a lot more than you about the various forms of genital cutting that are practised on both males and females. If you go to the first link you quoted, you'll find several comments I made in response.

If you're interested in some links pointing out the similarities between what you call "FGM/C" and "male circumcision", you could try these:

I am well aware that some forms of female genital cutting are far worse than the usual form of male circumcision, but I believe it is wrong to draw a fundamental distinction between them, and that the fastest way to end the severe forms of FGM will be to try to end all forms of genital cutting on children of either sex. I am also a member of Forward for what it's worth, and I also engage in debate with the bloggers that talk about having their daughters circumcised (their term).

belledame222 said...
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