Suffer the Children, Embrace the Moms: Female Genital Mutilation
Maybe the way to make female genital mutilation matter to the West is to take it out of the African (i.e. savage) context. Did you know that Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims? That 96% of girls there are circumcised, many not even a year old?
There's a slide show at the NY Times link (from which the below is excerpted). Check out the slide number 4, a nine month old whose eyes are saucered, after the 'procedure,' with horror I'd say.
Inside a Female-Circumcision Ceremony. When a girl is taken — usually by her mother — to a free circumcision event held each spring in Bandung, Indonesia, she is handed over to a small group of women who, swiftly and yet with apparent affection, cut off a small piece of her genitals. Sponsored by the Assalaam Foundation, an Islamic educational and social-services organization, circumcisions take place in a prayer center or an emptied-out elementary-school classroom where desks are pushed together and covered with sheets and a pillow to serve as makeshift beds. The procedure takes several minutes. There is little blood involved. Afterward, the girl's genital area is swabbed with the antiseptic Betadine. She is then helped back into her underwear and returned to a waiting area, where she's given a small, celebratory gift — some fruit or a donated piece of clothing — and offered a cup of milk for refreshment. She has now joined a quiet majority in Indonesia, where, according to a 2003 study by the Population Council, an international research group, 96 percent of families surveyed reported that their daughters had undergone some form of circumcision by the time they reached 14.