Performing the Eradication of Infibulation. Mana Abdurahman Isse at Merka, Somalia

The experiments with the Sunna Gudnin Project, as well as later forms of attenuation of female circumcision, such as the Gudnin Usub (New Rite) promoted by Mana Sultan Abdurahman and her collaborators, have met a good success in Ayuub and other villages in the area of Merka. The DVD shows that, in order to succeed in attenuating, or even eradicating FGM, it is extremely important that the intervention is performed according to the socio-cultural norms of the population involved. The intervention towards the eradication of infibulation and other types of FGM must be entrenched within the culture of the people practising it. Moreover, the different strategies such as alternative rites, attenuation initiatives, and religious as well as health arguments must be devised from within the communities involved. But the experience of the video tape presented from 1999 to 2001 has shown that diaspora communities are even more difficult to deal with, since they in general tend to cling together and reproduce even tradition which in their homelands may be fading away. In the case of stratified, caste-like, xenophobic societies such as the Somalis, the messenger is as important as, if not more than, the message: thus it has to enjoy a prestigious social standing to be influential and to promote that virtuous memeplex, that is “a cluster of related and interconnecting cultural units that are transmitted by imitation (memes), as well as language” (Young 2006:1), which may lead to the prevention and utter eradication of FGM.