Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ministry of Health: FAIL.

I've been off blog-duty for a little longer than expected. First it was weddings and funerals, then work became crazy, then I caught the flu.... but I'm back again thanks to Mimi who had my blood boiling this morning with her latest post on her sister's baby who was circumcized yesterday... at home. A little girl. A beautiful innocent little girl.

This topic has been discussed a lot in the Omani blogosphere, mostly by female bloggers here, here, and by former fellow blogger Reality in Oman who should re-open her site and start blogging again (hint!), but it isn't getting nearly enough attention. Muscat Daily & The Week have also made an effort to bring it out into the open, but that's about it.

Call it what you want ... female genital mutilation/female genital cutting/female circumcision..... It's a violation of human rights. It's shameful. It's ignorant. It is a CRIME. And yes, it is still widely practiced in Dhofar. BRUTAL genital mutilation. Whoever tells you otherwise is lying. They'll tell you 'it's only a small cut' to 'clean' the area. Who are you kidding?!

What disgusts me even more is that is it performed by women for women. Many men seem to think the practice no longer exists. The old woman in the hospital who charges 5, 10 , 15 OMR to chop up your baby's genitals has been there for years and the hospital KNOW about her. But are they doing anything about it? NO.

You know why everyone still does it? Because they don't know any better. No one talks about it, and the Ministry of Health isnt' doing ANYTHING to spread awareness. Most women think they're doing a good deed,... they really believe it's Islamic and that it 'purifies' the child. Whose responsiblity is it to educate them? Oman's Ministry of Health.

The ministry's 'Five-Year Health Plan: 2006-2010' announced that one of the ministry's strategies to promote women and children's health was to study the prevalence of FGM in Oman and design programs for community awareness. Did anything happen? As far as Dhofar is concerned, NO, even though the situation here is much worse than other parts of Oman. You can read the glorious five-year plan here. Scroll down to pages 8 & 9. A load of BS. The 2011-2015 plan isn't on their website yet, so goodness' knows whether genital mutilation is part of the current agenda or not.

Dear Ministry of Health. PLEASE pay attention:

1. Put up posters in all the maternity wards in this country explaning the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM)

2. Spread awareness through the Women's Associations in Oman

3. Get a doctor or a nurse to speak to every single woman who gives birth to a baby girl right there in the hospital.

4. Find the evil old ladies who hang around the maternity wards.

5. Spread awareness in school & universities.

For heaven's sake .. DO SOMETHING.

Yours Truly,

Nadia (Dhofar Feminist Movement)


  1. Dear Dhofari Gucci,
    I'm really fed up of you writing about this topic.
    Do you really care?
    Then write your post in Arabic. You are addressing Dhofaris, right? Speak to them in Arabic. Now most of the people who comment on this topic are westerners! Of course, they'll sound offended and talk non-stop about it. But when they talk about circumcision in Africa or other places or other crazy traditions, they relate it to tradition and only tradition. They just don’t criticize it the way they criticize traditions in the Arab world. Why?
    Anyway, this is not the topic. I'm totally against FGM.
    Now, Nadia if you really care, address your beloved Dhofaris in an Arabic post. Also, since you are a very active woman, why don’t you attend some of the parental meetings in local schools and talk to mothers about this? Tell them how wrong it is and how it has nothing to do with our religion. There are many ways you can address this topic, but you need to know your audience first.

    1. Wow you're pulling out the old 'Westerners are just against us' conspiracy.
      Sorry to disappoint you but the reason people (and that means all kinds of people) may judge people in Oman for this kind of practice more than they would those in Africa is purely because the level of education in Oman is far, far better than most places in Africa.
      FGM for example is still being carried out here by women who are educated to university level, or even more. Those who can, and should, know better through all the access they have to information.
      And perhaps DG has tried to bring up the topic in Arabic circles. Considering she is anonymous you couldn't possibly know what else she has done towards it.

  2. Excellent post, but all of these articles and blogs don't seem to be making a difference at all. Maybe its because the people who need to hear it most are not those to read blogs or newspapers. The situation is too sad.


  3. Standing up and applauding the first commenter on this post.
    It's like a whining, sniffling drone of a call to arms. Just get off your posterior, print off some flyers and go down to the hospital yourself!

    It's the same as Mimi - the Dudley Do-right of Dhofar.
    All talk and no trousers!

    You have to go out and make the changes for yourself.
    It's the typical Omani thing of "here is the problem, here is the bad thing, this is what is wrong"....but someone else should fix it, yanni!



    1. Wow Lawrence, I've seen a couple of replies from you to various posts and you seem very negative! Why do you feel the need to bring someone down like that? In my opinion it's not a very constructive approach to things.

      Some people write and plant a seed in people's minds which inspires others people to take action. Everyone's different and plays another role in society. DG's post will inspire people to make a change. And change doesn't come overnight. It needs to be enforced in all kinds of ways...

  4. Dhofari Gucci

    Ignore Anonymous - keep talking, keeping blogging about this subject in English and Arabic because it will come up in searches and keep the subject alive. Find a way to get the Grand Mufti to make a statement on this.

    And, Anonymous, as a FGM opponent in Europe, we raised awareness and we argued for education as the key to stopping this assault on children. This applied to all parts of the world.

  5. decent, educated, successful men should refuse to marry mutilated girls. Hopefully then the families will realise their absolute stupidity when the only guys willng to accept the damaged good are idiot virgin mutawwas.

  6. As a practicing doctor here in Salalah , I have experienced the ill effects due to apathy on behalf of officials who are meant to keep things in order. Surprisingly, the same rules are applied strictly in Muscat, but in Salalah, Dhofar there is no resolve on part of the officials. However, the blame also is on the people who wish to follow things blindly , without any logical reasoning... Education is the only way ... ..contrary to the comments above, I believe you have a good following among the dhofari youth...Keep up your good work..God Speed..

  7. I just read this in complete shock. I actually wrote 2 posts last week on my blog about FGM. I knew it still went on occasionally in Oman but to actually read this here.
    Awful, truly, truly terrible.
    I lived in Sudan where they hack off the genital of around 90% of all girls - the most severe type - Type 3 - Infibulation. But to read of it in Oman truly upsets me. I love Oman and it pains me to know this is still going on in some parts of it.
    It is just wrong.
    Keep up the awareness. Maybe though do write a blogpost in Arabic too or better still write a lengthy letter to a newspaper.
    We must continue to keep this topic in the news and public awareness until it is eradicated EVERYWHERE.
    Here is my blog post on it.

    Maybe - Dhofar needs copies of Al Azhar university's "The Golden Book"

  8. Well D.G. Oken is done @ lulu. & if mimi camt stop her own fam. from fgm, how r u gunna stop others? Anyhow good luck. I cant imagone women running around the hospitals offering "services" that sounds really F'd up. Why dont u go there and flush them out? Obviously theres no F'n rules. Im sure mimi will be up for it. If u do somthing, can u video tape, twould be classic.

  9. "Im sure mimi will be up for it"

    No, you see, she wouldn't!
    There is no substance to what is being written. And when I think of folks who have literally laid down their lives for change in this region, it galls me no end, the drivel that both of these bloggers are spurting out each day.

    Don't get me wrong, the practice of FGM is horrific and barbaric to the core, but writing reams of stuff about it in English or in Arabic without having some element of action is equivalent to two old ladies knitting on a park bench.

    The world has enough anti-FGM posters and lip-service campaigns to do it for a century.

    Mimi harped on about her in her family and how horrified she was that it was mutilated saying that the night before if she knew it was going to happen that she would not have let the baby out of the room!

    The fact is that Mimi was fully aware there was a risk that this was coming, but she did nothing about it. I bet there was not a snowball's chance in hell of her stepping up and putting a stop to that event.
    The sad fact is that even when FGM lands right on the doorstep of this girl's house, she is powerless to act on it.

    And for that very same reason, there is no way she would risk a public scene where she speaks her mind publicly.
    All talk and no trousers.
    There's enough outreach going on about it. Go and join a properly organised group, and participate to the whatever level your guts can handle.
    Because whining on and quoting opinions as "fact" only does a disservice to the people who are out there on the front-line fighting this draconian behaviour, and the damaging the reputation of the institutions that are supporting their cause.


    1. Thank you so much for caring about the Omani girls who may have FGM done to them?

    2. Your comments here are absurd, "Lawrence". Who are you to talk about this being all talk with no substance? What substance, exactly, do you offer us? What is it that you would you like to see? Have you been to Dhofar, even briefly? Do you have any idea what the society here is like? Where a girl cannot drive a car without being persecuted for it, or have her father pestered with twenty phone calls that she has been "spotted" while driving? Where a perfectly intelligent girl has to sit in the back of the classroom and never speak up or answer a question because everyone will talk about her in the worst way possible and ruin any chance she may have for a decent future? This is NOT Muscat, these two regions are like two entirely different countries.

      The mere fact that Nadia and Mimi are actually WRITING publicly, as it is, about issues is astounding. I have a lot of contact with the local young adults in this region, and let me tell you that what both of them are doing is remarkable. Perhaps it will not reach as many people as it could in Arabic - but in English their writing has the potential to reach a particular level of Omani society - the educated one, the one that is most likely to effect a change of this magnitude in this country.

      And like someone said before - how do you know that they are not doing it in Arabic as well, somewhere else? You are being ridiculous, because you feel that they are not proactive enough according to your own standards, which, might I remind you, have nothing in common with Omani standards, and thus should not be compared, nor used to malign these two authors.

      Of course Mimi would not be able to stand up to her family. Maybe she would even have locked the door to her room and kept the baby in there - but eventually the door would have been opened and she would have been outnumbered, even if just by her mother and sister (to keep the "men" out of it). Does that mean she should not speak of her feelings? Of how horrible FGM is? Did you ever stop to consider how this young woman indirectly told us through that story that the same has been done to her? How do you think that has affected her, you blabbering fool in trousers? Or is it apparently only twelve year old blond girls whose tragic stories deserve reading and sympathy? Good Lord, where were Jessica's trousers and why did she only write about her ordeal on a blog, when she could have been in the front lines allowing medicine to experiment on her? I hope you realize that the only reason I am being this sarcastic here when it comes to Jessica and her story is to show just how double your standards truly are.

      Of course Mimi has no trousers, nor should she have them - and neither do you, for all you may think you do. You should be ashamed of yourself. I wonder what tune you'd be singing if there was a widespread problem involving MGM - what would you and your trousers do if there were old men wandering around with sharp knives and incense burners and left you with the bare minimum to fill those trousers with?

      Queen of Sheba

  10. Anon, stop complaining!!

    Nadia, do not listen to anyone trying to pull you down on this. There are many people writing about this topic in Arabic, and awareness needs to not only be for Omanis, Westerners need to know about what is happening here too.

  11. Nadia
    Don't keep quite. Keep blogging and keep talking about it. I keep blogging about it - interestingly on my blog I have readership of former students in Sudan (where 90% of girls have their bodies mutilated) but none ever comments. Perhaps there is an element of shame of talking or even daring to mention it but I will not shut up. FGM is abhorrent and it is a cultural practice which has all too often been misconstrued to be a religious practice or sunnah - which it is not.
    There is a lot of information out there by large scale campaigns against FGM - such as Waris Dirie Foundation but in addition to that people should be talking and talking loudly online and elsewhere. If that talking even manages to spare ONE girl from such a barbaric cruelty then that is success.
    I still feel shocked to think it goes on in Oman, I guess I knew in Dhofar it did but I kind of assumed it was very small scale and only in very rural areas.
    The Ministry of Health needs to take a serious pro-actice step in raising major public awareness of this to bring a complete end to it.
    I remember reading a story about a guy (it was not in Oman) who asked his sister if the girl he was wanting to marry had been circumcised. Misunderstanding what he meant his sister advised the prospective bride to immediately undergo the procedure. Despite fear she did. She was left in a crippling position, however, she assumed it was what he wanted. When the man married her and found out he was truly shocked. He had wanted to know because he did NOT want to marry someone who was mutilated. The girls had taken his line of enquiry to mean the opposite. The marriage did not last long.
    It seems in many cases now it is women inflicting this at the behest of other women. It is not something that men are demanding (at least according to the literature and testimonies I have read).
    Keep talking and write and call up the Ministry. The word must be spread to areas where people are still saying nothing.

    (I have added the link to your post on a post I have also just written: http://khaleejikat.blogspot.com/2012/01/todays-blog-musings-one-made-me-want-to.html )

    Keep talking Nadia.

  12. Queen of Sheba

    Thank you for your comment.
    I tried to reply to your questions on here, but there was not enough space.
    However, I have added a response on my blog.

    Best regards


  13. Hi,

    This is the first time i posted here, i have been reading your blog for awhile. I'm Omani and yes FGM is still practise it!! I had close encounter once with the women who was about to do it to my sister! at 5 years old i was watching her and as my sister been called to the room and few womens area around her to hold her down and they closed the door! i got SO angry banging the door as hard as i could screaming leave her alone leave her alone. but nobody was listening Its scared me for live i said to them if i ever have a girl your will never ever touch her, God give me two boys! I will never forgive them and i will never forget for the rest of my life! I'm now living overseas. Interesting thing is in the west women are getting the surgery done and think its a nice thing to do!! I watched a programme in UK where they interviewed women who about to have it done at least they doing by will and know about where we are innocent at toddlers age! Peace

  14. Lawrence,

    Thank you for the blog entry, although you could have simply answered in two comments. My final reply to you is on your blog.

    Best regards to you too,

    Queen of Sheba

  15. Point 4 is the most hostile one Nadia hahahah.The old ladies do their work upon requests,the blame is on the parents.

    1. .... Oh come on Shabuon! Just to take it to the extreme: so if a person tells someone to kill another person, then only the person giving the order is guilty of killing and the killer is blameless????

  16. Honestly. From my personal experiences with FGM in my village, it has nothing to do with education in health respects or the Ministry of Health and everything to do with peoples religious beliefs and lack of understanding of what a "sunnah" is. The only successful way to stop it is to inform women on this level. They believe they are doing something recommended in Islam. If you take this away, then no more FGM. Half the women in my husband's family who have been practicing FGM have stopped, now that they know it isn't something recommended in their religion or something required for health purposes (the majority already knew the latter and it didn't matter). That is the only thing that helps. You have to find a woman whose Islamic knowledge these women respect enough to listen to, or some very respected Shiekh to explain about hadiths being sahih, and what a sunnah is ect.... Or they won't care what a health poster says.

  17. Hi Nadia, I certainly need to appreciate your efforts. Some day, some one, somewhere this will have to be addressed. There could be many more who wish to express this concern. but may be not coming out thinking of hitting the untrue sentiments.
    Also, dont get dissappointed if there is no action from any corner. You have initiated a big change or I can say by voicing your concrerns, you are adding strength to the issue. If not today, tomorrow this will be happening. May GOD bless you the strength to move ahead. Instead of witnessing the change, better start the change. In this world, change is the only constant. All other constants are changing. be bold enough! Softer roots crack the rocks! in its own time; no hussles; but it does crack! All the future "FGM free women world" will praise you and fellow bloggers for your initiatives.
    Netizen from Salalah

  18. As for the kind og FGM practiced in Salalah (the mutiliating--- not Islamically acceptable kind) it should be made illegal, and people should be informed it is forbidden in Islam, and if they still want to go on with it for the sake of culture, there should be a fine for the parents who let it happen to their daughters (equivelent of the fine payed by someone who sexually or violently molests a woman in Oman), and jail time for the woman who does the procedure of hacking out the clitoris and vaginal lips in the first place. There are no health benefits from this procedure and makes child birth more difficult.

  19. Mmmm... i should write about the fact that this is an ongoing practice in certain cultures in South Africa

  20. Who ever said women in the West are doing it,I have never heard of any woman in the West asking for a total removal of the clitoris,what some women in the West do is called clitoral hood reduction and labiaplasty which only involves removing the outer skin for cleansing,never heard of a volantary total clitoral removal in the West.The ones having their skins removed at birth in some Western countries are poor infant boys.

  21. South Africa? Now I am learning new things.Maybe FGM is more widespread than I thought so.When you say South Africa are you refering to local cultures or immigrants?