Saturday, April 14, 2007


Comes in many forms.

The phrase "must read" is used a lot, but this series of posts should almost be compulsory. I found it via Dr Crippen. It is a translation, from the French of an account of a Senegalese woman's discovery that her circumcision can be reversed by a doctor, provided he survives the death threats long enough to make their May appointment.

The layers of courage displayed are extraordinary. The courage to confront the problem; the courage to seek advice; the courage to countenance surgery; the courage to confront, through action, familial and cultural legacies; the courage to handle personal relationships - with her lover, her sister, her cousin. The personal, everyday anxieties about sexuality overlaid by family issues, her mother and grandmother did this to her against the wishes of her father, yet it is her father she feels most estranged from. It is a complex story told with great simplicity, honesty and directness.

She is a very brave woman. But this is the line that will be in my mind when I wake up tomorrow:

I believe, at this moment I am writing, that ... I have forgiven myself a little for having been circumcised.


A. said...

Thank you for this post. Would it be all right for me to translate it and pass it on to Papillon? I would try to find someone whose French is rather better than mine...

Peter Risdon said...

By all means. Please also pass on my very best wishes for May.