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Your comments: Genital mutilation, Basra and hurricanes

Kevin Anderson | 18:12 UK time, Friday, 2 June 2006

Female genital mutilationWe started off talking about female genital mutilation (FGM). A study has found that the practice caused complications for women during birth.

Efua Dorkenoo, founder of the Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development, said that this was against human rights and the practice needed to stop.

Later on in the programme, we'll talk to two people in Basra about how the state of emergency is affecting their lives. Also in the wake of last year's record-breaking hurricane season, how are people preparing. Do they feel ready? Do they feel safe?

Female Genital Mutilation

Efua said that the study in six African nations - Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan - found that FGM greatly complicated birth and increased infant mortality.

Efua said that FGM is practiced not just by Muslims but also by Christians and animists. She said that it is not in the Koran, but rather writings called The Sayings of the Prophets. She said that doctors who practice this goes against the oath of a doctor to do no harm.

Satya called from Mumbai said it was a horrible abuse but feared that it would continue without education and support for improverished rural communities. He doubted that a ban could be enforced.

Egyptian doctor Professor Munir Falsi denied that the process, which he described as 'female circumcision' was cruel. And he said it was backed by Islamic teachings. Egyptians believe that it doesn't cause any harm. Over 90% of Egyptians are circumcised, he said.

And Apochi in Kaduna Nigeria sent us this text message:

As a sociologist,i admonish you people not to be Ethnocentric. FGM has to be understood in the cultural context of we Africans.

Nikki Ross called from Tampa Florida. She said that the UN needed to get involved. She said:

I do mission work in Africa and it just pains me to see these beautiful women and children continue to be abused. If it's not the violent rapes, it's still a torture, a war against the body.

We also had a couple of e-mails on the subject. Cythnia in Cairo said, "I have an Egyptian Christian friend whose family forced her to under go FMG at age eight. Twenty years later, she is still coming to terms with the the emotional and psychological harm she suffered."

Simon Moodie in Italy sent us this text message, "So women must only be allowed to enjoy sex as defined by men. Sorry no religion should be allowed to promote this."

And Mary Milos had this to say in an e-mail: "We MUST not medicalize these cruel amputations and thereby legitimise them. They are not legitimate. They are abusive and must be recognised as such."

Nicol says that her guardian underwent FGM, and she says it not only denies a woman control of her sexuality, but it also kills. Two of her friends bled to death

Winnie said: "My gran told me that she decided not to circumcise her girls in the 50s because of legislation, and now its unheard of in my home village. But there are people who still do it."

But we had this anonymous text:

The west may not know. Female genital mutilation is encouraged by women themselves. So we in Nigeria don't understand what this noise is all about.

But Dr Oruche in Keffi,Nigeria had this to say:

FGM is nothing short of babaric.It's high time we broke loose from "negetive cultures"that have kept us back in Africa.

Lameck Sakala- Zambia sent us this text:

I am a pure African child and a traditionist thru and thru. However, I don’t support FGM in anyway. We are not going to cling to stupid tradition in the name of African culture. Even if it is not practiced in Zambia, I have a duty to protect the African woman.

Are you ready for hurricane season?

Craig Giesecke joined us from New Orleans. He said that all the governmental agencies have done a lot more to be prepared. But he said, "We're in a help yourself mode here. If you didn't realise that last year, we realise that now."

Ashley also joined us from New Orleans. He's worried about what the Army Corps of Engineers have done or not done. The Army Corps is responsible for maintaining flood control all up and down the Mississippi River. Ashley said that government abandoned us last year.

Both Craig and Ashley said that the problem wasn't the hurricanes but with the flooding in New Orleans. Ashley said that until flood controls were in place that the rebuilding wouldn't happen.

Craig predicted more people will stay in New Orleans. They will move to higher ground in the case of a hurricane and tought it out. Most of the low lying areas in New Orleans are still uninhabited.

Erin Walker joined us from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Erin outlined what the government is doing to put supplies closer to hurricane prone areas. Erin was alarmed that people might stay there and ignore calls for evacuation.

Several bloggers wrote about their thoughts as hurricane season began.

MesBeth lives in Moss Point Mississippi, and she's still cleaning up from the hurricanes last year.

Our backyard is still a disaster zone. We've spent the winter just tossing stuff out the backdoor as we've been cleaning up and repairing the house. Now we've got to do something with all that shit before it all becomes projectiles in case there is another storm.

And a blogger called Apollonian had this three point preparedness plan:

Based on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple three-step hurricane preparedness plan:
STEP 1. Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days.
STEP 2. Put these supplies into your car.
STEP 3. Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween.

Kerry Franklin had this to say in an e-mail she sent us:

    As with any natural disaster, there is the expectation that the government is going to help those affected to recover. However, the expectation that the government is entirely responsible is ridiculous. People need to take on a degree of responsibility. Those who chose to stay in or return to New Orleans need to accept the fact that they put themselves at risk. My family was affected by the destructive earthquake in Los Angeles in 1994. Unlike, hurricanes, earthquakes are much harder to predict. People did not have the opportunity to evacuate, yet we managed to get through it without so much press or criticism of the federal government. The governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans need to accept more responsibility for how Hurricane Katrina affected their citizens. U.S. taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for their mistakes and misuse of funds.

Voices from Basra

Richard has been trying for two days to speak with people in Basra. The city in southern Iraq is now in a state of emergency. We didn't have time to play out the interview. Here it is:

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