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Photograph by Lori Shepler


Soraya Mire speaks out on ancient African practice

By Leilani Clark

Female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), is an ancient surgical procedure wherein parts of the genitals are removed. Unfortunately, it's still performed on teenaged girls in some parts of Africa. Some have argued that this ̉rite of passage" is a cultural tradition, making it off limits to critique.

Not so, says Soraya Mire, a Somalian-born human rights activist and writer. Female genital mutation is a form of child abuse, writes Mire, a ritual of mutilation handed down from mother to daughter that's protected by the culture.

In her new memoir, The Girl with Three Legs, the Los Angeles–based writer tells the horrific story of her own experience with FGM when she was 13. Told by her mother that they were going out to shop for a new dress, instead Mire was taken to a doctor for a brutal operation. A survivor of what she calls a ̉rite of torture," Mire has spoken before the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and on CNN and Oprah about the protection of human rights for women and girls. She appears for a reading and signing on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7pm. Free. 415.927.0960.

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