Monday, October 28, 2013

when the time comes

When The Time Comes from Charles Gay on Vimeo.


The semi-nomadic Samburu tribe of Kenya still practices female circumcision, despite the fact that it was made illegal in 2003 by the Maputo Protocol (which was ratified by 37 African countries).  However, slowly but surely brave women (with the support of a number of men) are speaking up for their rights and demanding that their daughters are not put through this coming of age ritual any longer.

This may sound like something of a depressing way to spend ten minutes of your time, but I guarantee that you will be uplifted by this very human story.  The debate among the tribespeople is intergenerational with one of the male village elders (inadvertently, I think) giving the game away when he says that a circumcised woman is easier to control – and that is, ultimately what this ritual is all about.  One woman cleverly counters this with an argument with which few red-blooded men would be inclined to disagree.

Beautifully directed by Charles Gay, this short documentary shows a usually hidden side of a secluded culture – it is very brave of these women simply to talk about the subject let alone commit their opinion to film.  It also reveals a colorful and vibrant culture in the throes of change. The amazing traditional clothing worn by the often very beautiful Samburu women is a feast for the eyes, while the subject gives us much food for thought.

This has been cross posted from Kuriositas.

8 comments:

Tom said...

An ongoing story of great courage. I suppose if I allow my baser side to get an airing, and since the old man who spoke suggested one should feel pain when passing into adulthood, perhaps the removal of the men's genitalia might have focused some minds. Yes, I know it's not the way forward, but the holding down of one group of people by another always makes me feel anger, particularly when the enslaved - and it is a form of slavery - are women. I think I'd better stop at that point.

susan said...

I'm not quite sure whether I was right in posting this, Tom, as I realize it's a very difficult subject to discuss or even think about. Some years ago I was friends with a young Egyptian-American doctor who took her five year old daughter to meet her family in Cairo where she was attending a conference. Leaving the child with her grandmother my friend went to the meeting. When she returned the little girl had been mutilated. I've never forgotten her grief or the guilt she was tormented by after that event.

Thank you so much for writing in support of these women.

marja-leena said...

Excellent and even beautiful film, though yes, it's a very difficult and painful subject. Your story of the five year girl is also deeply disturbing and shocking. These women do need our support and encouragement while we need to change those men's twisted minds. Then there are all the rapes in so many countries.... make me cry.

Tom said...

I think you were right to draw attention to this problem, Susan. Such matters must never be ignored, swept under the carpet. If we collude in that practice, nothing will get done to help these people. As for your story of the five-year-old girl, it was unspeakable. When I think back to my own three daughters when they were that age...... words fail me.

susan said...

It was one of those very important topics that had been completely unknown to me until the events I told Tom about. How people could be so callous as to perpetrate pain and disfigurement on their daughters is beyond my comprehension too.

susan said...

Thanks, Tom. When I first learned about the scope of this practice I was staggered. It is indeed something people need to be aware of so it can be stopped.

Sean Jeating said...

Good on you.

susan said...

Thanks, Sean. I know this has been a cause you've supported for a long time.