Egyptian woman Cartoonist, Doaa Eladl, publishes a controversial cartoon on FGM - She tells Clitoraid why.

آذار 15 2013, تصنيف: Clitoraid NEWS
Doaa Eladl is a famous Egyptian woman cartoonist who began publishing her drawings in 2007 in the Al Dostor newspaper, Rose Al Youssef Magazine and Sabah El Kheir Magazine. Now, her cartoons appear on the prominent newspaper Al Masry Al Youm. In 2009 she received the award of journalism excellence in Caricature.
Recently, Ms. Eladl has become the first cartoonist in Egypt to face the charges of blasphemy

Following the publication of a controversial cartoon that Doaa drew about Female Genital Mutilation, Clitoraid contacted the artist in Egypt for an interview and asked her the following questions about her work in general, and the FGM cartoon in particular. Note that in Egypt, the majority of women is excised and Clitoraid hopes to find a surgeon there who wishes to be trained in the Clitoral Restoration surgical technique in order to restore the dignity and a sense of pleasure of the FGM victims who seek it

1. When did you start doing socio-political cartoons?
I started drawing cartoons about 8 years ago for the in Al-Dostour Constitution newspaper.
During the first part of my career, I was drawing political cartoons against the former regime, ex-president Mubarak, and the National Democratic Party [the party in power at that time], I also published social comics in Sabah Al-Kheir (Good morning) magazine, then in "Rose Al-Youssef" magazine. Several years later, I started working for the Al-Masry Al-Youm [Egyptians Today] newspaper, a high circulation paper in Egypt.

2. What attracted you to this particular craft to voice your opinion?
The art of Caricature is seditious. A cartoonist always has something to say.
I find that my talent allows me to criticize a lot of political and social issues, and I also find that I never run out of inspiration for my caricatures whether to praise or to object to an issue.

3. How are you perceived as a woman criticizing men and the men in power in your country?
Their perception of me has changed through time.
At first, when I started in this profession, a majority of the readers thought I was a man! That's because the readers couldn't imagine a woman drawing a caricature, especially professional, political ones. But with time, I became popular, so now there is no problem anymore. In the end, good ideas always find their way to the public, whether the cartoonist is a man or a woman

Regarding your question about the drawings, I don't only criticize men. What I criticize are some of the habits that I think are wrong and there are many and they must be totally reconsidered!

For example, circumcision. It is just an African habit. It doesn't stem from the Muslim religion at all. The Mufti ([ormal scholar for Muslims] of the Republic Dr. Ali Gomaa decreed that female circumcision is as a crime against humanity and that it is not related to Islam. Yet, it is still being practiced in Egypt's countryside and unfortunately they do it in the name of religion!!!!

4. Is there an improvement in the freedom of women since the change of the regime?
There have been no improvement in women's freedom since the fall of the Mubarak's regime because the current system is not significantly different. On the opposite, it is the worse. They use religion only to dominate, they use it just to seek political gain.

I am a Muslim and that is my choice but the current system, the Muslim Brotherhood interpret religion in their own way and, unfortunately they are actually demonizing Islam.

Before the revolution took place, I was casually drawing about women's issues and their problems, but now I am compelled to draw these cartoons about women in order to defend my own existence, my personal freedom that are threatened under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.

5. Why did you choose to do a cartoon on FGM?
I think I have answered this question earlier and I would like to add that I draw cartoons not only about FGM but also other problems relating to Egyptian women like domestic violence, marrying minors, [sexual] harassment, violence against women, and even a new phenomenon in Egyptian society called "sexual mass terror" a condescending way to refer to female demonstrators. I just cannot remain silent about all of these issues.

6. What was the public's reaction?
The public's reaction was divided. Some saw a wonderful caricature on a subject that must be criticized, others saw it as sacrilegious to Muslim rule, finally some thought that I should find a more subtle way to criticize, a way that is less shocking.

7. Is there an educational program in Egypt to stop this ritual?
There were educational programs in the past [before religious regime began to rise in the 1970's]. Also, there is a law that clearly criminalizes those who practice FGM. [In the 1990's, governmental hospitals were banned from practicing FGM; in 2008, the ban included all hospitals], however there is currently no educational program.

8. How does the young Egyptian generation feel about FGM (both men and women)
The youth also has a divided reaction, some are against FGM while others defend it.

Clitoraid supports Sheriff Mirkarimi for encouraging San Francisco inmates to rise against violence

آذار 06 2013, تصنيف: Clitoraid NEWS
The following letter was sent to San Francisco Sheriff Mirkarimi in support of the One Billion Rising action he organized for the inmates of the San Bruno Jail on Feb 14. This story is all the more compelling that Sheriff Mirkarimi was himself accused of domestic violence by his wife, Venezuelan actress Eliana Lopez over a year ago. Since then, the couple reunited and the Sheriff's wife decided to partake in the choreographed dance that day.

Dear Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi,

My name is Karen Heaven spokesperson for Clitoraid in the US. I'm writing to you in support of your recent action inviting local choreographer Magalie Bonneau-Marcil, founder and producer of Dancing Without Borders, to engage county jail inmates (some of whom have been perpetrators of serious cases of domestic violence) in dancing to support "One Billion Rising" on February 14. What a wonderful way to encourage an end to violence against women, especially in an institution such as the one you oversee. This is what rehabilitation should look like!

I'm particularly drawn to your story because I'm the U.S. leader of an international, non-profit organization that also strives to counteract violence done to women. Specifically, we help women who suffered from the effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Our volunteer surgeons have offered clitoral repair surgery to dozens of such patients in the United States over the past several years. In fact, on the very day that you were leading your inmates to rise and dance against violence, Dr. Marci Bowers was operating on an FGM victim in San Mateo, Calif., just a few miles from the San Bruno jail!

Though the act of FGM hardly ever occurs within the United States, Clitoraid reaches out to women who have come here as immigrants from countries where this hideous practice still takes place. Some of these victims live in the Bay area.

To help such victims cope with the effects of this extreme trauma they experienced as little girls, Clitoraid applies humanitarian values of the Raelian philosophy advocated by spiritual leader Rael, who founded our U.S.- based charity in 2006. Indeed, our No. 1 value is femininity (not feminism). We hold the quality of femininity to be "the future of humanity."

In our eyes, you and all others involved in the One Billion Rising dance initiative at the San Bruno jail were illustrating this quality of femininity, including your wife as she danced next to you, consciously forgiving you for your act of violence committed months earlier. Forgiving, seeking forgiveness and rehabilitation are acts of femininity that all Clitoraid patients and their families must go through to heal. The same is true for those who committed the act of FGM, for each of your inmates and for everyone else on this planet.

Sincerely yours,

Karen Heaven

Clitoraid rep calls for 'Adopt A Clitoris' fundraising ‘flashmob’ on International Women’s Day

آذار 04 2013, تصنيف: بيانات صحفية
LAS VEGAS, March 4 –Clitoraid, a Las Vegas-based nonprofit organization that helps victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) obtain clitoral repair surgery in the United States and Africa, will commemorate International Women’s Day in a memorable and unique way, according to Clitoraid representative Nadine Gary.

“On March 10, International Women’s Day, from 2 to 4 p.m., we’re holding a public, fundraising flashmob on the sidewalk between the Paris Hotel and Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas Strip," Gary said in a statement released today by Clitoraid "This event is a highlight of our annual 'Adopt a Clitoris' fundraising campaign and the choreography for it was created by a Clitoraid volunteer, Lia Steinman. We need surgical equipment and other furnishings to open the world’s first clitoral restoration hospital for FGM victims in Burkina, Faso, West Africa, this October. This event and the help of the public can bring us closer to our goal!”

Gary said Clitoraid and its dream of a clitoral repair hospital were launched by international spiritual leader Maitreya Rael in 2007.

“He noticed that no organization yet existed to help FGM victims have the new clitoral repair procedure devised by French surgeon Dr. Pierre Foldes,” Gary explained. “Victims will have the surgery at our ‘pleasure hospital’ for free, thanks to Clitoraid’s volunteer surgeons and other staff. Over 400 patients are already on our waiting list!”

Men and women alike are invited to participte in the Las Vegas flashmob event.

"Please join us at this flashmob to dance and donate for FGM victims,” Steinman added. “International Women’s Day is a great day to symbolically stand up for women’s equal gender rights worldwide, including the fundamental right of each and every woman to feel sexual pleasure.”

Clitoraid warmly supported by the kind people of Slovenia - Milan Marsic explains.

شباط 25 2013, تصنيف: Clitoraid NEWS
Milan Marsic is a middle school PE teacher who has traveled the world before going back to settle in his parents' home country, Slovenia. He is a kind, quiet and caring person who has been drawn to Clitoraid's humanitarian endeavor ever since he heard about the Clitoral Restorative Hospital, Clitoraid is building in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Here is what he has to share about spreading the news about Clitoraid to his fellow Slovenians:

"After living a few years abroad (3 years in the U.S. and 1 year in Mumbai, India), I decided to go back to settle down in Slovenia, my parents country of origin.
Here the atmosphere is totally different from what I could experienced in the different countries I´ve lived in. Everything is well organized, clean, people are benevolent.. Women's status is good, even if there are still social inequalities (in terms of wages for example..). You don't feel any oppression or machismo against women, like I noticed while I was living in India, or even in France, among certain social groups.
In Slovenia, Female Genital Mutilation is not very well known, and this practice is very far away, geographically and in term of mentality, from local customs. So the goal was to raise the awareness of the Slovenian population regarding this barbaric and medieval practice and introduce them to our organization CLITORAID.
With the local team of Raelians who wholeheartedly embrace Clitoraid's cause that was inspired by spiritual leader, Rael, we decided to have a booth at the Erotika 69 fair in the town of Celje. This was the biggest convention of its kind in Slovenia. We thought that this event would be the best place to reach people who are more openminded regarding sexuality.. because even if sexuality is not really a taboo in Slovenia, people might be a little shy talking about it..
The experience was great ! We spread flyers, showed videos, explained to the public about FGM and Clitoraid´s mission.. and we had a very good feedback. We could feel a very positive respond from some concerned people, and it was a real pleasure to see that their mind became enlightened on this big concern.
We received some donations to help building the Pleasure Hospital, and many people were definitely ready to help and spread the word about Clitoraid and about this unacceptable practice still existing in some parts of the world !"

Milan and the Slovenian Clitoraid´s team (Mladen, Vule, Nelly, Miha, Goran)

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