Issues old and new

While wondering what to write about in my blog I looked briefly at the news. My goodness, plenty of issues there!
There’s female genital mutilation, abbreviated to FGM, which was the subject, along with forced child marriage, of a conference in London yesterday, the Girl Summit, hosted by our Government and Unicef.
In order to speak about a subject you have to use words and the words pull the mind where it wouldn’t otherwise want to go. Words give a thing a label and it then becomes part of our consciousness. But the mind, or mine anyway, recoils from contemplating something as barbaric, cruel and abusive as mutilated genitals.
It is reported that 125 million women worldwide have been subjected to this. 170,000 of them are in the United Kingdom. The NSPCC set up a helpline a year ago, which has so far received around 300 calls. Nearly 130 of those were passed on to the police or Child Services.
Mothers and grandmothers, who have themselves been mutilated, do it to their daughters and grand-daughters. It’s apparently part of an ancient tradition. Started by whom? And why? Who first had the idea of doing this to a woman in order to disempower and subjugate her at the most basic level? I wonder who the first victim was, how old she was, and why this happened, and continued to happen and still happens. What a power trip for someone.
Malala Yousafzai, the girl who survived being short in the head by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school, spoke at the conference yesterday:
“Traditions are not sent from heaven, they are not sent from God. (It is us) who make cultures. We have the right to change it and we should change it. Those traditions that go against the health of girls, they should be stopped.”
The “health of girls”, mild words indeed, but what a brave girl she is and what a marvellous role model for girls and women everywhere.
Then there’s the MH17 aircraft that was shot down and the chaos and politicking that has ensued and the rhetoric being thrown around, including that from David Cameron, ever anxious to score points and with his eyes on the General Election next year.
In marked contrast, the Dutch Prime Minister gave a speech which was from the heart and focusing absolutely on the human aspect. It’s worth reading, as an example of a leader of a country who is also, and has remained, a human being. It was reported in the Huffington Post. This is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/22/speech-un-mh17_n_5609363.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
And a bit of humour. My home page, when I turn on the computer in the morning, is BBC News and I found this while looking around: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-28426819
It’s a 3 ½ minute video poking fun at the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, made by a Chinese man with 190,000 followers on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, and it’s been watched in China over 55 million times. It’s a lot of fun and worth a look.