4 May 2012
Monday May 1st Saria Khalifa of FORWARD spoke out at the Rage Against Racism protest at the Swedish Embassy organised by Black Feminists. This protest was in response to the negative impact that the 'cake art' by Makode Linde in Sweden had on many people. The spectacle in Sweden saw a cake cut being cut which was in the form of an African woman and it was cut (starting at the genitals) by Swedish Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljerothis. This spectacle was extremely offensive to women and girls affected by FGM. It has insulted and further traumatised women who have been through FGM and the spectacle trivialises the physical and psychological effects this practice has on women and girls. As FGM is a complex and sensitive issue, this cake spectacle undermines campaigns to end the practice by further stigmatising women & girls who already face difficulty in accessing services and obtaining support. As an awareness raising tool this was not aimed at FGM affected communities or key policy makers; who are the key stakeholders making it an ineffective campaign technique. It has only managed to further compound the stereotypical views already held about Africa and African women. Never should awareness raising insult and degrade the very people who undergo FGM. This is another sad example of offensive misrepresentation of an important issue and of African women. See here for coverage on the protest.