Nov 08, 2013

A surgeon in San Francisco named Deborah Cohan shared a clip of herself and her whole surgical team at Mt. Zion Hospital laughing and dancing as she prepared to undergo the procedure to have both her breasts removed this week.

deborah-cohan-surgeon-dancing-ritual-mastectomy-female-genital-mutilation-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationComparison to Female Genital Mutilation

Sonsonet, also Sorsonet , is my favorite djembe rhythm.  It is a  mask dance of the Baga People of Guinea . One aspect  of the Spirit of Sonrsonet is a lover and protector of children.  He comes to the village maybe 2-3 times per year then returns to the bush.

The chants  which speak of  honoring the mother  and the releasing of the female child from the domain of her parents are haunting; piercing the soul.  The rhythm is a driven 3/4 cadence  and becomes ecstatic at faster tempos.

When I learned that the dance was used as  part of the circumcision ritual for young girls I was horrified and  went through an intense moral crisis.  I refused to play the rhythm for a couple of years.  This incident  did teach me a lesson about  knowing the meaning and purpose of music from another culture.

From the NYT:

The ceremony began with the “Matusimo” (great dance) on the day before the ritual. Then the girls walked to a sacred tree. Boys, who were circumcised on the same day, participated in many of the activities. Relatives and friends then sang songs. The dancing began and continued until after the sunlight failed. In the morning, the candidates bathed in a nearby stream, to be symbolically purified. The females were then privately circumcised by an elder woman, known as a “moruithia.”

There is much controversy about how much actual cutting is performed. Kenyatta and others have argued that only the tip of the clitoris was removed. Dr. Arthur, who saw cases that required medical intervention for infection, argued that more of the genitals were removed. His testimony was corroborated by other British colonial medical officials. Apparently, in a few cases not only was a clitoridectomy performed, but also a labiadectomy. There were even reports of elder women using their teeth to perform the ritual. Yet, whatever the degree of tissue removed, there is little doubt that for the girls it was a joyous occasion.

The operation completed, a fee was provided by the young women, usually in the form of a cooked meal, to their moruithia. At this point, they became full members of the Kikuyu and were no longer considered girls.

The importance of the ceremony among traditional Kikuyu cannot be understated, for each girl showed by her act of courage that she was ready to be married. Of equal importance, she now became a member of an age-set. An age-set is a group of people of similar age who tend to act together in their society for the rest of their lives. To the Kikuyu, female circumcision is much more than a mere physical act.