Monday, 18 April 2016

fgm, fsm

Around two years back—as improbable as this constellation of outreach and events sounds, the California based UFO cult, the Raëlians, raised funds in order to have a self-described Pleasure Hospital constructed and staffed with plastic- and reproductive-surgeons in the west African country of Burkina Faso to help victims of the awful, traditional practise of female genital mutilation. The clinic in Bobo-Dioulasso, however, was never allowed to open its doors, supposedly due to violations to the building-code; an alternative site was found and the doctors treated some fifteen women with corrective procedures which restored them cosmetically and alleviated at least some of the physical pain as well.
The main tenants of Raëlian belief is that extra-terrestrials have always been reaching out and guiding humanity but they will only manifest themselves truly once human kind is at peace with itself in mind and body, and that state is only attainable through the pursuit of pleasure (sort of like the adherents of the anti-abbeys of Thélème and Semiquavers in Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel) and possibly the cult felt a strong moral compunction to redress these trespasses (as the UN has done) that rob women of the experience of pleasure—and to mention the health problems that this reprehensible practise can cause, but there is no evidence that the cult was interested in proselytizing its beliefs with this mission. None of the medical staff were members and there was no literature passed out, but the doctors quickly had their licenses to practise in the country revoked, citing suspicions over cult activities and promoting deviant behaviour. The government of Burkina Faso is not the complete villain having outlawed the practise and are actively disseminating that edict through the villages, and though this was a grave disappointment to those hundreds of millions of women having suffered their whole lives with the scars of the past, a few were made whole, word spread, and the visiting doctors were able to teach their techniques to local surgeons so that they might be able to champion the fight against barbarity. It’s not a matter people like to discuss—and perhaps introducing aliens averts even more—but avoiding the topics only reinforces those who would believe it to be an acceptable thing to do. There is a very salient difference between violence and intimidation and social norms and obligation.  (We do realise his noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, is not a UFO cult but know that FSM would also not condone such acts from his worshipers.)