From this week's Maltatoday:
Labour MP Marie Louise Coleiro is calling on the government to outlaw the practice of female genital mutilation in Malta, in a bid to protect migrant women who could be subjected to the brutal practice.
Sometimes I cannot believe what I am reading in the papers. A week or so ago we had David Agius faking a dispute with Lorna only to churn up a litany of have-heards that we usually hear from the mouths (or read from the pens) of the has-beens. Now we have another example of the sorry state of politics in Malta. Marie Louise Coleiro call on government to outlaw female genital mutilation is as effective and useful to Maltese politics as if I were to call for an introduction of an age limit for snowboarding or a limit to the number of nuclear bombs Malta might produce.
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen of the ever-dwindling reasonable electorate, is another case of the Uselessly Controversial Topic being bandied around by a politician in the hope that the cause she is championing makes her look like a genuine social carer and potential saint and makes any opponents or naysayers look like the devil incarnate.
For let's face it. Saying that you disagree with Coleiro's suggestion could easily get you branded as a vaginal mutilator of some sort. Before you know it l-Orizzont would be headlining "Jack lo Squartatore" and other such clichés. It's a bit like the crusade to include an anti-abortion clause in the constitution. Notwithstanding the futility of the exercise by Minister Borg we still have whole debates about the matter - which inevitably digress to witchhunts aimed at the pro-abortionist baby-eaters even if they do not exist.
The thing is I am sure that no-one in Malta condones female genital mutilation (or male for what that matters). What also seems to be sure is the fact that there is no known record of female genital mutilation on the islands. Colerio's worry seems to be based on some ill-advised logic of the sort:
We get many immigrants to Malta.
Some immigrants are Somalis.
Some immigrants are Somalis.
Some Somalis practice female genital mutilation.
Therefore female genital mutilation should be made illegal in Malta.
You could almost be convinced for a moment. You can almost feel the Female Genital Mutilation (Prevention) Act being drafted in some blue-eyed law firm somewhere in the capital. You could hear the drafter wonder whether section 7(3)(b) should include a reference to labial piercing without consent - and attempting to legally qualify instances of self-mutilation while under the influence.
Then reality hits you. Why the hell are our politicians busy suggesting laws about the hypothetical and the probable when the actual is still not being solved. I'd like to see a law that outlaws hunting and cruelty to animals and makes non-implementation a crime. I'd like to see a law that makes dumping by contractors punishable by putting them out of business. I'd love to see a law that makes political party funding illegal except through agreed systems. I'd love to see a ban on the taxi monopoly. I'd love to have better public procurement laws that ensure that roads do not have to be resurfaced every so often.
I'd like many things. But most of all I'd like to have less politicians talking about Somali Vaginas and Plastic Foetuses.... Actually, why don't we outlaw them too?
* Poster: anti-Female Genital Mutilation poster. NGO's like Amnesty International and UNICEF regularly combat FGM. Support Amnesty to support anti-FGM action in the countries where it DOES happen and we MUST be doing something about it.