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The Girl with Three Legs: A Memoirby Soraya Mire
Synopses & Reviews
When Soraya Miré was thirteen years old, the girls on the playground would taunt her, saying she could not play with them—not as long as she walked with three legs. Confused and hurt, she went to her mother, who mysteriously responded that the time had come for Soraya to receive her gift. Miré too soon discovers the horror of the “gift,” female genital mutilation (FGM), whereby a young girls healthy organs are chopped off not only to make her acceptable to a future husband but also to rein in her “wildness.”
In The Girl with Three Legs, Soraya Miré reveals what it means to grow up in a traditional Somali family, where girls and womens basic human rights are violated on a daily basis. A victim of FGM and an arranged marriage to an abusive cousin, Miré was also witness to the instability of Somalias political landscape: her father was a general for the military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, and her family moved in the inner circles of Somalias elite. In her journey to recover from the violence done to her, Miré realizes FGM is the ultimate child abuse, a ritual of mutilation handed down from mother to daughter and protected by the word “culture.”
Mirés tale is a dramatic chronicle of the personal challenges she overcame, a testament to the empowerment of women, and a firsthand account of the violent global oppression of women and girls. Despite the horror she experienced, her words resonate with hope, humanity, and dignity. Her life story is one of inspiration and redemption.
"MirÃ©, 'the daughter of a Somali general, a survivor of female genital mutilation, a survivor of an abusive arranged marriage to a relative, now an activist for African girls and women,' brings all these personae together in her memoir. MirÃ© is at her most compelling in her graphic rendering of the harrowing genital procedure performed on her. She studiously avoids politics ('I didn't want to get involved with the north and south politics in Somalia'), but readers unfamiliar with those politics may be disoriented when they impinge, as they do. Bits of MirÃ©'s account border on the ethnographic: chewing qat (leaves and twigs meant to stimulate the mind); a spirit dancer's purification ceremony ; her surprise arranged wedding made 'with the blessings of my family and without my knowledge or agreement.' MirÃ©'s sojourn to America, by way of Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and France, and the saga of making her film, Fire Eyes, are reported more minutely than is engaging. Although the telling is long-winded and the dialogue bland, MirÃ©'s personal, passionate, and persuasive rejection of any cultural defense of female genital mutilation makes compelling reading. 'I own my story, my body, and my voice,' MirÃ© asserts, 'and no one can stop my mission to end the practice.' Her 'mission of speaking out to end the abuse of girls' is well served by her heartfelt account." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Having experienced firsthand the horror of female genital mutilation (FGM), Soraya Miré reveals the personal violation and immense challenges she overcame. This book is at once an intimate revelation, a testament to the empowerment of women, and an indictment of the violent global oppression of women and girls. This forthright narrative recounts what it means to grow up female in a traditional Somali family, where girls' and women's basic human rights are violated on a daily basis. Forced into an arranged marriage to an abusive older cousin, Miré was also witness to the instability of Somalia's political landscape—her father was a general in the military dictatorship of Siad Barre. In her journey to recover from the violence done to her, Miré realizes FGM is the ultimate child abuse, a ritual of mutilation handed down from mother to daughter and protected by the word culture.” Despite the violations she endured, her words resonate with hope, humanity, and dignity. Her life story is truly one of inspiration and redemption.
About the Author
Soraya Miré is a human rights activist, a filmmaker, and a survivor of and spokesperson against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Her documentary film Fire Eyes, which explored the socioeconomic, psychological, and medical problems associated with FGM on a global scale, was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, the International Women's Conference in Beijing, the World Population Summit in Cairo, and the United Nations in Geneva and is used internationally as the definitive educational film on the topic of FGM. She has appeared in The Vagina Monologues and has been interviewed on Oprah, CNN, ABC’s Nightline, BET, and NPR. Articles about her activism have appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Chicago Tribune, Essence, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and Variety. She is the recipient of the United Nations Humanitarian Award. She lives in Los Angeles. Eve Ensler is the author of The Vagina Monologues, a theatrical and publishing sensation that sold more than half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 27 languages. Winner of a Guggenheim and Obie award, she is the cofounder and guiding spirit of V-day, an international movement to fight violence against women and girls. She lives in New York City.
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