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First Panel: Waris Dirie

2009 February 23
by Nat

In class today I will be representing Waris Dirie, a Somalian supermodel and activist against Female Genital Mutilation (Genital Circumcision). Born in 1964/1965 into a nomadic clan in the Somalian desert, Dirie’s genitals were circumcised at the age of 5 and she continues to suffer today from the damage that was done to her body. At the age of 13 she ran away from an arranged marriage and found her way to Europe, where she worked minimum wage jobs at McDonalds etc, until she was discovered by the fashion industry. No longer actively modeling, she is a UN activist against FGM and she has written three books on the topic, with the aim of trying to eradicte world ignorance of the practice and making it less taboo to speak about. Her first book graphically detailed her own experiences as a child and her two other books are about the extent of the practice within Africa, and the continuation/traveling of the practice into Europe.

This interview with her is particularly interesting and gives more background on her life and her beliefs:

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