Ethiopian Films News

Desert Flower and an FGM discussion with Waris Dirie

By Mousumi Roy Chowdhury

The highlight of the five day film festival, Images That Matter at the National Theater from June 15 to 19th, was Sherry Hormann directed Desert Flower based on the bestselling autobiographical novel by the Somali model Waris Dirie and starring Ethiopian actress Liya Kebede. Waris Dirie, as the program brochure says, a Somalian nomad, circumcised at five, sold into marriage at 13, fled from Africa and finally became an American supermodel and now is the UN spokeswoman against circumcision.

Waris Dirie’s autobiographical book and the film made in 2009 has strengthened the activism against female genital mutilation, as unlike much of the activist and critical thrust against FGM that takes its shape in the West (for example, Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology), this is a first hand account of an African woman who underwent FGM, and speaks for her own self and of her own life and community.

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