Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit; for such mutilation undercuts the life principle of trust, without which every human act, may it feel ever so good and seem ever so right is prone to perversion by destructive forms of conscientiousness.
How strange that excision "" female circumcision, with several languages using the same term for both kinds of mutilation "" of little girls should revolt the westerner but excite no disapproval when it is performed on little boys. Consensus on the point seems absolute. But ask your interlocutor to think about the validity of this surgical procedure, which consists of removing a healthy part of a nonconsenting child's body on nonmedical grounds "" the legal definition of... mutilation.
How strange that excision - female circumcision, with several languages using the same term for both kinds of mutilation - of little girls should revolt the westerner but excite no disapproval when it is performed on little boys. Consensus on the point seems absolute. But ask your interlocutor to think about the validity of this surgical procedure, which consists of removing a healthy part of a nonconsenting child's body on nonmedical grounds - the legal definition of... mutilation.
After all, [female genital mutilation is] a key pillar of institutional misogyny in Islam: its entire purpose is to deny women sexual pleasure. True, a lot of us hapless western men find we deny women sexual pleasure without even trying, but we don't demand genital mutilation to guarantee it. On such slender distinctions does civilization rest.
Mutilation is the badge that can never be taken off, and sets us apart from all others. Pain is important to the bonding-a physical horror that bonds us ever tighter to all those who have partaken. The intensity of the experience helps to widen the gulf between us and those who have not shared.
I've seen many men die right in front of me - so many in fact that I've become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won.
Every victory of man over man has in itself a taste of defeat.... There is no essential difference between the various human groups, creatures whose bones and brains and members are the same; and every damage we do there is a form of mutilation, as if the fingers of the left hand were to be cut off by the right.
The individual is denuded of everything but appetites, desires, and tastes, wrenched from any context of human obligation or commitment. It is a process of mutilation; and once this has been achieved, we are offered the consolation of reconstituting the abbreviated humanity out of the things and the goods around us, and the fantasies and vapors which they emit.
I wanted to die, then. I wanted to destroy the body I was trapped in, become what she was, no matter what it took. No matter how much mutilation or pain. But he looked away, at me. He pulled my face down and pressed my lips against his like he was almost trying to suffocate us both.
Francesca Lia Block
I was thinking of murder, mutilation and dessert like Ignacia Sandoval's instructions for delectable empanadas made of minced mother-in-law's tongue (said to induce peace and harmony in your household), or the gonads of your cheating husband (a savory dish to add spice to your lovemaking).
Sandra Ramos O'Briant
I survived this torture which left me paralyzed for years. That's what that night was all about, mutilation, more than violence through sex. I really do feel as though I was psychologically mutilated that night and now I'm trying to put the pieces back together again. Through love, not hatred. And through my music. My strength has been to open again, to life, and my victory is the fact that, despite it all, I kept alive my vulnerability.
Part of the main plan of imperialism... is that we will give you your history, we will write it for you, we will re-order the past...What's more truly frightening is the defacement, the mutilation, and ultimately the eradication of history in order to create... an order that is favorable to the United States.
The function of education has never been to free the mind and the spirit of man, but to bind them; and to the end that the mind and spirit of his children should never escape, Homo Sapiens has employed praise, ridicule, admonition, accusation, mutilation, and even torture to chain them to the culture pattern.
The compensations of calamity are made apparent to the understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Saigon was an addicted city, and we were the drug: the corruption of children, the mutilation of young men, the prostitution of women, the humiliation of the old, the division of the family, the division of the country-it had all been done in our name. . . . The French city . . . had represented the opium stage of the addiction. With the Americans had begun the heroin phase.
Through dreams and ideas we are seduced to go back to particular places and instances of our past. In the course of the years, these singular moments and spaces of our history very often receive then another color and dimension. Our mind tries however to tame and keep in control the phantoms of times past. If not so, our memory can be subject to an irreversible mutilation. ( "The mutilated memory" )
I had a hard time watching Wolf Creek. It is a film with one clear purpose: To establish the commercial credentials of its director by showing his skill at depicting the brutal tracking, torture and mutilation of screaming young women. When the killer severs the spine of one of his victims and calls her "a head on a stick," I wanted to walk out of the theater and keep on walking.
As Elders we have great respect for all religions and traditions as important forces that bind people together. Faith and tradition provide much of the foundation of our laws and social codes. But where religion and tradition are used to justify discrimination and especially when they are used to justify cruel and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, infanticide and child marriage, then we believe that is unacceptable.
Male domination, and the low and stigmatised status of women, cause teenage girls to engage in punishment of their bodies through eating disorders and self-mutilation. There is increasing evidence that woman-hating Western cultures are toxic to girls and very harmful to their mental health. It is, perhaps, not surprising, therefore, that there seem to be some girls baling out and seeking to upgrade their status.
The rule in our society is that while those who kill once make wretched a single person are severely punished, those (heads of state, inventors, manufacturers) who are responsible for the death, mutilation or general wretchedness of thousands or millions are rewarded with fame, riches and prizes... If you are going to rob, rob big; if you're going to kill, kill big.
Our characteristic response to the mutilated statue, the bronze dug up from the earth, is revealing. It is not that we prefer time-worn bas-reliefs, or rusted statuettes as such, nor is it the vestiges of death that grip us in them, but those of life. Mutilation is the scar left by the struggle with Time, and a reminder of it - Time which is as much a part of ancient works of art as the material they are made of, and thrusts up through the fissures, from a dark underworld, where all is at once chaos and determinism.
There has never been a 'war on drugs'! In our history we can only see an ongoing conflict amongst various drug users - and producers. In ancient Mexico the use of alcohol was punishable by death, while the ritualistic use of mescaline was highly worshipped. In 17th century Russia, tobacco smokers were threatened with mutilation or decapitation, alcohol was legal. In Prussia, coffee drinking was prohibited to the lower classes, the use of tobacco and alcohol was legal.
I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream - I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of medievalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal - to something finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals.
I can't find the compulsory mutilation of the genitals of children a subject for humor... It's designed to repress sexual pleasure... The full excision, not just the snip but the full mandatory covenant is fantastically painful, leads to trauma, leads to the dulling of the sexual relationship. And can be, in itself life-threatening at that moment. We have records, I can show them to you, of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds in the United States of boy babies who died or had life-threatening infections as a result of this disgusting practice.
The child tends to be stripped of all social influences but those of the market place, all sense of place, function and class is weakened, the characteristics of region and clan, neighborhood or kindred are attenuated. The individual is denuded of everything but appetities, desires and tastes, wrenched from any context of human obligation or commitment. It is a process of mutilation; and once this has been achieved, we are offered the consolation of reconstituting the abbreviated humanity out of the things and the goods around us, and the fantasies and vapors which they emit. A culture becomes the main determinant upon morality, beliefs and purposes, usurping more and more territory that formerly belonged to parents, teachers, community, priests and politics alike.
Who do I write for? I thought about this again and again over the next few days until the answer crystalized in my consciousness. I write for all readers. But my primary interest is in representing the complex but universal experience of Somalis. I do this because the media representation of the global Somali community is one that is carved out of derivative cliches crammed with pirates, warlords, terrorists, passive women and girls whose entire existence seems to be nothing more than a footnote on the primitive dangers of female genital mutilation. I write because I want to give a long-overdue voice to a community that has experienced a tremendous array of challenges but who constantly face these challenges with the most wicked sense of humour, humility and dignity. My father always used to tell me that in our culture, the done thing when you're facing hardship and your belly is empty is to moisturize your face, comb your hair, press your clothes and step out into the sun with your sense of humanity intact. It's a lesson I've carried with me to this day.
Why should I give up revenge? On behalf of what? Moral principles? And what of the higher order of things, in which evil deeds are punished? For you, a philosopher and ethicist, an act of revenge is bad, disgraceful, unethical and illegal. But I ask: where is the punishment for evil? Who has it and grants access? The Gods, in which you do not believe? The great demiurge-creator, which you decided to replace the gods with? Or maybe the law? [... ] I know what evil is afraid of. Not your ethics, Vysogota, not your preaching or moral treaties on the life of dignity. Evil is afraid of pain, mutilation, suffering and at the end of the day, death! The dog howls when it is badly wounded! Writhing on the ground and growls, watching the blood flow from its veins and arteries, seeing the bone that sticks out from a stump, watching its guts escape its open belly, feeling the cold as death is about to take them. Then and only then will evil begin to beg, 'Have mercy! I regret my sins! I'll be good, I swear! Just save me, do not let me waste away!'. Yes, hermit. That is the way to fight evil! When evil wants to harm you, inflict pain - anticipate them, it's best if evil does not expect it. But if you fail to prevent evil, if you have been hurt by evil, then avenge him! It is best when they have already forgotten, when they feel safe. Then pay them in double. In triple. An eye for an eye? No! Both eyes for an eye! A tooth for a tooth? No! All their teeth for a tooth! Repay evil! Make it wail in pain, howling until their eyes pop from their sockets. And then, you can look under your feet and boldly declare that what is there cannot endanger anyone, cannot hurt anyone. How can someone be a danger, when they have no eyes? How can someone hurt when they have no hands? They can only wait until they bleed to death.
Live or die, but don't poison everything... Well, death's been here for a long time - it has a hell of a lot to do with hell and suspicion of the eye and the religious objects and how I mourned them when they were made obscene by my dwarf-heart's doodle. The chief ingredient is mutilation. And mud, day after day, mud like a ritual, and the baby on the platter, cooked but still human, cooked also with little maggots, sewn onto it maybe by somebody's mother, the damn bitch! Even so, I kept right on going on, a sort of human statement, lugging myself as if I were a sawed-off body in the trunk, the steamer trunk. This became perjury of the soul. It became an outright lie and even though I dressed the body it was still naked, still killed. It was caught in the first place at birth, like a fish. But I play it, dressed it up, dressed it up like somebody's doll. Is life something you play? And all the time wanting to get rid of it? And further, everyone yelling at you to shut up. And no wonder! People don't like to be told that you're sick and then be forced to watch you come down with the hammer. Today life opened inside me like an egg and there inside after considerable digging I found the answer. What a bargain! There was the sun, her yolk moving feverishly, tumbling her prize - and you realize she does this daily! I'd known she was a purifier but I hadn't thought she was solid, hadn't known she was an answer. God! It's a dream, lovers sprouting in the yard like celery stalks and better, a husband straight as a redwood, two daughters, two sea urchings, picking roses off my hackles. If I'm on fire they dance around it and cook marshmallows. And if I'm ice they simply skate on me in little ballet costumes. Here, all along, thinking I was a killer, anointing myself daily with my little poisons. But no. I'm an empress. I wear an apron. My typewriter writes. It didn't break the way it warned. Even crazy, I'm as nice as a chocolate bar. Even with the witches' gymnastics they trust my incalculable city, my corruptible bed. O dearest three, I make a soft reply. The witch comes on and you paint her pink. I come with kisses in my hood and the sun, the smart one, rolling in my arms. So I say Live and turn my shadow three times round to feed our puppies as they come, the eight Dalmatians we didn't drown, despite the warnings: The abort! The destroy! Despite the pails of water that waited, to drown them, to pull them down like stones, they came, each one headfirst, blowing bubbles the color of cataract-blue and fumbling for the tiny tits. Just last week, eight Dalmatians, 3/4 of a lb., lined up like cord wood each like a birch tree. I promise to love more if they come, because in spite of cruelty and the stuffed railroad cars for the ovens, I am not what I expected. Not an Eichmann. The poison just didn't take. So I won't hang around in my hospital shift, repeating The Black Mass and all of it. I say Live, Live because of the sun, the dream, the excitable gift.
Let us fool ourselves no longer. At the very moment Western nations, threw off the ancient regime of absolute government, operating under a once-divine king, they were restoring this same system in a far more effective form in their technology, reintroducing coercions of a military character no less strict in the organization of a factory than in that of the new drilled, uniformed, and regimented army. During the transitional stages of the last two centuries, the ultimate tendency of this system might b e in doubt, for in many areas there were strong democratic reactions; but with the knitting together of a scientific ideology, itself liberated from theological restrictions or humanistic purposes, authoritarian technics found an instrument at hand that h as now given it absolute command of physical energies of cosmic dimensions. The inventors of nuclear bombs, space rockets, and computers are the pyramid builders of our own age: psychologically inflated by a similar myth of unqualified power, boasting through their science of their increasing omnipotence, if not omniscience, moved by obsessions and compulsions no less irrational than those of earlier absolute systems: particularly the notion that the system itself must be expanded, at whatever eventual co st to life. Through mechanization, automation, cybernetic direction, this authoritarian technics has at last successfully overcome its most serious weakness: its original dependence upon resistant, sometimes actively disobedient servomechanisms, still human enough to harbor purposes that do not always coincide with those of the system. Like the earliest form of authoritarian technics, this new technology is marvellously dynamic and productive: its power in every form tends to increase without limits, in quantities that defy assimilation and defeat control, whether we are thinking of the output of scientific knowledge or of industrial assembly lines. To maximize energy, speed, or automation, without reference to the complex conditions that sustain organic life, have become ends in themselves. As with the earliest forms of authoritarian technics, the weight of effort, if one is to judge by national budgets, is toward absolute instruments of destruction, designed for absolutely irrational purposes whose chief by-product would be the mutilation or extermination of the human race. Even Ashurbanipal and Genghis Khan performed their gory operations under normal human limits. The center of authority in this new system is no longer a visible personality, an all-powerful king: even in totalitarian dictatorships the center now lies in the system itself, invisible but omnipresent: all its human components, even the technical and managerial elite, even the sacred priesthood of science, who alone have access to the secret knowledge by means of which total control is now swiftly being effected, are themselves trapped by the very perfection of the organization they have invented. Like the Pharoahs of the Pyramid Age, these servants of the system identify its goods with their own kind of well-being: as with the divine king, their praise of the system is an act of self-worship; and again like the king, they are in the grip of an irrational compulsion to extend their means of control and expand the scope of their authority. In this new systems-centered collective, this Pentagon of power, there is no visible presence who issues commands: unlike job's God, the new deities cannot be confronted, still less defied. Under the pretext of saving labor, the ultimate end of this technics is to displace life, or rather, to transfer the attributes of life to the machine and the mechanical collective, allowing only so much of the organism to remain as may be controlled and manipulated.