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Desert flower, Waris Dirie

Another of my 'old goodreads reviews'. I remember how touched I was by this book and I'm sure I will never foget it.

In my opinion this is a tremendously important book. It is not just a wonderful memoir and a tale of amazing bravery of Waris Dirie, but also an detail account of FGM from the perspective of a victim. The reason why I picked up this book was mainly because I wanted to learn something more about FGM. I did learn something more, the kind of information that is personal not just theoretical. In addition, Waris does not only tell her story. She tells the story of other women she had known that have suffered and in some cases had died because of FGM. Reading about FGM from Waris' experience( as a personal account of someone who had been subjected to it) was emotionally difficult yet I think to understand even a glimpse of what these women go to it is necessary to hear the story as they tell it. 

What I didn't know before reading this book is that the practice of FGM is actually increasing not decreasing as immigrant are taking this terrible custom with them into the western world. To be honest, I'm sometimes frustrated by the feminist associations because to me they seem to worry about such insignificant things. Personally I don't care would someone call me signorina or signora, miss or mrs, madam or mademoiselle .There are more important problems that women worldwide are facing ! FGM is a burning issue and it deserves even more attention. There is so much violence that happens to women in the name of religion and tradition. However, in my view the practice of FGM is by far the worst thing. There are probably more victims of FGM than of wars in some areas- and the victims are mostly little girls. Unfortunately, things like this often go unnoticed. It seems to me that when people say that they don't want to interfere with somebody's religious liberties, they mean that they don't care enough to do something about the victims of specific 'religious liberties'. (What is the big thing about religion liberty anyway? Why does religious liberty often include hurting someone else? Shouldn't the goal of religion be aspiring to a personal relationship with God? Well, it's not the goal of religion- from what I see the purpose of religion is to organize people who believe in the same things so they could feel cozy and secure surrounded by people who are just afraid to question things as they are...)

While reading „The Desert Flower" I found myself immersed in Waris' honest and simple narrative of her life. Aside for being interested in Waris' life story I also found her personality fascinating. Waris is such a brave women, a wonderful example of what is best in a human spirit. Her reflections on special moments in her life as a nomad and as a supermodel were honest and often humorous. Waris is a survivor and I admire her greatly for having the courage to talk about all the things that she so openly talks about in this book, from the FGM to fashion industry. Despite all the hardship she had endured, Waris is so full of life and ready to make the most of every situation she finds herself in. She even has courage to be a mother and to find love. After all that she has gone through, she looks at a world without hate just with concern. The fact is that Waris is prepared to risk being killed by some fundamentalist because of all the things she has to tell. The least that everyone can do is listen to what she has to say- read this book and hear her out. 

I found so many of her thoughts to be not just true but also important. Many of them have gone through my head at some point in my life. For instance, why do they always make Afican models wear so much white foundation? Waris describes at one point how she felt frustrated because she felt that they were trying to turn her into a twisted black version of Cindy Crawford. As far I can see it, this is a trend that it is not going away. I will never understand why they are putting so much white powder all those female African actresses, politicians, models, TV personalities etc...When I see all those beautiful faces looking unnatural because they are painted in white, it really makes me sad. What they could be implying? . 

I've read this book last night and I really enjoyed reading it. I even wouldn't mind if the book was longer. (There are sequels, right? I plan to read those.) Despite the fact that Waris talks about horrific things, this is one of the most uplifting books I have read because it really is a story of survival of an amazing woman.


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