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 " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"

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candygirl
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PostSubject: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:17 pm

There is an ongoing assault on Liberian culture, and the Poro and Sande Institutions, along with the traditional legal tool of Sassywood, are the most targeted. The government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has outlawed sassywood without consulting with traditional leaders, while a number of foreign-funded NGOs have sprung up across Monrovia with the mission to abolish the Poro and Sande Institutions by discrediting the traditional practices even where they admit publicly that activities of the Sande and Sande Institutions are known only to graduates of those institutions.

Even the IRIN report, which is being posted here, admits that the writers of the story know little or nothing about the Poro and Sande Institutions of Liberia, yet think they describing these traditional learning institutions as "secret society" might some-how undermine the standings of these institutions in Liberia, as if the western security agencies, fraternities, sororities, state operations, and professdional practices in any field are not restricted to "members only." But many Liberians and other Africans don't know the worth of their own culture, so they become the tools of these western entities in discrediting their own cultural practices.

And so it is not surprising that Mary Mah, who the IRIN report identifies as a "Government health worker" can problem publicly that "Over 20 percent of the initiates [graduates of the Sande Institution] die from excessive bleeding after their clitoris has been removed." Oh, well, what more can the western nation not get in Liberia? If a Liberian government employee can give out such alarming health statistics off the cuff about Sande Institution for which she cannot produce any veriafiable documentary evidence since no Liberian woman is inclined to walk into a health center in Liberia to proclaim herself a graduate of the Sande Institution, one might be hard pressed to know where Ms. Mah got her statistics from.

But thank God that Ms. Mah's guesstimate is not left unchallenged. Mrs. Catherine Watson Khasu, a trained lawyer, former Liberian Foreign Service Officer, and currently Superintendent of Grand Cape Mount County, and a graduate of the Sande Institution has called Ms. Mah and her collaborators on their bluff about the harmfulness of the Sande Institution.

The IRIN might have deliberately subordinated her views about the Sande Institution to the last two paragraphs of the article, but her views are potent enough to dispel the myths about the Sande Institution in Liberia. Superintendent Watson Khasu was quoted by IRIN as saying the following:

"People have said all sorts of things against our cultural heritage, which are not true. I am a member of the Sande [Society] and I'm proud of it. There is nothing harmful about the Sande.

"We know the [1989-2003 civil] war did a lot of damage to our country, but that does not mean we should desecrate our traditional shrines." -- Catherine Watson Khasu, Superintendent of Grand Cape Mount County.

Nat Galarea Gbessagee

9/25/08

The IRIN story:

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candygirl
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:18 pm

Liberia : FGM Continues in Rural Secrecy



UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

24 September 2008
Posted to the web 25 September 2008

Monrovia

Thousands of young girls annually prepare for their initiation into a women's secret association, Sande Society, which operates mostly in Liberia , Sierra Leone and Guinea .

As part of their initiation, young women take a vow of secrecy after weeks of training in the forest, promising not to not tell uninitiated girls or men what happens to them, to assume new names, and to have their clitorises cut off - known as female genital mutilation (FGM) - according to women in the secret society.

About half of Liberia 's some 16 ethnic groups, including the Bassa, Mende, Gola and Kissi, observe the rules of this historically- secret, centuries-old society.

One Mende member from Tubmanburg, Western Liberia , who asked not to be named, told IRIN removing a girl's clitoris helps her become a "prolific child bearer."

Another member, 42-year-old Jebbeh Sonneh, explained to IRIN, "Those who perform such [FGM] acts are typically elderly women in the community designated for the task, or traditional birth attendants."

Secrecy shrouds outreach

Sociologist Theo Kerkulah at the University of Liberia in Monrovia says even though the practice of rural forest initiations is common in Liberia , it is not openly discussed. "It is a difficult topic to teach. Most girls who joined the society are now in the classroom and never feel happy when you talk about it in the open. They feel [it is a betrayal]. Perhaps because of the myths that are associated with it."

Kerkulah says the girls are bound by secrecy vows and the time they spend together in the forest where they undergo training to enter adulthood, learning domestic skills and moral lessons.

The lecturer told IRIN many girls believe the spirit of Sande, the guardian of women, guides them into and during adulthood.

Monrovia-based medical researcher Deddeh Siah says physical pain is an additional factor binding the young girls, "In some Sandes [initiates], not only is her genitalia removed, the student is marked [cut] so that large scars remain on the skin of the initiate for life."

She estimates about 5,000 puberty-aged adolescents join the group every year, either by force or choice.

Culture can kill

Sandes are a part of Liberia 's cultural heritage, says Jomo Weah who works at a government-run culture centre in Kendeja, on the outskirts of Monrovia . "We cannot stop it. It is our culture. We can only intervene by allowing them to go about doing it when the girls are on school break."

Local civil society groups including Girls Movement for Education have tried to discourage parents from allowing their girls to join Sande Society.

Government health worker Mary Mah says FGM is killing hundreds of girls in Liberia every year. "Over 20 percent of the initiates die from excessive bleeding after their clitoris has been removed."

Mah told IRIN if excessive pain and extreme bleeding do not kill the girls, FGM can scar or disfigure her for life. "Risk of serious potentially life-threatening complications [include] ongoing bleeding, infection including HIV, urine retention, stress, shock...[and] psychological trauma."

Catherine Watson Khasu, an elected leader in Grand Cape Mount County in Western Liberia , about 140 km from Monrovia , dismisses these risks, "People have said all sorts of things against our cultural heritage, which are not true. I am a member of the Sande [Society] and I'm proud of it. There is nothing harmful about the Sande."

She told IRIN the government and human rights organisations should respect the tradition of Liberia 's indigenous groups, "We know the [1989-2003 civil] war did a lot of damage to our country, but that does not mean we should desecrate our traditional shrines."




"People have said all sorts of things against our cultural heritage, which are not true. I am a member of the Sande [Society] and I'm proud of it. There is nothing harmful about the Sande.

"We know the [1989-2003 civil] war did a lot of damage to our country, but that does not mean we should desecrate our traditional shrines." -- Catherine Watson Khasu, a lawyer, former Foreign Service Office, and currently Superintendent, Grand Cape Mount County

Source: IRIN via allAfrica.com

Nat Galarea Gbessagee

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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:27 pm

damn damn damn...talk about dangerous people! u know who i talking about candy angry1
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candygirl
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:29 pm

krazzy wrote:
damn damn damn...talk about dangerous people! u know who i talking about candy angry1
th_mrgreen
i do. or i think i do. hahaha
anyway.. you never some things sista No th_yes-1

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krazzy



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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:45 pm

well she will not be involved in whatever we plan to do on that end...culture my ass. th_bs
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candygirl
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:49 pm

krazzy wrote:
well she will not be involved in whatever we plan to do on that end...culture my ass. th_bs
you own pa. : smile_tongue

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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:52 pm

candy...to respect our culture has many sides...which ones violate our rights and which ones are productive? what is the benefit of FGM? because she was unfortunate to get #$% without her consent, she believes every girl shd endure that pain and suffering? th_bs th_no
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:55 pm

krazzy wrote:
candy... because she was unfortunate to get #$% without her consent, she believes every girl shd endure that pain and suffering? th_bs th_no
thats the mentality of many...

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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:00 am

let me come put money in my budget to kick asses th_yes
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candygirl
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:05 am

krazzy wrote:
let me come put money in my budget to kick asses th_yes
th_boogie

nopw thats what i am talking about smile_approve

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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:08 am

There are serious problem with our informal educational system. I think the bad topple the good and we need to address that in the context of relativity. That is why i am proposing the holding of an All Liberian Conference in Monrovia. This conference should address all the issues facing us as a nation as we move forward...
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:23 am

bellah, when your having this conference? u always talking about it. : smile_tongue i hope allz well!
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:49 am

krazzy wrote:
bellah, when your having this conference? u always talking about it. : smile_tongue i hope allz well!

We are trying to bring the Government on board so that the resolution emanating from the conference will have teeth. The fellows in the diaspora have already had one along with their European Counterpart. The final one will be in Monrovia. Ma Ellen supported the idea before the Election but is acting slow to see it coming true. Hope she can support it again and then we will all be in Monrovia to brain storm.
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:52 am

why can't civil society meet and think without government? serious. dont we matter or have 'teeth' in the running of this country?
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PostSubject: Re: " There is nothing Wrong with Sande Society"   Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:07 am

Civil society and all the stake holders need to be there but GOL need to create an enabling environment for said meeting. GOL will implement the recommendation so she needs to lend her support so that we all can be on one accord for the good of the nation.
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