Uganda Outlaws Female Circumcision

Earlier this month, the African country of Uganda passed a law banning female genital mutilation -- a common practice in the country’s eastern region with pastoralist tribes. Also known as “female circumcision,” the term “mutilation” is more fitting for this procedure, which involves the cutting, removal and/or modification of a female’s genitalia. The reasons for FGM vary; some think that it keeps a woman more “pure,” others reason (unsoundly) that it will aid feminine hygiene.

FGM can happen to girls anytime from infancy into their teenage years, and keeps its subjects from ever experiencing any sexual pleasure. The young girls have no say or choice in the matter. FGM has long been a heavily controversial and heated human rights subject among activists. Thanks to Uganda for taking a stand against an unnecessary and inhumane practice. Here’s hoping other countries follow its lead.

No Laughter Here is a novel about two fifth graders -- one an African-American from Queens and one an immigrant from Nigeria -- and how this issue touches their friendship. The book rules, and there are discussion questions up on, in case you wanna chat about it later.