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The Six-Day War and FGM

In the Cairo newsroom during a quiet moment after the 1967 Six-Day War a young Egyptian reporter told me of his first attempt at writing a feature for Reuters. In those days features were known as “situationers” and mailed to London. He chose a subject he had seen little written about - FGM or female genital mutilation. The features editor, a prim English woman who joined Reuters in the 1930s, sent it back to him with the annotation: “This is obscene! We cannot use it.” Nowadays each time I see a story about FGM in the newspapers or on the Reuters file I think of this young Egyptian journalist and his first bold attempt at writing a situationer. ■