Alice Walker testimonial with the link to her appreciation of Waging Empathy.
WAGING EMPATHY: ALICE WALKER, POSSESSING THE SECRET OF JOY, AND THE GLOBAL MOVEMENT TO BAN FGM
Edited by Tobe Levin
I met Tobe Levin in London at the 2013 premier of Pratibha Parmar’s Beauty In Truth, a film about my life. Sure enough, on the back cover of this book there is a photograph of us looking happy to be standing together. Because the event was full, and jubilantly noisy, I did not take in what Levin was telling me about a book being published, which she edited, that focussed on my work against the practice of female genital cutting, or FGM (female genital mutilation). A couple of years later, someone whose handmade shoes I’d admired, sent me a pair of beribboned, golden slippers she’d made for me, along with two copies of Tobe Levin’s book.
There are wonderful things happening in this world, surprising things; I like to feel everyone will eventually receive their dancing shoes. I felt I had received my own, as I opened this volume of essays from scholars around the world who showed up to support the struggle of Tashi, the woman who elects to be genitally mutilated in POSSESSING THE SECRET OF JOY, and by extension all of our sisters and female children in their millions who, because of FGM, are liable to endure lifetimes of physical and psychological pain.
Each essay on the novel, no matter the country, is rich, deep, thoughtful, engaging. I like it that this international bouquet of insights will reach students, or any reader, in ways that make FGM and its victims and perpetrators easier to understand. After all, it is comprehension not punishment we seek, since we realize everyone in a culture loses when the cries of a deliberately wounded child fall on ears too wounded to hear.
There is room for every point of view, as well, if we wish, finally, to see clearly.
When the academy joins the rebel our chances of success are doubled.
Three deep bows. Three energetic cheers.