Împrumuturile nete acordate de Banca Centrala Europeana bancilor spaniole au atins nivelul record de 337,2 miliarde de euro în luna iunie, fata de 288 miliarde euro în luna mai, a anuntat vineri Banca cetnrala a Spaniei, transmite AFP, citata de Agerpres.
Bancile spaniole se îndreapta din ce în ce mai mult spre fondurile oferite de BCE, în conditiile în care au dificultati în a strânge bani de pe piata interbancara. Acest lucru a facut ca împrumuturile bancilor spaniole de la BCE sa atinga valori record în fiecare luna dupa februarie 2012.
Potrivit cifrelor oficiale, împrumuturile brute ale bancilor spaniole de la BCE au crescut la 365 miliarde euro în luna iunie de la 325 miliarde euro în luna mai, fiind responsabile pentru 30% din împrumuturile totale în zona euro. În schimb, depozitele bancilor spaniole la BCE au scazut la 27,99 miliarde dolari în luna iunie de la 36,83 miliarde euro în luna mai.
La începutul acestei luni Spania a devenit cea de-a patra tara membra a zonei euro care a cerut în mod oficial ajutorul Uniunii Europene pentru a-si sprijini sectorul bancar. Bancile spaniole vor beneficia de un prim împrumut, în valoare de 30 de miliarde de euro, la sfârsitul lunii iulie.
It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16th July at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family.
Jon Lord, the legendary keyboard player with Deep Purple co-wrote many of the bands legendary songs including Smoke On The Water and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career.
Best known for his Orchestral work Concerto for Group & Orchestra first performed at Royal Albert Hall with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and conducted by the renowned Malcolm Arnold, a feat repeated in 1999 when it was again performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and Deep Purple.
Jon’s solo work was universally acclaimed when he eventually retired from Deep Purple in 2002.
Jon passes from Darkness to Light.
Jon Lord 9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012.
Born in Leicester, England, Jon Lord started to play classical piano from the age of five being influenced by Bach, Medieval music and the English tradition of Elgar. At 18 years of age Lord moved to London, originally intending to take up an acting career.
To earn some money in his spare time Lord joined the jazz ensemble Bill Ashton Combo before going on join other bands such as the Artwoods and the Flower Pot Men. It was when he formed the Santa Barbara Machine Head (Which featured Art Wood on vocals and Ronnie Wood on guitar) that Lord found his style of playing the Hammond organ in a heavy blues direction with plenty of distortion. A sound for which Lord would later become world famous for.
During his time as a session player Lord would also provide the keyboards for The Kinks hit 'You Really Got Me' in 1964.
Following a suggestion from his room mate Chris Curtis of the Searchers, Jon Lord met up with manager Tony Edwards in 1967 and met Ritchie Blackmore for the first time to form a band that was originally to be called Roundabout along with Ian Paice on drums and Rod Evans, vocals and Nick Simpler on bass. With a name change to Deep Purple, the band were influenced by American rockers Vanilla Fudge whom Lord had seen in concert the same year. They made their debut, 'Shades Of Deep Purple', and a cover of the Joe South song 'Hush' was a massive hit Stateside.
This line up made three albums with the third self titled album 'Deep Purple' featuring the track 'April' which had a classical introduction written by Lord.
In 1969 Ian Gillan and Roger Glover replaced Evans and Simper in the band and the classic Mk II line up was formed. However the first major task for the new boys was not an easy one as much against the rest of the band's wishes Deep Purple were to perform at the Royal Albert Hall London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform a piece written by Jon Lord.
This caused quite a stir at the time with classical loving members of the public being offended that their music was being hijacked by a group of long haired beatniks.
The event was a success and gave Jon Lord and the band some much needed publicity although a certain Blackmore wasn't too happy that Lord was getting all the spotlight and was seen as the main focus of the band.
In 1970 'Deep Purple... In Rock' was released and saw the band move in a much more progressive hard rock direction and paved the way for the band to become one of the biggest heavy rock bands in the word along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
'...In Rock' featured the distorted Hammond sounds of Lord and the fast demonic anger of Blackmore's guitar with screaming vocals from Gillan with thunderbolting rhythm from Glover and Paice and included the classics 'Speed King' and 'Child In Time' which had an eerie intro written by Jon Lord although it was cheekily borrowed from a song called 'Bombay Calling' by the folk band It's A Beautiful Day who would in return steal Purple's 'Wring That Neck' for their own use. The album was a massive hit and really opened them up to the European market.
The Mk II line-up would make three more albums including the experimental 'Fireball' in 71 and for many the ultimate classic with 'Machine Head' in 72 which featured 'Highway Star' and Deep Purple's most popular song 'Smoke On The Water' written after the band witnessed a fire at a Frank Zappa concert whilst recording the album in Montreux, Switzerland.
Deep Purple would also release one of the first milestone live albums with 'Made In Japan' which showcased the improvisations the band were famously were becoming known for in the live setting.
Although Ian Gillan left the band and Roger Glover quickly followed suit there was no let up in the rolling of the Deep Purple machine with the new boys, a young David Coverdale on vocals and from Trapeze, Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals.
With the release of 'Burn' in 1974, Deep Purple were one of the biggest grossing rock bands which saw the band fly around the world in their own private jet and headline the Californian Jam in front of a reported 250,00 people on a bill that also included ELP and Black Sabbath amongst many others.
Later that year they would release another studio album in 'Stormbringer', the last to feature Blackmore who was unhappy in the new funky soul direction the band was moving into.
Whilst all this success was going on Jon Lord still found time to work on classical projects including 'Gemini Suite', 'Windows' and 'Sarabande' as well as an album with Tony Ashton with 'Last Of The Big Bands' and a film soundtrack with 'The Last Rebel'.
There was one more album with Deep Purple in 'Come Taste The Band' in 1975 with new American guitarist Tommy Bolin. After a disastrous Asian tour the band finally imploded after a gig in Liverpool in 76 and Ian Paice and Jon Lord agreed to call Deep Purple a day. The drugs, stress and hard touring had finally taken their toll.
However it didn't take long for Jon Lord and Ian Paice to join forces again with Lord's old buddy Tony Ashton to form the short lived Paice, Ashton, Lord - or PAL for short - to record one album 'Malice In Wonderland', A funky jazz affair which also featured Bernie Marsden on guitar.
Between 1978-84 Jon Lord joined former Purple singer David Coverdale in Whitesnake who at times also had Ian Paice in the band.
Although the band were popular having hit albums and singles, Jon Lord was unhappy at just being a hired gun and not having the room to express himself in his playing as he had in Purple. With Coverdale wanting the age group of the band under the forty age bracket Lord left the band.
Jon Lord also found time to record another solo album in 82 with 'Before I Forget'.
In 1984 the world expressed surprise as one of the first ever reformations of a major rock band took place as it was announced that the classic Deep Purple Mk II line up of Gillan-Glover-Lord-Paice-Blackmore would record a new album and tour the world.
The resulting album, 'Perfect Strangers', didn't set the world alight as before but was still regarded as a good solid rock album. The reformation gave Jon Lord the chance again to hammer away on the Hammond to the delight of many rock fans.
Although the reformed Deep Purple would take many twists and turns throughout the years with Gillan leaving and re-rejoining and Canadian Steve Morse replacing Blackmore, giving Purple yet another new dimension and this line up toured the world harder than ever before.
Jon Lord finally retired from Deep Purple in 2002 reportedly after having trouble after knee surgery, but Lord was also finding life on the road a chore and was very saddened to be away on tour when his best friend Tony Ashton sadly passed away.
Jon Lord played his last official gig with Deep Purple in Ipswich 2002 but has guested with the band on many occasions since then. Jon Lord gave his blessing for Don Airey to be his replacement.
Jon Lord continued to make music and made the classical albums 'Pictured Within', 'Beyond The Notes' and more recently 'To Notice Such Things' which was released in 2010. Lord has continued to do occasional concerts, mainly in Germany and East Europe in places such as Bulgaria and Hungary despite having to receive treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Lord held a positive attitude in fighting the disease and more recently had been touring a re-working of 'Sarabande'.
Jon Lord has moved from darkness to light. He leaves behind his wife Vickie Lord and his daughters Amy and Sara.
Jonathan Douglas Lord 9th June 1941- 16th July 2012
Once in a great while an opportunity comes along to deliver justice to a people, giving them what they truly deserve. Greece’s time has come.
It must be dawning on all but the most obtuse member of the banking elite that they can’t possibly steal enough money from German taxpayers to save the Greek government from default. Put it off, maybe, but collapse is inevitable.
Once this happens, what is the purpose of casting Greece into some selective temporary financial purgatory where the irrelevant Greek economy can continue embarrassing anyone foolish enough to lend their dysfunctional government a dime? Why not go all the way and give the country what many of its people have been violently demanding for almost a century?
Let them have Communism.
Hard as it is for young people to believe, Communism was once a major historical force holding billions of people in thrall. Outside the halls of elite universities, who still takes it seriously? Sure we have Cuba, where the Castro deathwatch is the last thing standing between that benighted penal colony and an inevitable makeover by Club Med. Then there is Venezuela, though hope is fading that Hugo Chavez will carry the Bolivarian banner much longer now that he’s busy sucking down FOLFOX cocktails while checking for signs that his hair is falling out. And frankly, a psychopathic family dynasty ruling a nation of stunted zombies hardly makes North Korea a proper Communist exemplar.
What the world needs, lest we forget, is a contemporary example of Communism in action. What better candidate than Greece? They’ve been pining for it for years, exhibiting a level of anti-capitalist vitriol unmatched in any developed country. They are temperamentally attuned to it, having driven all hard working Greeks abroad in search of opportunity. They pose no military threat to their neighbors, unless you quake at the sight of soldiers marching around in white skirts. And they have all the trappings of a modern Western nation, making them an uncompromised test bed for Marxist theories. Just toss them out of the European Union, cut off the flow of free Euros, and hand them back the printing plates for their old drachmas. Then stand back for a generation and watch.
The land that invented democracy used it to perfect the art of living at the expense of others, an example all Western democracies appear intent on emulating. Being the first to run out of other people’s money makes Greece truly ripe to take the next logical step beyond socialism.
As wrenching as it will be we can take comfort in the fact that Greece doesn’t have much of an economy to disrupt. The only Greek industry that’s worth a damn is tourism, rapidly collapsing as travelers get tired of being stranded by strikes while dodging Molotov cocktails. The rest of us can find plenty of other sources of lamb chops, yogurt, and olive oil. They crushed the concept of private property long ago under the burden of environmental, cultural, and social regulations that govern land use. Wouldn’t it be instructive to let them have a go at building a workers’ paradise to remind us what state enforced equality looks like?
Unlike neighboring Balkan nations that got to experience the joys of Communism after the Second World War, Greece was brought back from the brink by massive western intervention as well as a Churchillian side deal that obliged Stalin to butt out. The nasty civil war between the Greek Communist Party (the KKE) and government forces backed by Britain and the U.S. set the stage for decades of struggle between communist sympathizers who never gave up the dream, and right wing juntas determined to rule by force. The uneasy peace that has existed since the colonels were booted merely masks underlying tensions as every Greek worries, is someone else working fewer hours than I am?
How Greece conned its way into the European Union while hard working Turkey was left begging is a testament to the astute diplomats in Brussels, no doubt consulting their playbook on what dodge they can conjure up next to stick someone else with the bill. Why the E.U. extended credit to a nation whose governments have been in a chronic state of default since the country gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832 is a fitting subject for a News of the World expose. Perhaps they were being advised by Fannie Mae.
So despite the frantic meetings, the tragicomedy nears its final act. It’s time for the global financial industry to pull up stakes and go home before more innocent bank employees get immolated. If you don’t want the real contagion to spread, that is the disease of believing you can perpetually consume more than you produce, leave Greece to the Greeks and let the bankers take their lumps.
As difficult as it is for a Greek-American like myself to admit, resting on 2,000 year old laurels is a stale act. While few cultures can proudly look back on as many achievements in the arts, drama, athletics, philosophy, rhetoric, and architecture that were the glory of Greece, it’s time for modern Greeks to take a good hard look at themselves. What have they done for the world lately? More importantly, what are they prepared to do to help themselves? If they can’t face that question then it’s time to sing the Internationale.
Source: Forbes.com - Author: Bill Frezza, Contributor
Both tunnels were at least 150 yards long. One, found on Wednesday by the Mexican army, began under a bathroom sink inside a warehouse in Tijuana but was unfinished and did not cross the border into San Diego.
The other was completed and discovered on Saturday in a vacant strip mall storefront in the south-western Arizona city of San Luis.
It showed a level of sophistication not typically associated with other crude smuggling passageways that tie into storm drains in the state.
Douglas Coleman, special agent in charge of the Phoenix division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said: "When you see what is there and the way they designed it, it wasn't something that your average miner could put together.
"You would need someone with some engineering expertise to put something together like this."
As US authorities heighten enforcement on land, tunnels have become an increasingly common way to smuggle loads of heroin, marijuana and other drugs into the country. More than 70 passages have been found on the border since October 2008, surpassing the number of discoveries in the previous six years.
A total of 156 secret tunnels have been found along the border since 1990, the vast majority of them incomplete.
Raids last November on two tunnels linking San Diego and Tijuana netted a combined 52 tonnes of marijuana on both sides of the border. In early December 2009, authorities found an incomplete tunnel that stretched nearly 900ft into San Diego from Tijuana, equipped with a lift at the Mexican entrance.
The latest Arizona tunnel was discovered after state police pulled over a man who had 39 pounds of methamphetamine in his vehicle and mentioned the strip mall.
The tunnel was found beneath a water tank in a storage room and stretched across the border to an ice-plant business in the Mexican city of San Luis Rio Colorado. It was reinforced with four-by-six beams and lined with plywood.
Investigators believe the tunnel was not in operation for long because there was little wear on its floor, and 55-gallon drums containing extracted dirt had not been removed from the property.
Mr Coleman said investigators cannot yet say for sure if the tunnel, estimated to cost 1.5 million US dollars (Ł970,000) to build, was operated by the powerful Sinaloa cartel. Authorities suspect cartel involvement because the group from Sinaloa controls smuggling routes into Arizona.
"Another cartel wasn't going to roll into that area and put down that kind of money in Sinaloa territory," Mr Coleman said.
"Nobody is going to construct this tunnel without significant cartel leadership knowing what's going on."
US authorities were investigating the Tijuana tunnel for three months, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Authorities found no connections to the smuggling operation involving the Arizona passageway.
The Tijuana tunnel was discovered inside a building advertised as a recycling plant in an area where industrial warehouses are common on both sides of the border.
The Mexican army said two tractor-trailers were found inside the warehouse, along with shovels, drills, pickaxes, buckets and other excavation tools.
The Mexican army estimated the tunnel was about 150 yards long and more than 10 yards underground. The walls were lined with dirt and wide enough for one person to get through comfortably.
It takes six months to a year to build a tunnel, authorities said. Workers use shovels and pickaxes to slowly dig through the soil, sleeping in buildings where the tunnels begin until the job is done. Sometimes they use pneumatic tools.
In the 18 months since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood has risen swiftly from the cave to the castle. It founded the now-dominant Freedom and Justice Party last April, won a massive plurality in the winter parliamentary elections, and, last week, celebrated as its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, won Egypt's presidential elections. After 84 years of using its nationwide social services networks to build an Islamic state in Egypt from the ground up, the Brotherhood is, for the first time, poised to shape Egyptian society from the top down.
Mursi delivers a speech during a ceremony in which the military handed over power to him. (Courtesy Reuters)
There is, however, a catch: most of the Brotherhood's gains exist in name only. In early June, a court order invalidated the parliamentary elections and dissolved the Brotherhood-dominated parliament. Then, just prior to the second round of the presidential elections, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued a constitutional declaration that seized executive authority from the presidency, ultimately rendering Morsi a mostly powerless figure.
But after weeks of mounting tension with the SCAF, including mass demonstrations against the junta's power grab, the Brotherhood is dialing things down. It fears that agitating for more authority now could foment unrest and alienate a deeply divided public. It is also wary of what happened in Algeria in 1991, when the country's military-backed government responded to the electoral victory of an Islamist party with a harsh crackdown that culminated in civil war. To avoid further violence and cement its place in Egyptian politics, the Brotherhood now hopes to create a period of calm in the short run so that it can act more assertively in the future...
The conference, being held in New York from July 2-27, will include all major producers, exporters and importers of conventional arms.
It is hoped the resulting treaty would make the international arms trade more responsible, help alleviate human suffering and curb the illicit trade in arms and weapons.
Crucial for the outcome of the negotiations will be the positions of countries such as the United States, Russia and China, all of whom have reservations about certain aspects.
Diplomats and non-governmental organisations are hoping for a robust treaty, even if not all states end up signing it.
In this regard they are referring to the impact of the treaty on banning anti-personnel mines. Even though big producer countries have not adhered to the Ottawa treaty, production and use of these mines are becoming less frequent since the adoption of the convention.
No globally binding rules While the world trade in many goods such as exotic woods, dinosaur bones or bananas is covered by binding regulations, no such rules exist with regards to the international trade in conventional arms.
“Many people are just shocked when they hear this,” Jeff Abramson, director of the Control Arms campaign told swissinfo.ch.
Control Arms is a global civil society alliance that has been campaigning for an arms trade treaty for years.
Amnesty International, one of the alliance’s founding members, summarises the ramifications of this lack of regulation: every minute somewhere in the world someone dies in a war, from excessive use of weapons violence or because of a crime – more than half a million people a year.
Possible stumbling blocks A few days before the start of the conference, Abramson was taking a cautiously optimistic stand.
“Looking at it under a longer time-frame we’re at a good point now. There’s a lot of energy around,” he said. Sure, a lot of work remains to be done, “but major arms producer countries are on board”.
He pointed out that there were open questions and sceptics among the countries. Among them the United States, which has reservations about the inclusion of ammunition in the accord. Or Russia and China with their reservations regarding human rights protection and how this should have an impact on the approval of arms transfer requests.
The current example of Syria, Abramson said, showed the importance of curbing the irresponsible trade in arms on a global level.
“Now, Russia just points out that there is no United Nations arms embargo against Syria, therefore, their reasoning goes, no rules are broken.”
“Golden Rule” “For us it is essential that the protection of human rights and international humanitarian law stands at the centre of the treaty. We call it the ‘Golden Rule’ with which those rights must be protected,” he said.
This rule must bind all states to analyse whether arms transferred to another state are likely to be used for serious human rights abuses. If that is the case, there can be no approval for a requested transfer.
Some states have expressed reservations about those human rights safeguards.
“It's all about the formulation,” Abramson said. For Control Arms there’s no question: in case of a risk of human rights violations any export approval must be denied and the formulation must therefore include the words “shall not”. China and Russia and most Middle Eastern Countries opt for less stringent wording.
The alliance wants to see a comprehensive treaty that incorporates all kinds of conventional arms and weaponry as well as a system for registering all arms deals and a control mechanism.
If the conference comes to a decision by consensus, with a common denominator that is not too weak, the alliance would consider the accord a “first big step, with further steps to come”, Abramson said.
Small arms and light weapons “Switzerland is among those states with ambitious goals for a strong and efficient treaty. We want an accord that is transparent, non-discriminatory and universal,” Serge Bavaud, expert for security and military questions at Switzerland’s Mission to the United Nations in New York, told swissinfo.ch.
A central aspect of the treaty is the standards to be set for any transnational transfers. The treaty should make reference to the UN Charter and Switzerland wants approval for exporting or transferring arms to be given only if there is no danger that these arms will lead to violations of human rights or international humanitarian law.
The Swiss also want clear and transparent obligations for national implementation of the treaty’s rules in the individual states.
“From our point of view it is very important that the small arms and light weapons are included,” Bavaud said, because those were the weapons harming civilians most often.
“If those weapons are not part of the accord, its values will be strongly limited.”
Roche è stata condannata da un tribunale americano a versare 18 milioni di dollari di risarcimento danni a due pazienti che avevano utilizzato l'Accutane. La giuria dello stato del New Jersey a ritenuto il gruppo farmaceutico colpevole di non aver sufficiente messo in guardia dai rischi.
I due pazienti avevano assunto il trattamento contro l'acne di Roche negli anni '90 e riportato un'infiammazione all'intestino, ha precisato il loro rappresentate legale, lo studio Seeger Weiss. La denuncia collettiva riguardava in tutto quattro persone; due casi sono tuttavia stati respinti dal tribunale.
In Europa il medicinale incriminato è commercializzato con il nome di Roaccutan. Lanciato sul mercato nel 1982, è accusato di aver gravi effetti secondari, in particolare psichici quali attacchi di panico, anoressia o pulsioni suicide. In Svizzera finora sono stati segnalati sei casi di suicidio.
Banca Nationala a României (BNR) a înregistrat anul trecut un profit de circa 71,7 milioane de euro, cu 79% mai redus decât în 2010, potrivit raportului anual pentru 2011.
"Profitul înregistrat de banca centrala în anul 2011 a fost generat, în principal, de operatiunile de administrare a activelor si pasivelor în valuta, în contextul unui management performant al acestora, care a permis obtinerea unor randamente pozitive", se arata în raportul facut public luni.
În 2010, BNR a înregistrat un profit de circa 339,1 milioane de euro.
The Ministry of Defense has put the contracts for 30,000 modern assault rifles out to tender to major arms producers around the world to supply the “civilian police” with the state-of-the-art weaponry by 2014 under the pretext of fighting terrorists and criminal gangs.
Media reports said the police chiefs are already considering arming their officers with the Canadian-made C8 SFW carbine, the same assault rifle the Special Air Service uses in its high-profile operations.
Some of the features the police want to ensure the new rifles have are being adaptable to use of grenade launchers, silencers and different sights.
There are fears that bringing the battlefield weapons to the streets of London and other cities across Britain could be a prelude to even deeper suppression of protest movements after tackling of demonstrations over the past two years sparked condemnations from human rights groups.
Wearing a pale pink headscarf and a long floral skirt, she meets me at the train station in Basel so we can take the tram to her home. She’s warm and chatty, and soon whips out her gold-tone iPhone to show off photos of her three children.
Originally from Sudan, Amal Bürgin has lived in Switzerland for many years. She and her Swiss husband have two sons and a daughter, aged between four and 11. The fact that she managed to conceive and deliver three children is almost remarkable considering the brutal tradition she herself endured as a child.
When Bürgin was five years old, she and her older sister found themselves at the centre of a genital cutting ceremony in their native Khartoum. In addition to sweets and fancy henna tattoos, they were given the so-called pharaonic circumcision. This involves the removal of the clitoris as well as the labia, and then the fusion of the remaining flesh. Only a small hole is left to pass urine and menstrual blood.
Now 42, Bürgin still suffers from the consequences, as she first told swissinfo.ch in 2008. In the meantime she has confronted her mother and gained experience speaking about her ordeal publicly.
An ugly tradition Although considered a crime according to Swiss law, Bürgin is reluctant to describe female genital mutilation (FGM) as such.
“It’s a very old and a very ugly tradition, but I’m against calling it a crime because people like my parents and their parents did it. It’s been passed down from generation to generation – they thought they were doing the best for their girls,” Bürgin said.
According to her, the tradition is important to them for cultural and religious reasons. The idea is that the daughters will stay physically “clean” and that they won’t think about sex before marriage.
In fact, Bürgin’s father was against the procedure, but he wasn’t home on the day that it happened.
“When he came back and realised what had been done, he was very angry. I think that being married to my mother, he knew how it would be for us. And I think that’s why he never wanted it done to his two daughters,” Bürgin said.
Despite his opposition, Bürgin and her sister suffered a double-dose of FGM.
“When I was eight or nine they did it again. My two aunts in Khartoum said it wasn’t a ‘good enough’ job the first time – that I was still ‘too open’. So they brought me and my sister to a famous midwife to have it redone,” Bürgin said. At the very least, both procedures were carried out hygienically and under anaesthesia.
Afterwards, any time Bürgin cried from the pain of relieving herself or having her period, her father would get angry and tell her female relatives: “This is all from what you did to her.”
Husband was shocked As a young woman, Bürgin moved to Switzerland, where she met her husband. She was still a virgin when she married him at 28 – something he found hard to believe. Although he had converted to Islam as an adult, he was completely unaware that FGM was common in some Muslim communities.
“My husband was shocked when he found out on our wedding night. He didn’t know anything about this subject, and really, he couldn’t have sex with me,” Bürgin said. She agreed immediately when he suggested that they see a doctor.
“The doctor was also very shocked, and that surprised me in a negative way,” Bürgin recalled, having expected a gynaecologist to at least be aware of FGM. “I had an operation to open me and all of those memories came back,” Bürgin said. It took her about a month of bed rest to recover from the surgery: “It was very painful, but I’m glad I did it.”
While any loving husband would surely take his wife to the clinic rather than forcing sex on her, this is not a solution, says Bürgin: “The solution should be that men say they don’t want women who have had FGM.”
Although some men insist that FGM is women’s business, others campaign actively against it.
“I recently found a group on Facebook, even. I was surprised and I liked it,” Bürgin said. Meanwhile, her brother has three daughters – and he and his wife have decided not to have them circumcised. Bürgin’s sister is also against the procedure.
After attending a Unicef Switzerland event on the topic in 2007, Bürgin decided to speak out to help eradicate FGM worldwide. More recently, she gave a talk at Basel University; her eyes shine as she remembers the applause she received afterwards.
Back in Sudan, her sister has spread the word about Bürgin’s activism.
“I know that all of my old friends are educated and against FGM. Of course, they had it themselves, but they are against it and I’m sure that they won’t have it done to their daughters,” Bürgin said.
How God made her She can now talk to strangers about it, but for decades, Bürgin didn’t dare broach the subject with her mother.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t discuss it earlier because it was taboo, but now it’s becoming more acceptable,” she said, adding that she could never understand why circumcision was treated like a “lovely, happy occasion” where she grew up.
It was not until a couple of years ago that she finally had the chance to discuss the topic with her mother, who visited her in Basel.
While Bürgin was changing her daughter’s diaper, her mother remarked: “Oh, will you leave her like that or will you do it for her?”
Bürgin answered: “No – never,” and took a deep breath. “OK, mother, you brought up this theme so now I’d like to ask you: Why did you do this to us? Do you remember how I cried from the pain?”
Bürgin’s mother replied that it was a tradition and from Islam, to which Bürgin countered that there was nothing in Islam stating that girls should be genitally mutilated.
“My mother said, ‘So you won’t do it?’ and I said ‘No’. And after that she didn’t say anything,” Bürgin said.
Her daughter is now four years old, and Bürgin is very aware of how different their bodies are.
“I see now the difference between me and my daughter. I would never say mine looks nice or beautiful – no, it looks terrible. But how my daughter looks is how God made her.”