Our western values are not just a black and white issue
I will give you the background to this column in the presumption that you do not know it, and the reason you don't is that the victim at its centre did not possess a vulva.
Instead, he owned a penis, and so neither our media, nor our political classes, took any interest in his fate. Had he been a girl, you know that the mob of the usual suspects -- Amnesty International, the Council for the Status of Women, the Equality Commission, Aunt Thomasina and all -- would have been trumpeting condemnations of the affair.
Two-and-half-years ago, a Nigerian idiot named Osagie Igbinidion was found not guilty of the reckless endangerment of life, after a little boy he circumcised, 29-day-old Callis Osajhae, bled to death. The trial judge, Kevin Haugh, told the jury not to bring their "white, western values" to bear upon their deliberations. Describing the case as a clash between two cultures, he added: "This is a relatively recent matter that Ireland will have to deal with now that we have a significant migrant population. You are not asked whether this form of procedure is acceptable in Ireland. If you start thinking on those lines, you are doing Mr Igbinidion a great injustice."
Just one commentator in the media remarked upon this extraordinary case, in which a man walked free from a court having sexually mutilated and mortally wounded a little boy. Me. I wrote: " . . . had the dead child been female, I believe that no jury would have been told not to bring their white, western values to bear on the case -- or if they had been, we may equally be sure that the judge would not be dangling from the nearest lamp-post . . ."
I do not know what that fine fellow Osagie Igbinidion is doing today.
He has not, to my knowledge, and considerable regret, been deported -- nor has he been issued with a court order compelling him to desist from his merry trade (he is a fourth generation circumciser; ah the joys of multiculturalism). So it is as legal to chop little boys' penises off today as it was then, and if they die as a consequence, the judicial advice rings down the years, not to bring our "white western values" into the case.
But when the infant in question is a girl, then those white, western values are suddenly all we care about; hence the uproar over Pamela Izevbekhai and her two daughters. She is challenging a deportation order to Nigeria, for fear that the girls might be circumcised upon their return, and alleges that another daughter, Elizabeth, aged 18 months, died in 1994 from blood loss after being circumcised.
Well, allegedly; a court hearing earlier this year was told that the attending doctor had diagnosed the death "as being possibly the result of the traditional female circumcision" which had been performed on the girl. Possibly, eh? And that girl was 18 months old, 14 years ago. But her two surviving daughters had not been circumcised by the time they left Nigeria in 2005, when they were aged approximately two and four years of age, respectively.
Female circumcision is very common in Nigeria, but it is not mandatory, and is usually done at the mother's instigation -- which is unlikely to be the case here. Either way, our "white, western values" are properly affronted and appalled by the very notion of removing a girl's vulva; so these may be invoked to protect a girl from genital mutilation. They cannot, however, be invoked to protect a boy either from genital mutilation, or from the death which results when the bugling Nigerian cretin with the knife accidentally kills him.
There are many ancillary questions to this little affair. How did Pamela Izevbekhai manage to get from Nigeria to Ireland? En route, how many countries did she pass through where they don't have female circumcision? Why did she choose here as a refuge from the barbaric circumcisers of Nigeria, and not somewhere closer to home?
As for my own opinions on the matter, well, on the one hand the family has settled in Sligo, so a large part of me thinks they should be allowed to stay. But what if we are being duped? What if a baseless threat of circumcision is being falsely used to enable the Izevbekhais to stay?
And even if it's not, are we to be the refuge for every single Nigerian or Somalia or Chadean or Kuwaiti woman who wants to avoid genital mutilation? So all they have to do is get here, allege that if they go home they'll be circumcised, and then we must give them asylum: is that it? And if we don't, are we then to get the self-appointed cranks from Residents Against Racism accusing us of being racist, and then RAR will be rewarded with their usual quota of headlines?
Meanwhile, the asylum-seekers' little sons can still lawfully be genitally mutilated, right here in Ireland-of-the-Sisters, and maybe even die, because apparently that's part of Nigerian culture. And naturally, not one of our feminist-dominated quangos will utter a word of condemnation.
Marvellous, bloody marvellous.