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Minister in 'racist circumcision outrage'

Minister in 'racist circumcision outrage'

Published: 17 Apr 2012 12:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Apr 2012 12:36 GMT+02:00

"In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden," Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) told The Local.

"This was a racist spectacle."

Sabuni's comments come following Adelsohn Liljeroth's participation in an art installation that took place at Stockholm's Moderna Museet in connection with World Art Day on April 15th.

As part of the installation, which was reportedly meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision, the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris.

Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the "genital mutilation cake" on his Facebook page.

"Before cutting me up she whispered, 'Your life will be better after this' in my ear," he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.

Article continues below

But images of the event, which show a smiling and laughing Adelsohn Liljeroth slicing up the cake, have caused the National Afro-Swedish Association and its members to see red and issue calls for her resignation.

"According to the Moderna Museet, the 'cake party' was meant to problematize female circumcision but how that is accomplished through a cake representing a racist caricature of a black woman complete with 'black face' is unclear," Sabuni said in a statement.

According to Sabuni, the mere fact that the minister particiapted in the event, which he argued was also marked by "cannibalistic" overtones, betrays her "incompetence and lack of judgement".

"Her participation, as she laughs, drinks, and eats cake, merely adds to the insult against people who suffer from racist taunts and against women affected by circumcision," he said.

"We have no confidence in her any longer."

Speaking with the TT news agency, Adelsohn Liljeroth was sympathetic to the association's reaction, but nevertheless defended her actions.

"I understand quite well that this is provocative and that it was a rather bizarre situation," she said.

"I was invited to speak at World Art Day about art's freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut the cake."

However, Adelsohn Liljeroth said the National Afro-Swedish Association's anger should be directed at the artist, not at her, claiming the situation was "misinterpreted".

"He claims that it challenges a romanticized and exoticized view from the west about something that is really about violence and racism," she said.

"Art needs to be provocative."

But the minster's defence of her actions rang hollow for Sabuni.

"It's extremely insulting for the minister to claim that we've somehow 'misunderstood' racism," he said.

According to Sabuni, the incident is "strange" but "not unexpected" in the Swedish context.

"Sweden thinks of itself as a place where racism is not a problem," he said.

"That just provides cover for not discussing the issue which leads to incidents like this."

While a museum is certainly allowed to do what it wants as long as the laws are followed, Sabuni argued that a minister needs to be held to "higher standards".

"To participate in a racist manifestation masquerading as art is totally over the line and can only be interpreted as the culture minister supporting the Moderna Museet's racist prank," he said.

David Landes/TT

twitter.com/davelandes

Your comments about this article

13:33 April 17, 2012 by godnatt
If they could manage to muster this kind of outrage over all the girls being mutilated and psychologically destroyed by this barbarity maybe something actually useful would happen to stop it.

But of course political correctness is more important than protecting anyone.
13:43 April 17, 2012 by micvau
Maybe next time they can use WHITE chocolate. Haven't people anything better to do than complain all the time. Not everything is based on racism. I love dark chocolate, does that make me a rasist. I'm sure if a coloured person was cutting a white chocolate cake the reaction would be completely different.
13:50 April 17, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Well genital mutilation is only really found in Africa and some parts of the middle east so, theoretically, the cake is a very anatomical representation of who this effects. What's wrong with that?
13:57 April 17, 2012 by Kibitz
And we go ..... . ..... ..... another article laced with bladant racist overtones. And the first comments are for none other than racist themselves. Quickly making light of a situation that deserves the negative media exposure as much as any other similar topic. These are public servants , and should to made to answer for their conduct.
14:00 April 17, 2012 by bcterry
"British girls undergo horror of genital mutilation despite tough laws"

Excerpt,

"Female circumcision will be inflicted on up to 2,000 British schoolgirls during the summer holidays - leaving brutal physical and emotional scars. Yet there have been no prosecutions against the practice

Like any 12-year-old, Jamelia was excited at the prospect of a plane journey and a long summer holiday in the sun. An avid reader, she had filled her suitcases with books and was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when her mother came for her. "She said, 'You know it's going to be today?' I didn't know exactly what it would entail but I knew something was going to be cut. I was made to believe it was genuinely part of our religion."

She went on: "I came to the living room and there were loads of women. I later found out it was to hold me down, they bring lots of women to hold the girl down. I thought I was going to be brave so I didn't really need that. I just lay down and I remember looking at the ceiling and staring at the fan.

"I don't remember screaming, I remember the ridiculous amount of pain, I remember the blood everywhere, one of the maids, I actually saw her pick up the bit of flesh that they cut away 'cause she was mopping up the blood. There was blood everywhere."

Some 500 to 2,000 British schoolgirls will be genitally mutilated over the summer holidays. Some will be taken abroad, others will be "cut" or circumcised and sewn closed here in the UK by women already living here or who are flown in and brought to "cutting parties" for a few girls at a time in a cost-saving exercise."
14:05 April 17, 2012 by cowboykodp
Its truly amazing that the likes of godnatt and his buddies think Reepalu is anti semitic for his comments (wrongly or rightly), but see no racist overtones with this cake and this case.

The hypocrisy in this world is nauseating.

FYI: Prejudices towards blacks, Jews, Muslims, etc.. is alive and well in Sweden.
14:13 April 17, 2012 by Carbarrister
It was in bad taste.
14:21 April 17, 2012 by Morenikeji
Pity, that a minister of culture could display such arrogant insensitivity. But then this is Sweden. Any kind of racism and discrimination, save anti-semitism, sometimes, is tolerable and explainable.
14:27 April 17, 2012 by RobinHood
I have no idea which African country Kitimbwa Sabuni comes from. If it is Sierra Leone, 80% to 90 % of the women there have had their genitals mutilated. In Guinea it is 98%.

Doesn't this self-appointed spokesman for the self-appointed National Afro-Swedish Association have something better to do? Such as fighting to abolish this disgusting pagan ritual that disgraces his home continent - Africa - and brings hundreds of millions of African women pain, misery, illness and even death?

Sort that out Kitimbwa, then come back to Sweden and tell us about "racist" cakes.
14:56 April 17, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
There is no suggestion that the minister actually APPROVES of this barbaric act in reality. She is laughing probably at the inventive way in which the artist has invited her to participate in creation of the art work. Drawing attention to a cause is a helpful way to help to combat this brutal practice. Contemporary artists need to be provocative to succeed.

People eat cakes in the shape of Teddy bears, horses, dolphins, etc... and animal rights groups do not complain about that, because a cake is not really an animal. Likewise a cake is not really a person.

Anyway I wonder if the outcry would be less or more if there was a white cake next to it of a man, and the minister was asked to chop off and eat the phallus, as a representation of male circumcision.
15:14 April 17, 2012 by Kibitz
Really ! " Reason abd Realism " ......... Did you really take the time and effort to post that ridiculous dribble?

Next, many will say that it she was never actually there, or maybe she didnt swallow the cake , so that makes her innocent, or maybe this all of this is just here say, and someone just " missspoke".

What the minister engaged was absolutley racist, and for the public like you to try to put a spin on it , only adds more fuel to this already heated and sad incident
15:17 April 17, 2012 by gpafledthis
Ha Ha !! Idea: send any left overs to our off-White House !! Good Job Swedes I won't give my daily liter of blood (because I am ashamed of the swedish taint) !!
15:22 April 17, 2012 by princeally
sick minister, it's even disgusting eating such cake, that looks red inside like a real open stomach.
15:27 April 17, 2012 by bcterry
Whatever it takes to bring attention to this extremely painful and dangerous sickness and eradicate it works for me.
15:28 April 17, 2012 by Glorius
Succesfull art is succesfull, congratz to the artist.
15:29 April 17, 2012 by rise
Cannibals' birthday party!
15:29 April 17, 2012 by skogsbo
that's the thing with racism, it's a fickle beast. You could have a white or pink cake and it's totally acceptable. A black cake, no chance. You can awards ceremonies for music of black origin, create one for music of white origin award and you'll be shouted down.

All 'isms' are just too much and take 'certain' things to the enth degree. It's a cake, it got people talking about the topic it's representing, so it achieved it's goal. It probably says more about the people who are complaining than about anything else.
15:30 April 17, 2012 by Abe L
This is not racism.

Why does a National Afro-Swedish Association exist? If this is what brings them into the news, I think it's about time to cut the funding and get rid of it.
15:43 April 17, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ Kibitz #11

To me the racism test is this. If this was Nazi germany, and a Jewish artist made a cake of a Jewish person with a look of horror on their face, and asked a non-Jewish or Jewish German man or woman to cut into it to symbolize the killing and abuse that was being inflicted upon the Jews in Germany at that time, then this would NOT be a 'racist' act or piece of art, particularly because the creator of the artwork is from the ethnic group that is being terrorized.

The goal of the artwork would have been to draw attention to the mistreatment of Jews in those years, while simulateneously highlighting the indifference that the many perpetrators of the abuse can and did enjoy (having their cake and eating it too).

The same is true for this cake that highlights the barbarity that is female circumcision. You can ignore the abuse of women and eat the cake and walk away, or you can think about what is happening, and participate in the effort to erradicate the practise everywhere.
15:52 April 17, 2012 by kirub
Ministers should know better. But ridicule like this is better than war on tribal men.
15:54 April 17, 2012 by budaboy
Screaming racism is the first thing people do in the hope they will get a free pass to be left alone and continue to perform their barbaric acts on small children.

Nothing wrong with the cake as far as i'm concerned.

2012, the truth is called racism all the time.
16:14 April 17, 2012 by kristianj
I am offended by people who cry racism against the white race all the time. Where and who do I complain to ? Always seem racism goes one way.
16:29 April 17, 2012 by libertarianism
Wow. That thing looks like a burnt clown. It's like someone from the 19th century catered a Halloween party.

Isn't the artist a "person of color"? If you google his name, there are other blackface sculptures. Would be nice to have an artist statement and greater context (if one exists).

TL, how about an interview with artist Makode Aj Linde and spokesperson Kitimbwa Sabuni? I would like to hear these men more clearly explain/defend their ideas to one another.
16:31 April 17, 2012 by Hana*
It's not the "blackness" of the cake that is offensive, it's the physical characteristics that are supposedly representative of black people. Look at the face and construct of the cake does that look like any black woman you know? It's reminiscent of a golliwog which has racist undertones. The cake is not racist because it's shade is "black" , but racism can be implied by what it bears reference to i.e. Golliwogs. It's a stereotypical depiction of a black person.
16:43 April 17, 2012 by Querist
"...meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision, the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris."

In all fairness to gender and racial equality - will the drepraved minister also be slicing up a cake depicting a male... made of white-chocolate... starting at the 'foreskin'?

.
17:02 April 17, 2012 by strixy
This is ridiculous. Instead of screaming racism every time someone criticises these barbaric and cruel customs, change them.
17:23 April 17, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ Hana* #24

Before you complain about the face, you should read the article, where it informs us that the face is meant to be a self portrait by the artist himself, who, incidentally, if of African or non-white heritage.

And since when does the shape of a human body in a provocative piece of artwork, or any artwork, have to be the body of a perfect athlete?
18:01 April 17, 2012 by Parallelism
@Reason and Realism

The parallelism doesn't seem exact, since in the case of genital mutilation the 'perpetrator' is not a white non-African. There is something unsettling, to say the least, about a room full of wealthy white art-gallery attendees consuming a caricatured black body. This unsettling nature more accurately communicates the hazards of white european involvement in African genital mutilation than the situation of genital mutilation itself.
18:26 April 17, 2012 by Lotus2035
Only truly disturbed people would be more upset by the cake than female genital mutilation itself.
18:27 April 17, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ Parallelism

Agree that in reality it is not a massive team of white non-Africans who are perpetrating the real female circumcisions in Africa, and so my analogy to Nazi Germany and their abuses toward a Jewish minority in the 30's and 40's is not a perfect fit.

Having said that, the purpose of most contemporary art is to communicate a message, or to attempt to provoke thought or debate, between or within one or more average Joes or Janes who walk up to an art work after that work has been completed.

The uneasiness that you refer tolargely relates to the final step in the creation of this particular art work. The artist was very clever to arrange for the completion of the artwork to occur with the press cameras rolling, because it catapulted his work into the debate that now fills this blog, and beyond.

Be that as it may,I can understand some uneasiness, but I maintain my initial position, which is that the creation of this artwork was not a racist act, and the minister's act of cutting the cake in accordance with the explicit instructions of the non-white artist, was also not a racist act.
18:30 April 17, 2012 by libertarianism
Why weren't Sabuni and the National Afro-Swedish Association part of the genital mutilation protest / awareness campaign?

Can "white" Africans be members of the National-Afro-Swedish Association? What about African albinos with "black" parents?

What is an Afro-Swede? Is this someone who has immigrated from Africa? Or is this a second, third, etc generation Swede with African ancestry? Can African-Americans in Sweden join this association?

Do you have to identify and be perceived as a certain race to be part of this association?

Does the association exclude people who are not perceived as a certain race? Is this racist??

If it is racist to define European as "white", why is not equally racist to identify African as "black"?
18:36 April 17, 2012 by gorgepir
Incredibly stupid. So is female genital mutilation (obviously worse).

So eating from this cake shaped like a human while someone screams every time a slice is taken (cannibalism much!?!) is supposed to help raise awareness on the issue of genital mutilation? Right. Keep telling yourselves that. I am sure when you show this to the idiot fathers who are doing this to their daughters they will say aha we should stop this right away and eat cake and not get angry over racism and do even more stupid things. Only a racist would think like that.
19:00 April 17, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ gorgepir

If you were more 'aware' of the problem you would know that it is often not 'idiot fathers' but rather mothers and aunts who are doing this to their daughters.

Frankly I would prefer to see a cake as a method to raise awareness than photos or detailed footage in documentaries of the mutilated regions of girls and women.

And whether or not the 'idiot fathers' or mothers or aunts respond to any criticism of the act of female circumcision, it is our duty to immigrants to provide resources to try to stop that barbaric act from happening in Sweden, or in all places where Swedes provide overseas assistance.

This might include a government web site directed at young girls to see the warning signs of an upcoming operation, and how to report this to authorities to prevent the attack, or even for you or I to take action if we see or hear a large group of women next door and you hear the screams of many young girls.
19:01 April 17, 2012 by Svensksmith
#29 Right on target!
19:02 April 17, 2012 by Migga
A black artisan makes a caricature of the typical victim of a genital mutilation as a cake and wants a minister to cut into it to provoke attention to this horrible crime commited all around the worl. It`s not racist and any effort made to bring these horrible acts into the light and condem them have my support.
19:06 April 17, 2012 by cowboykodp
@svensksmith;

I think you mentioned you have kids?

Tell me, when was the last time making fun and mocking one of your kids worked in stopping an unacceptable behavior?
19:22 April 17, 2012 by johan rebel
Yummy! Two slices please!
19:23 April 17, 2012 by Kevin Harris
Genital mutilation on Africa is well and truly centre stage. Good job Ms Adelsohn Liljeroth, the clitorus cutters and their perverted supporters are squirming with embarassment and desperate to distract attention from this brutal thing with accusations of racism.
19:48 April 17, 2012 by TheLight
Once again, here comes the insane scandinavian tribe-called-SWEDEN.

Here, every one is stupidly in the same stupid boat, living in deception,

bundling up every negative attributes and assigning such to others - while assuming they are the best.

AN INSANE TRIBE!!
20:05 April 17, 2012 by Svensksmith
Cowboy: I'm not mocking anyone. I am simply agreeing with Lotus that genital mutilation is much more offensive than some stupid cake.
20:18 April 17, 2012 by djmarko
The art work was the idea of a black swedish artist, it was made to create controversy, seems it served it purposes, don't know what to make of it, bad taste if you ask me
20:28 April 17, 2012 by plswun
Wait...did somebody say coloured?? THAT IS THE PROBLEM! It's not so much about the fact they are bringing attention to female circumcision that goes on in Africa but the flat out ignorance that for some reason only white people seem to posess. This exhibition is like a white person in a room full of black people singing a song that happens to contain the word "Nigga".

Whites are blinded by their own "superiority". They feel as if they can do and say whatever about other races as long as they themselves are not what they would define as racist. Racism is not the issue here...Ignorance and the lack of will to enlighten themselves is.

Signed

30 something, Black, American, Male with a 100% Swedish wife.
21:10 April 17, 2012 by godnatt
@ cowboy

Of course, drama queen that you are, you have to pretend I said something I did not.

I didn't say I approved of this. It's completely tasteless and obviously crosses the line. Obviously.

I made the comparison that political incorrectness generates more outrage than ACTUAL physical abuse, misogyny and barbarity that goes on every day. The real stuff gets swept under the rug to avoid dealing with real problems while political correctness debates are front and center.

Go back to your histrionics, princess.
21:23 April 17, 2012 by budaboy
The sleepy tolerant west...

The whole world is getting their nickers in a twist over cartoon's, comedy, music, etc. and now over a cake/art/statement to stop mutilation on kids,

I wonder if the artist has to die over this one?.... you never know nowadays, but that's probably incorrect for me to say.

Heard someone say today, if Jesus comes back, we'll kill him again. that was a joke, as he explained to me.

I have my own religion and it is called freedom and that's what these poor girls in dark africa could use too,

just the freedom to keep their bodies intact.

Why get upset over Fn cake and not over the pain these girls suffer? Sometimes I feel so lost in the West.

Buddhist humor

Bjork, 1995: "I do not believe in religion, but if I had to choose one it would be Buddhism. It seems more livable, closer to men…

I've been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings.

Well, animals aren't lesser beings, they're just like us. So I say f^ck the Buddhists."

Am I a racist now?

(me hope not, me confused)
21:28 April 17, 2012 by Nika-NM
It's not about the colour of the cake, it's more about the form in which it was done. The impression this leaves is one of a group of crass people acting out some kind of play that, instead of delivering the point in the right way, goes exactly the opposite way and causes disgust and outrage at the organizers and participants alike.

I think the question of racism here is out of question, it's more the case of callousness of it all. I'm sure any victim of the involuntary circumcision anywhere in the world would be deeply offended by it. It's not only the case raising awareness of what goes on in Africa - you have to choose a more accurate form to do it.
22:17 April 17, 2012 by djmarko
NIKA-NM

exactly my point, you can present a case without causing so much controversy, that artist is stupid if you ask me, the minister could have shown a bit of sensitivity, its called common sense!!!
22:18 April 17, 2012 by mikewhite
Looks like something from the "Black Sambo" era ...
22:43 April 17, 2012 by dizzymoe33
They need to go around and start cutting off the men's penis also and then maybe they might stop mutilating the young girls. I find the whole idea of female mutilation so sad and barbaric!!! All so the man can have enjoyment only. The worse is that these women actually perform this on young girls!! Wrong and Barbaric is all I can say.
22:47 April 17, 2012 by RobinHood
Millions of African children have their genitals mutilated by quacks and witch doctors, and all some posters here can bring themselves to be outraged about is a cake. Some people really need to reevaluate their values.
23:02 April 17, 2012 by broomrevolution
So sad that she didn't give a far-right salute b/4 cutting the cake -:)
00:26 April 18, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Agree with RH (#49).

Many posters want to kill the messenger, rather than wake upand listen to the provocative message that is being broadcast by this very innovative artist, and furthermore many posters are ridiculously assigning blame to the minister, who was simply doing what this black artist clearly asked her to do.

Given that the artist is a man, and the participants are being asked to cut up a cake that has the shape of a woman, a fanatical feminist might accuse the artist of being a misogynist, insenstive to the plight of the women of Africa (while I would argue the artist intended the opposite), but accusations of racism are utterly nonsensical here.

The artist's 'show' and the underlying message he wanted to broadcast would have been equaly effective if the room had been filled with black art gallery attendees., and a black government minister. The art is not about the colour of the skin of the people who are cutting the cake, it is about the woman who is being cut in this artwork, and far more importantly it is about the thousands of girls and women who are being cut ever year in the real world.
01:13 April 18, 2012 by Da Goat
Mission Accomplished!

Negative publicity is positive publicity !

the minister and the artist scored a hit and the stupid racists (of all colours) have helped them out , now I hope the issue is pushed forward and not the stupidity !

I can't decide which side of the debate is the more stupid but i hope the message intended get s out there!
05:28 April 18, 2012 by TLCTugger
The outrage should be that governments worldwide still cooperate with regimes where genital mutilation is tolerated. No matter what color OR GENDER the cake was it would have failed to symbolize every victim. The fact that it happens to be black does not make it racist. The fact that it doesn't really look like any black person means, well. it's CAKE, not a person.

I applaud Minister Liljeroth.
05:42 April 18, 2012 by entry
Why was there not a gluten-free alternative?
06:31 April 18, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Governments worldwide should create no fly lists and lifetime bans for the dispicable vommit bags who are flown in to other nations for these hideous cutting parties, and any girl unfortunate enough to have been victimized, or who manages a narrow escape from the proceduce, should (if possible) be encouraged through education programs, and be provided with communications hotlines (perhaps anonymous ones), to alert the authorities before the beast returns to the airport, or to provide identification afterward, for questioning, apprehension, and punishment.

Obviously women or men who are local residents and who administer this form of lifelong injury and deprivation to young girls should be jailed and then deported, and local community and religious leaders whose congregations include people from nations where this is widely practised should be asked to speak out tirelessly against it, to both the parents and their children, rather than remain silent on the subject.

As foir abuses that occur outside of Sweden or Europe, that would be more difficult to manage, but one extreme position could be that foreign governments should be asked to identify, isolate, or arrest these sociopathic witch doctors under a reasonable reporting schedule before further economic aid is delivered, or at the very least be forced to allow education programs to the local population in conjunction with the delivery of aid that highlight the barbarity of this tradition, in an attempt to stop it with the current generation.
07:45 April 18, 2012 by skogsbo
looking at the time of some of the posts, you can see those many anti-cake people are certainly posting from the USA, poachers turned game keepers. Consider it will be in many of their life times that black people were finally considered equal, prior to which they were treated as near slaves or 2nd class citizens, now they want the moral high ground, by preaching this and that.

If you are so for equal rights, you should be for ANY measure that reduces the suffering of those mutilated. At least those involved in eating the cake, gave up their time and turned up, what have YOU done to benefit others??
08:03 April 18, 2012 by RobinHood
@Cabarrister, Moreikeji, Kibitz, Princeally, Kirub, Kristian J, Hana, Querist, The Light, DJ Marko, Broom Revolution, Trowbridge

You guys were so busy expressing your outrage about a cake, you obviously forgot to express your disgust at the forced mutilation of the genitals of hundreds of millions of young African girls. I'm sure you just forgot, but it's only fair you get another chance to put that right. Otherwise we might think you actually support this disgusting, brutal, primitive, painful, pagan ritual.

I'm sure you don't want us to think that about you. It would be hard for us to respect anything you ever say on these forms again, if we thought you actually agreed with genital mutilation.

We all look forward to hearing you tell us you disagree with it, and what you personally will do to stop it. No more from you about racist cakes, until you've put that right, thank you guys.
08:11 April 18, 2012 by Pakistani_Student
pathetic act by stupid woman
08:20 April 18, 2012 by mafketis
Millions of girls having their genitals mutiliated - we have to be tolerant!

Misguided and poor taste attempt to address the issue - OMG! Racist atrocity!!!!

I'll repeat: If you import people who think it's appropriate to attack little girls' private parts with razor blades, then DON'T BE SURPRISED WHEN THEY DO THAT IN YOUR COUNTRY!!!!!!

How is this hard to understand?
08:26 April 18, 2012 by prince T
It seems that we dont get it. We dont think of our children that will travel out of the country and think racism is a norm. People go to prison in other countries.
08:41 April 18, 2012 by samwise
leave the race thing aside, it's horrible bad taste to me, but I'm no comtempary "artist", thank God.
08:42 April 18, 2012 by rise
I see someone has already eaten the genitals of the cake. Must've been some Muslim who can't stand the thought of leaving the genitals of little girls alone!
08:55 April 18, 2012 by paaking
Well said Robin Hood, FGM is still a major problem in some African countries, the major issues should be given attention and the black CAKE eaten as CAKE.
09:10 April 18, 2012 by Dazzler
#59 Must be one of those tolerant practitioners of this mutilation. Go home sh!tbag.
09:32 April 18, 2012 by Marc the Texan
I'm pretty sure it's never OK for a white person to ever depict a person of color in any way in Sweden without being labeled a racist.
09:54 April 18, 2012 by gorgepir
@33

Yes sure keep telling yourself that. You sir/madam are truly delusional and out of touch with reality if you think that the father who lets this happen (what bs are you saying about mothers and sisters? This would happen in a hospital in those countries, for your "awareness") will look at these pictures and for a second think that anything the western culture is saying has any ounce of truth in it. This picture is probably already being printed in many regional newspapers/articles websites to be used for propaganda. Surely you are not that daft to think that the first (and main) thing that comes to someone who comes from that background and sees these types of pictures mind is that female genital mutilation is horrible? Or are you?

Female genital mutilation is horrible. Making fun of it (eating a cake and screaming) and calling it art is a stupid way that will NOT help solve the problem, and will probably actually incite hate even more. It will only make fools and racist feel like they have done something about this issue and let them go back to their lives.
10:05 April 18, 2012 by B.I.L.L
They do this to a cake and everybody cries foul. Same thing has been done to real African women for decades and is still happening. Yes it is very very disturbing and unsettling, but if that's what it takes to draw attention to a real problem then why not. Reflect on how much this hurts your feelings and then imagine how those who actually go through this sort of madness feel...

P.S: I'm black and African
10:05 April 18, 2012 by gorgepir
@33

And a government website for young females?! You do know that this normally happens when they are infants or at most 7 years old. I am sure that they check websites often.

I really don't know what to do to help on this issue, so obviously I am sorry about that, but doing anything is not better than doing nothing. That I am sure of.
10:06 April 18, 2012 by Texrusso
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11:29 April 18, 2012 by eton75
I see this made news in the UK as well . It is sad that people are so ignorant that they wouldn't know this is offensive to say the least !
12:05 April 18, 2012 by libertarianism
"Afromantics" by artist Makode Aj Linde:

http://www.urbanlife.se/en/arts/exhibitions/387-afromantics
12:07 April 18, 2012 by axiom
Nonsense, female circumsion is a real problem, and any awareness is good awareness IMO.

Cake, aaaah cake :D
12:21 April 18, 2012 by star10
The studpidity of this event is to relate femal circumcision with skin color. Not every black gets curcumcised. Such generalizations are racist. You wanna provok? Be then racists. But is that the right way to provoke? Surely not.
12:34 April 18, 2012 by rafikistockholm
Not all African countries practice excision. Not all African cultures share excision. So, it is not fair that in some comments here some people are representing excision as an African problem. But the black color does not exclusively represent Africa either. Africa is multiple and diverse and it is beautiful in spite of problem it faces.

While the artist can try and convey a meaning to his/her creation, it is absurd to expect others to just stick to your meaning. In other words the artist must accept the possibility that their creation can be viewed as offensive.

But this also means that the Afro-Swedish Association should consider that it does not have to possibilities to impose its own narrative to the rest of us.

As for the minister, Timbuktu did put it very well in his tweets this morning. The art piece was a statement but the poor minister did not get it. She knew it was against excision and knowing the subject is a jolly one she should have exhibited a festive mood. A more reflective one would have helped her situation.

As for bad taste or not, I do not eat chocolate nor drink coffee. Could not tell!
12:38 April 18, 2012 by prince T
If it was doll or a dog looking like Mohammed, i wonder if the minister would have called it art. I am sure the programme would. Have been closed down.
13:06 April 18, 2012 by comentatir
There is a totally different thing that disturbs me about this piece of art. There are some thing people should be aware of when it comes to art in the western world by non-western artists. For some reason western art world gets delighted to see an Iranian female artist's work dealing with women rights for example or Chinese artists work about ongoing Chinese political and cultural issues or an African artist's work about underdevelopment in Africa. List goes on and on.

This makes it really difficult to distinguish a good piece of art from a bad one since artists craving for attention tend to deal with such issues with such an ease, quite frankly. Please keep this side of the story in mind as well when you are reading this article.
13:08 April 18, 2012 by Baned
It was in poor taste, to say the least! If the cake had ivory skin with the same details - breasts, a stomach, genitals and a head of a Sami or Asian or Balkan or any cultural facial markings to distinguish a culture, IT WOULD STILL BE OFFENSIVE!

Someone would have complained regardless. Turns out this time it was a black cake - it could have been ANYONE! The message against genital mutilation could have been something else too ... but using a lifelike body of a person, cutting into it and eating it in front of all the media is just asking for outrage.

SHAME ON HER for participating! She deserves all the negative media attention she's getting.

As for whoever thought of the idea ... you would have thought explaining it to someone was enough to understand how horrible of an idea this was! Calling it "art" doesn't excuse the careless insensitivity it portrays to real, actual people.

This event more accurately depicts Sweden's lack of cultural awareness and understanding for anyone other than themselves. Good job Minister of Culture!
13:21 April 18, 2012 by RobinHood
@Star10

"Not every black gets curcumcised. Such generalizations are racist."

Mali 93.7%

Somalia 90 - 98%

Eritrea 90%

Sierre Leone 80 - 90%

Sudan 50 - 90%

Guinea 98%

Gambia 60 - 90%

Sources: U.S. Department of State, 1 June 2001. Momoh, Comfort. "Female Genital

Mutilation", Radcliffe Publishing, 2005, p. 6 (figures from 1987-1999).

If all Africans are as ignorant about FGM as you are, no wonder you (and Africans) can't see anything wrong with it. Until you can, ever country should have a cake and a minister to cut it.
13:30 April 18, 2012 by budaboy
all you racist calling cake haters are a disgusting, selfish bunch of idiots,

You have learned well from the inventors of the racist-card.
13:43 April 18, 2012 by bcterry
The main stream media never brings this sickness to the fore to inform the greater public, that most of whom know nothing about this.

If it takes a piece of controversial art to drive home the message, or just get it out there, i suggest that this kind of art is of the highest value.

I think every news outlet in the world should show this, and i also believe it deserves an award.

Well done to the artist, and thank you.

My heart goes out to these innocent young girls.
15:04 April 18, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
Well done! to Moderna Museet for highlighting the horrible practice of female circumcision, with this event.

The Swedish Culture Minister has nothing to apologize for, nothing to resign over
15:56 April 18, 2012 by prince T
7 countries will now define the whole of african continent, , african american, west indies. Part of your paranoid Robinhood is dat all blacks are african. I am not suprised at your comment, i dont expect anything less than what unwrote based on ur previous comments on this forum.
16:26 April 18, 2012 by Pakistani_Student
this stupid minister should resign over this racist act, i can only imagine what type of her voters would be :/
17:15 April 18, 2012 by bcterry
"i can only imagine what type of her voters would be :/ "

Any good decent human with any sense of humanity and compassion, would be more concerned about this brutal, vicious, painful assault on INNOCENT CHILDREN!!!, rather then trying to turn this into an accusation of racism with no basis in fact.

The artist is BLACK, so if this is a racist piece of art, tell us, who is his racism directed against?
17:23 April 18, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Comment: #67 and #69

I am not dellusional. You simply lack immagination on how the problem can be better addressed.

Mothers and aunts often perform this, and/or arrange for it to be performed, and participate by holding the young girls down. Father approves but mothers are equally criminally responsible in most cases. Read post number 5 if you need to increase your 'awareness' on this issue, about a girl who is old enough to be an avid reader.

Increasing awareness is always a good thing because it is the first step to help to stop FGM in one's home country, and later abroad. This controversial cake has probably done more to increase awareness and promote discussion here in less than a week than what dozens of people could accomplish by handing out boring pamphlets for a year.

Even if a majority of operations are done on infants in Africa, there is likely to be a number of older children (as in post 5) who are attacked at a later age, particularly in Europe, where there is no hospital or easily obtainable tribal option, and where cutting parties therefore require more organization and expense, and which might therefore not result in the mutilation a girl until she is much older.

A website could be geared not only to girls, but also their older sisters, cousins, friends, guardians, parents of friends, and anyone outside the mutilation crowd, so that there can be a more aware and educated and ask or look for disturbing signs of what might be an upcoming mutilation party. One or two highly talkative 7 year old girls can get an entire school yard discussing the topic.

And in schools, there is no reason why this crime could not be discretely taught in to young girls, during sex/reproductive education, who must also learn about murder and wars and all the other bad things that occur in the world.

And religious leaders, particulary in parishes that have a large percentage of immigrants from countries who practise this crime, could regularly tell their enitre congregations (parents and children) how wrong this horrific practice is.

And parents in Sweden should be threatened with severe consequences so that even if they manage to keep a very young girl completely uninformed about the upcoming mutilation attack, a later trip to the doctor by this girl when she is a teenager visiting a gynocologist for the first time could result in criminal charges, massive fines, or deportation of the disgusting parents out of Sweden.

So Plenty of things can be done to reduce the problem in Sweden. Complaining about the particular way that awareness is being increased by the artwork, or crying racism, as some are doing, distracts people from an opportunity to advance the discussion on how to stop the crime of FGM altogether, first in Sweden, and then abroad.
17:27 April 18, 2012 by Pakistani_Student
@bcterry, i understand you are so concerned about FGM, but this was not the right way to tackle this issue, i cannot even look at this picture without getting disgusted and look your minister is their cutting it and eating it. FGM being good or bad is another issue but this spectacle surely is not going to give a good singal in the society.

Bottom line, I think this minister should just resign for not being careful of what she attends and what does she represent...
17:58 April 18, 2012 by Victoria Amerikansk
How do I send a thank you letter to her? Anything that increases awareness of the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (which is far more destructive and damaging to genitalia than male circumcision, by the way) is a good thing.

Also, Scandinavians appreciate contoversial art. Get over it.
19:22 April 18, 2012 by Trenatos
I have to say; Didn't it work?

Aren't we all now more aware of the issue?

The whole thing was designed to be provocative, and it succeeded.
19:23 April 18, 2012 by bcterry
"FGM being good or bad is another issue"

You're undecided?

You also never addressed the question, you said this was "a racist act", so who was the black artist directing his racism against?
20:29 April 18, 2012 by RobinHood
@Prince T

Your ignorance is astounding. People of African descent who live in America and the West Indies are not Africans. They live on a different continent. Please look at an atlas for more information on this.

The citizens of every African country engage in FGM to some extent or another. Your denial and concealment of that well-documented but horrible fact will not help anyone. Despite what you think, it is not racist to expose rampant African FGM, by way of a cake, or any other way either.

Frankly, I find your support for FGM beyond disturbing. If you are a parent of a girl living in Sweden, you deserve to have your fitness as a parent thoroughly examined by the social services. If there is the slightest risk you might have your daughters' clitorises cut off, your children should be removed from your care to prevent you from doing so. The same goes for every parent who has expressed their support for FGM on these forums. Your anoniminity is not entirely protected by your usernames ; for the sake of your childrens genitalia and mental health, I hope the hyper-efficient Swedish social services come looking for the lot of you.
00:53 April 19, 2012 by mtcworks
This so-called "art" is grotesque on so many levels working in concert that it's hard to put a name to each level of grotesqueness. The picture shows the Swedish minister feeding the "artist" cake that, specifically, was cut from her "genitals". The cake is red enough to clearly represent blood. It looks like sadomasochistic obscenity, not like it is intended to promote sympathy for the poor victims of female genital mutilation in Africa, who deserve better than this ultra-left self-gratification.

The fact that this promotes sadism rather than sympathy is proven by the fact that as the woman mock screams in pain, "No, No!", all other participants and onlookers laugh and take pictures. If it promoted sympathy, they would all be in tears.

Actually eating the cake -- apparently many did, by how much is missing -- indicates participation and approval, again, especially when accompanied by laughter. It is vanity on their part to think they are so sophisticated, so wise, as to see a message that is the exact opposite of what any ordinary person would see in their actions. "Professing to be wise, they have become fools."
07:24 April 19, 2012 by skogsbo
MTC, why is about 90% of your word count spent condemning the cake, not FGM? Get your priorities sorted and perhaps consider the 'real' issue at heart. Personally in the case of FGM, this bit of PR has been fantastic, imagine if they had eaten smörgåstårta instead (presuming you in Sweden and know what this is), the level of PR would have been minute. This has managed to go global, no bad thing, all from a bit of cake.

Very unsuprising to see the out of touch minister of equality has jumped on the band wagon to condemn the cake and also forgets to push the issue of FGM. But, she is a bit of joke politician, so not suprising.
09:13 April 19, 2012 by lasseagain
Should we also forbid a colored African born child to play with a colored doll??

Is it not forgotten that the artist was colored...... and he made a colored cake (in the figure of a colored woman).......
14:56 April 19, 2012 by Jes
@lasseagain dear ,

what if the artist is colored ( whatever tha means ) ?

Shall we overlook the pain that Breivik caused to the people of Norway just because the bastard is colorless" son of a devil who killed "colorless " people ?
15:15 April 19, 2012 by prince T
robingfool. u are the one that is actually ignoranct. since black people from US and west indies are not african , why did the artist use black people to protray his art. are the african american and jamaicans mini blacks or non blacks. U use 7 countries to categorise over 33 countries. Like i always said racist brains are shallow.
17:27 April 19, 2012 by libertarianism
Re #96

If you got to the World Health Organization (WHO) page on female genital mutilation (FGM), there is a photo of a dark-complected child. And there is a category "FGM in WHO Regions", and the only choice in the region category is Africa.

If you click on Africa, you're taken to the WHO page for Africa where every human on the page has a dark complexion. The cover on the African WHO booklet (pdf) on female genital mutilation has a drawing of sad brown eyes set within dark-complected skin. There is also a drawing of a razor blade with a pool of blood dripping from it. All of this is within the shape of Africa.

If you feel that it is racist to depict female genital mutilation in relation to dark-complected women, then you should write to WHO, WHO's Africa division, and the millions of dark-complected women (and men) in Africa who slice off/prick/pierce/stretch/burn their daughters' clitorises, labia, and/or stitch up their vaginal openings, etc.

Female genital mutilation is prevalent in 27 of the 46 WHO regions in Africa. Over 100 million girls/women have undergone genital mutilation. Most live in Africa. Some live in the Middle East, in Asia, or in immigrant communities in Canada, US, European countries, etc.

http://www.afro.who.int/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2045&Itemid=842

If you google picture search "Female Genital Mutilation", you'll find most pictures are of dark-complected girls, screaming and terrified.
17:32 April 19, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Can't say that I approve of this:

" the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris."

and then there's talk about "Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister..."

"Whose head... is part ...of the cake cut by the minister"?
01:06 April 20, 2012 by Coalbanks
Ain't multi-culturalism a bit.. OOPS! I meant to say fun, enlightening, conciouseness expanding...
02:19 April 20, 2012 by stirthepot
Never read comments on internet articles.
11:18 April 20, 2012 by JerseyTjej
Abuse of women, trafficking and slavery are still prevalent in this world and this country. We hyped 10 million viewers with an outdated video of Kony ,. Just imagine what the artist could do with the proper platform and a more appropriate venue. I feel sorry for Adelsohn Liljeroth. She should have sent the cake and its artist out the door and did without . Instead, she deflects misinterpritation towards the "artist" and tries to absolve herself from her stupid behavior. It is sad that Sweden seems to be shown in the light of buffoonery these days .
11:25 April 20, 2012 by budaboy
Ever since the minister cut "the cake" 36.000 girls were mutilated, (WHO) 6000 girls are cut up every day, 2 million a year!

Get on with the real issue and stop bitching ab racism.
15:46 April 20, 2012 by bcterry
11:25 April 20, 2012 by budaboy

Ever since the minister cut "the cake" 36.000 girls were mutilated, (WHO) 6000 girls are cut up every day, 2 million a year!"

Don't concern them with trivialities, this cake is much more important, IT'S CHOCOLATE
19:40 April 20, 2012 by The godmother
She doesnt need to resign. I guess she had a good intention but did not pass the message across in the right way.

Swedes are not just creative. Each time I watch an advert on Swedish TV, I cant help but laugh. 95% of adverts on Swedish TV fail to send the intended message.

I just think that same thing happened in this case.

There is no way a minister will intentionally want to hurt Africans, knowing fully well that racist acts and comments are sensitive issues.

I beg fellow Africans to see it from an objective point of view
20:32 April 20, 2012 by Supermog
#55 and #60, I agree entirely. Immigrants, to any country, who commit crimes (and the genital mutilation of children must count among the worst) should be punished severely, and then deported permanently.

Why has Scandinavia allowed so many foreign nationals a residency, surely there was never a need to do so?
23:55 April 30, 2012 by violetflowerbranch
I am a woman of color living in Sweden and I must say Sabuni's comments are very much on point and not over the top. If you think they are, then maybe the experience of being a woman of color in Sweden - a non Swede at that - might differ greatly from yours. As a minister of culture, it is her job to try to not alienate people of various cultures. I am not here to debate the art exhibit because art can always hide behind the word "art," but I am saying the minister of culture needs to really be more aware of what her job entails and cutting this cake obviously proved to show a lack of judgment or it wouldn't get this coverage.
07:25 June 6, 2012 by Praestantia
I don't understand how the cake and cutting it would help the cause against female mutilation.
11:24 August 28, 2012 by classic09
i mean come on what kind of cheap dirty fun was tht? Swedes can act seriously stupid sometimes...by the way Sweden is a paradise.. thts a mirage...

the dark side of the swedish society is never exposed.. but i am sure lot of ppl knw it from their life experience ..
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