Lori Sokol of Women’s eNews and author of How Women Can Save The World profiles Edna, “the Muslim Mother Theresa.”
“Can women save the world? By looking at the life Edna Adan Ismail, Somaliland’s former Foreign Minister and former First Lady, the answer would be a resounding, ‘YES.’ Labeled the ‘Muslim Mother Teresa,’ Edna has taken everything she learned through these prominent positions to save the lives of untold numbers of women and children.’
While serving as Somaliland’s Foreign Minister, Edna “found she was able to more powerfully present the case for supporting Somaliland not only as a diplomat, but as a woman.”
“Being a woman, I am allowed to be forceful and angry and show sorrow for my people. I am allowed to express pain and sorrow and anger. I can be motherly and I can be tenacious. I can also shed a tear or two,” Edna adds. “I can also share emotions I feel by witnessing the pain and Injustice my country has suffered.”
“If I bang on a table or shed a tear, don’t try to appease me, I tell them. When I express anger, don’t tell me to cool down,’ she continues. “Don’t try to impose a different emotion to what I am expressing at that moment. I will know when I want to cool down, and I will tell you what I need. If I wish to show my emotions, it is because I have chosen to do so.”
“Yet one of the most memorable stories she tells is of an experience that occurs time and time again, and often just before a woman is in danger of dying without the surgical intervention. “
Since a woman in our society does not have the authority to sign for her own surgery when requiring a Caesarean section, she must have a male (father, husband, brother or son) do it for her. Sometimes, when we tell the husband that we must have his consent immediately (because of a time-sensitive emergency) or his wife will die, he will refuse, or will want to wait to decide. But we cannot afford to wait. So I summon a policeman, and on the back of the form I write, ‘I want my wife to die, ‘ when she is in danger of dying without the surgical intervention that she needs. I then ask him if he wants to sign that instead. The husband approves the surgery for a C-section every single time. If not,” Edna adds, “I would have taken the risk and signed it myself, which could cause me to go to prison if his wife did not survive the surgery. Fortunately, no one has ever called my bluff. ”
“Yet it doesn’t stop there. ‘My battle against female genital mutilation (FGM) has been the biggest battle of my life,’ Edna says. A victim of FGM herself, she was the first woman to speak out against it. ‘These young girls have survived measles, whooping cough, chronic diarrhea and other life-threatening diseases, and when they reach the age of seven or eight, when they are learning to jump and learn and talk…they are subjected to FGM.’
“’It is not only cutting. It is total mutilation!’ she adds. Edna believes that fathers have to be educated about the dangers of FGM as well, so she is working on publishing an animated book about it since so many in her country cannot read.
“Based upon so many of Edna’s accomplishments, one would think there wouldn’t be anything she could fail at. But there is. ‘I want to get my country internationally recognized. That is my unfinished book,’ she says. ‘The world is losing the presence of a democratic country in Somaliland. We have managed to demobilize our militia with our own resources, we have a functioning, democratically elected government and we generate all taxes from our own country. While the international community is spending billions of dollars to try to bring peace in Somalia, they are ignoring the peace we have already achieved in Somaliland. We gain from peace and stability,’ she adds, ‘They gain from lawlessness.'”
Full Article: Can Women Save The World?