mercredi 21 septembre 2011

Mauritania: Force-feeding, obesity and the beauty of Moorish.


A 50-year-old Mey Mint can’t barely walk, choking up the stairs, suffering from diabetes and heart disease. Drowned in its own fat, crushed by her weight, she is one of the victims of the Mauritanian tradition of "gavage", born of assimilation between beauty and obesity among Moorish women, and against which she campaigned.

         "My mother thought make me beautiful, but she made me sick," said Mey Mint.
        
         Sign of wealth in this culture of the desert, obesity of women working, via gavage. A term that is not random, the marriageable girls undergoing treatment similar to that of the geese ... Among the Moors, we say that a woman in the square in the heart of her husband is proportional to her weight.

         "The purpose of a man to marry a woman who fills his house. It must be able to decorate it like an armoire or a TV. If it's big, it gives importance to the house. If it is thin, it disappears," said Seif Islam, 48, curator of a library of ancient Islamic manuscripts, the fund has a weight of love poems dedicated to the beauties plump ...

Millennium masochistic ritual.

         It is a ritual that dates back to ancient times. Historically, Mauritania, Niger and northern Mali, is forced young girls a decade to swallow huge amounts of food and drink tens of liters of camel milk a day.
        
         There are also real "feeding stations" that perform fattening group of girls, especially in the valley of Nema in southern Mauritania.
        
The goal is to grow as much as possible, the roundness is synonymous with beauty and wealth. Today, urban women use seals to swell, which is not without risks.

         Now the Government is relentlessly campaign on the risks associated with obesity. And as the love songs are odes Mauritania to the beauty of fat, the Ministry of Health has commissioned romantic songs celebrating thinness.

         The tradition is losing its force: only one in ten women under the age of 19 years was force-fed, against one third of those with 40 years or older, according to a 2001 survey by the National Institute of Statistics.

         But not patterns. "My husband says I'm not big enough," sighs Zeinabou Mint Bilkhere, 24 and small 46. And told that if he was sexy in the last months of her pregnancy, the desire of her husband with her weight has decreased since the birth ...

         Can we upgrade an cultural act that has become a barbarism?

         Turning his back on the brutality of the traditional force-feeding, women who want to grow fall back on the pills now.
        
Zeinabou Bilkhere buys anactine, hoping to earn ten to 15 pounds: this antihistamine manufactured in Morocco, the side effect of awakening the appetite.

         "When I was little, my mother hit me that I eat because I do not want to be big. Now I sucks because people like it."
        
These drugs are replacing an instrument far more violent, recently banned for sale: animal steroids intended for the start fattening camels.

         The men, do not hide, they prefer women XXL. Isselmou Ould Mohamed, 32, loves his wife of 90 pounds, and became angry when he learned she was going to the stadium to lose those gained during her pregnancy.

         "I want to get his love handles. I told her that if she lost weight a lot, I get divorced."
        
Among the nomadic peoples of the Arab world, the struggle to survive the harshness of the desert and drought led to the adulation of obesity, a symbol of wealth.

         In Saudi Arabia, 44% of women over 30 are obese, as a third of adult women in Egypt, Bahrain and Kuwait, according to the International Obesity Task Force, based in London.

         The Mauritanian government in 2010 planned to launch a joint program with the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, with funding from the Spanish Government, to combat practices harmful to women, including force-feeding.

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