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It’s no joke

June 26, 2013

circumcision africa

A colleague recently forwarded this photo to me, expecting to make me laugh – and a few years ago I would have.  Imagine being foolish enough to offer your penis up for circumcision by the fellow who put up those signs!  You’d deserve all you got!

But it’s not so funny now that Western governments and aid charities are encouraging African men to get circumcised in the hope that it will make them less likely to catch HIV. Some even encourage African women to get their newborn sons circumcised for the same reason.

When a gullible man, or naive mother goes into a place like this, and a botched circumcision results in complications, perhaps even HIV from dirty instruments, if you’re a Western taxpayer, you bear some responsibility.

I told you it wasn’t a joke.

Jim Thornton

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura MacDonald permalink
    June 26, 2013 10:31 pm

    It’s even less of a joke when you realise that power tools are used by adults to circumcise kids in the UK. In 2008, as part of a report on NHS finance, More4 News reported a case of a 3 year old who was circumcised using a soldering iron (with no pain relief). Getty images sell a pic of this kind of thing http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/leith-fuad-mosa-age-3-screams-in-pain-as-he-held-down-and-news-photo/74949650 and the more traditional method http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/zulfikar-shishko-a-local-albanian-barber-circumcises-a-boy-news-photo/76625506

  2. June 26, 2013 10:38 pm

    Ye Gods!

  3. June 27, 2013 8:09 am

    I was asking people about the circumcision program in Kenya and apparently just about anyone can claim to be qualified to perform the circumcision. There’s a lot of money in it, and multiple operations are carried out in a short time, with only seconds for each operation. That’s why some people there are shocked that it can take half an hour in a clinic! But also, tribes who traditionally circumcise are known to pop their kids into the clinic for a free circumcision if they happen to live close to an area populated by non-circumcising tribes. The pain may well make you a man, but if you can get it for free, with an anesthetic, why not? Swaziland has realized that most people don’t want to be circumcised, but also that it costs several hundred dollars per operation when all the costs are counted. I wonder when Kenya will start to count the true cost and ask if this is really the way to go.

  4. June 28, 2013 6:06 am

    Sorry, to clarify, the bit about just about anyone claiming to be qualified refers to circumcision as a tribal practice, not to the mass medical circumcision program!

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