Monday, July 21, 2014

AFRICA: Creating Circumcision "Volunteers"


In a previous blog post, I talk about how HIV organizers are having trouble getting men to "volunteer" for circumcision, because they're falling behind on their quotas, and the men don't seem to be breaking down the doors at clinics to have part of their penis cut off (no big surprise there). I talk about how they are desperately stooping lower and lower, in order to get men to "volunteer" for circumcision out of their own "free will" (if by "free will" they mean "coercion"), from bribery, to sex appeal, to outright insults and emasculation.


Because "being smart" can only come from having part
of your penis removed?I wonder what Africans would think
if we told them the great majority of Europeans
aren't circumcised... Not to mention the rest of
the world... That man in the purple striped shirt
is smart; he's not buying it.

It seems now, that organizers are aiming to "create" so-called "voluntary demand," or bust, by making Africans offers they can't refuse.

"Sports-based Interventions"
It looks like organizers are now using sports as an incentive to get men to get circumcised "voluntarily." You know? To keep the "voluntary" in "voluntary male medical circumcision." And no, I don't mean by celebrity endorsement by local footy legends. From what it looks like, organizers are now looking to make circumcision as a condition for participating in soccer programs.



In other words, you have to "volunteer" to have your genitals mutilated in order to play.

Intactivists first heard of this last year in what we hoped would just be an exaggerated rumor. Being only hearsay, with no evidence, intactivists like myself couldn't see fit to mention it. This is what a fellow intactivist reports hearing directly from so-called HIV "researchers":

“In one presentation I sat through at a world AIDS conference (summer of 2010), a young doctor with these circumcision campaigns [in Africa] (he was marketing chief) took to the podium and explained a “successful” program. They went into the poorest communities, where the boys were mad for soccer, and bought them all new equipment and uniforms. Built them beautiful pitches to play on. Brought in well-known soccer players to inspire the boys, and got coaches. Let the boys play and get to love it. And when it came time to play in the regional tournaments, the bar came crushing down: they’d be sponsored to travel and play only if the team captain could convince most of the boys on the team to get circumcised. The peer pressure was tremendous not to let the team and community down. This doctor was positively gleeful at how successful this strategy was.”

We really hoped this would be just a bad rumor, but now it seems making circumcision a condition for participation in soccer programs is an actually strategy being implemented in Africa, which is to be presented at the AIDS 2014 Conference in Melbourne, Australia, which is happening right now (July 20 - 25). A more detailed report about this can be read here.


"Sure you can eat... IF you volunteer to get circumcised first..."
As if making circumcision a condition for soccer programs weren't enough, it now sounds like organizers are using food, FOOD, as an incentive to get men to "volunteer" to be circumcised. This has got to be the most insulting strategy for "demand creation" that can be imagined for Africans.

African countries suffer poverty. They don't have adequate medical facilities. Men and women have to travel for miles to get medical attention. They don't have enough to eat. But yes, let's CIRCUMCISE them. Sure you'll get medicine, you'll get food, you'll get advice for better living. But the price is circumcision. Give us part of your penis, and part of your children's penises if you want food, the most bare of necessity for life. We can't actually guarantee that circumcision will actually DO anything for you, but it will guarantee some food for you and your family to eat.

All of this has got to be some sort of psychological experiment with Africans as guinea pigs. You can get men to do almost anything with the proper motivation. But how is this any different than lab mice in a skinner box?




The above scenario is basically being recreated with Africa, except instead of rodents, they're using Africans, and instead of a lever, it's circumcision, and instead of an electrifying wire mesh, it's social stigma.

If it's "get circumcised, or get fried," how in the world is this "voluntary?"

Is it not obvious that organizers have crossed over to the realm of madness?

This is outright exploitation of Africans using HIV prevention as pretext.

There is a problem when "success" in the fight against HIV is measured, not in how much less infections we have per year, not in how much closer we are to a vaccine, but by how many people we have brainwashed about circumcision, which, even if the best "research" is correct, still fails as HIV prevention (ergo circumcised men must still use condoms).

 Smart men ask themselves, "If I still need to use a condom, 
why even bother with circumcision?"

For heaven sakes, could we not just GIVE Africans food and water?

Could you we not just give Africans condoms and education MINUS the genital mutilation?

Please?

Related Posts:
Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV II
MASS CIRCUMCISION CAMPAIGNS: The Emasculation and Harassment of Africa
CIRCUMCISION "RESEARCH": Rehashed Findings and Misleading Headlines
COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Non-Medical Circumcision a Human Rights Violation

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

CANADA: Circumcision Evangelist Sets His Sights for Haiti, Caribbean


Neil Pollock, flashing the tools of his trade

In a recent article on the Jewish Independent, Neil Pollock expresses his intentions to fly to Haiti, with the goal of proselytizing doctors there, training them to perform circumcisions, hoping those doctors will train other doctors in the region, and that thus, that circumcision will flourish under the guise of HIV prevention. A very lovely thought, if you're a stark Jewish advocate of infant circumcision, or if you're a doctor whose main source of income happens to be infant circumcision (Neil Pollock happens to be BOTH), but is this endeavor feasible? Practical? Realistic? Based on sound evidence? Honest?

Are Neil Pollock's intentions based on a genuine concern for public health? Or is this nothing more than a PR project to redeem infant circumcision by making it relevant to medicine? After all, it looks real good for your business to go to other countries training doctors in infant circumcision under the guise of medicine, if you happen to be a doctor who makes a living entirely from infant circumcision. Not to mention the fact that Pollock also happens to be a Jewish mohel, is affiliated with other mohels, not to mention other Jewish physicians that promote infant circumcision as medicine, where ritual infant circumcision is seen as divine commandment.

Male infant circumcision has been increasingly under fire from human rights groups, not to mention the recent herpes scandals in New York, and the latest developments in Europe zeroing in on infant circumcision.

So is this about HIV prevention?

Or about the continuous fight for Jews and gentile circumcision doctors to redeem the dying practice of infant genital mutilation?


It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. ~Upton Sinclair

I'm going to go through the Jewish Independent article on this blog post and post my insights about it bit by bit.

The headline is already dubious, as it starts with a definite claim:


Vancouver doctor will train physicians in Haiti in circumcision

If one reads the article to the end, one realizes whether or not Pollock flies to Haiti depends on whether or not he can collect funding for his project. So the headline would be more accurate if it read something more like "Vancouver circumcision doctor asking for funds to train physicians in Haiti".

Begins the article:

"Dr. Neil Pollock specializes in circumcision, from newborn to adult, and adult vasectomy."

This is the first time I've heard of Pollock "specializing" in anything other than newborn circumcision and adult vasectomy. To my knowledge, he is first and foremost a mohel, who doubles as a circumciser of gentile newborns on the side. I guess he's trying to make more money now?

"As a leading expert in circumcision, he has traveled around the world to train physicians and, this summer, he will head to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to teach a team of doctors in medical newborn and infant circumcision."

Not if he doesn't raise enough funds, he won't...

Now let's look at that first sentence; "...he has traveled around the world..." I know he went on a circumcision tour in Rwanda once, but I haven't heard of him going anywhere else... A rather modest exaggeration if I do say so myself...

“'After carrying out 50,000 infant circumcisions and traveling recently to Turkey, China and Africa to exchange ideas, I have evolved my technique to make it applicable to infants, children, teenagers and adults,' Pollock told the Independent in a recent interview."

The story changes a bit here. So he HAS traveled "around the world." He has traveled to Turkey, China and Africa "to exchange ideas," but that's slightly different than "to train physicians." Rather wishy-washy here.

But here we read that Pollock has "evolved his technique." He attempts to sound so matter-of-fact and so sure of himself, and most people reading this would be forgiven if they believed that Pollock came up with something totally new, unique and original that only he could do. Not mentioned here is his so-called "technique," which, if people cared to investigate, is nothing more than a glorification of the Mogen clamp technique, which is in and of itself, a circumcision method that dates back hundreds of years.

I'm sitting here asking myself... Pollock isn't actually using a Mogen clamp to circumcise children, teenagers and adults, is he?

“I have developed a technique to do circumcision in this older age group under local anesthetic without using sutures and using, instead, a cyanocrylate skin glue that closes the wound. Being able to do the procedure under local anesthetic and with skin glue instead of a general anesthetic in hospital provides for a much simpler, easier, quicker, safer and improved cosmetic outcome for patients.”

Ad novitam.

Here, Pollock is trying to sound "new" and "innovative." Let's not forget that circumcision is a few thousand years old.

Not addressed here are the questions of, why are children and teenagers being circumcised? Were these circumcisions medically necessary? Or were these healthy minors being forcibly circumcised at the whim of their parents?

Without medical or clinical indication, how is it doctors like Pollock are performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors, let alone be giving parents any kind of "choice?"

Maybe what he does is "much simpler, easier, quicker, safer," etc., but isn't reaping profit from performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals the epitome of medical fraud?

Let's ask a different question; would female circumcision ever be justified if someone came up with a "simple, easy and safe" way to perform it?

"This method, he said, is unique. 'I’m unaware of this approach being used anywhere in [Canada] except in my clinics. The older age group is currently requesting circumcision for reasons like reduction in disease transmission, preference of their partners and improved hygiene.'"

What about the younger age group? Are they requesting it? Or is he performing circumcision on them against their express wishes?

"In 2008, Dr. David Patrick was the head of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Pollock said he was asked by his colleague “to teach my surgical techniques for circumcision in Rwanda, where they were using scissors and stitches, without anesthetic, and their surgeons desperately required training in an alternative quick, safe and painless infant circumcision technique that would be accepted by their population. In coordination with their surgeons, I planned with my team a five-day surgical training mission that year and flew to Rwanda. I have been in contact with these surgeons by email since my trip and they have informed me that they are using my technique effectively and safely throughout the country now."

Here, Pollock toots his own horn; he tries to make his "work" indispensable. Towards the end of my post, we will look at another circumcision technique which basically makes Pollock and his "new and improved techniques" obsolete.

“'The impact of our humanitarian effort became known in the international medical community, which led to Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, professor at [the University of California, Los Angeles] Medical School, contacting me recently and asking me to essentially replicate the work I did in Rwanda, but this time in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where they are being overwhelmed by the number of patients requiring treatment for AIDS and would receive huge benefit from introducing a preventative strategy to reduce AIDS transmission, such as infant circumcision, which will reduce the risk of their circumcised infants later contracting AIDS when they hit sexual age, by over 60 percent.'"

This sounds rather fictitious to me!

I'd be interested to know who this Jeffrey Klausner is, what his religious affiliations are, and whether or not he had any affiliations with Pollock prior to his so-called "humanitarian effort." Methinks Klausner is nothing more than another circumcision enthusiast, trying to look for venues to take advantage of to push circumcision, particularly infant circumcision.

Who IS Klausner? And does he also just "happen" to have ties with Edgar Schoen?

I have a hard time believing that Pollock was such a prominent figure in the international medical community a man in UCLA just "happened" to take notice. Klausner might not happen to have any affiliations with Arleen Leibowitz, who is working to try and restore Medicaid coverage in states that no longer pay for infant circumcision, does he?

A quick Google search reveals that Klausner has published with circumcision "researcher" Daniel Halperin, another circumcision advocate in Africa who wants to make circumcision as HIV prevention his legacy. (Halperin also happens to be Jewish and is quoted saying he wants to make his mohel grandfather proud.) He has also published with Australian circumcision enthusiast Brian Morris, whose reputation we all know about. Klausner has been "researching" was to increase circumcision in India and elsewhere. Is it really any wonder that Pollock and his "work" caught his eye?

No, this was no coincidence; all of these so-called circumcision/HIV "experts" know each other and sniff each others rear ends. I don't believe for a second that Klausner contacted Pollock "out of the blue," asking for his "assistance." They're probably on each other's contact lists and sat around on Skype or Facetime brainstorming the whole thing. They must look at every country with HIV prevalence and sit around thinking "How can we make circumcision part of the picture?"

For the record, there is simply no evidence whatsoever that infant circumcision has any effect on HIV transmission. Additionally, there is no scientifically demonstrable causal link between male circumcision and reduced HIV transmission. Unproven and disproven theories abound, but it cannot be demonstrably shown that circumcision reduces HIV transmission at all, let alone by the fabled 60%.

Interesting fact; according to American circumcision pundit Edgar Schoen (good friends with Pollock), 80% of US males are already circumcised from birth. And yet, according to the CIA Factbook, we have a higher HIV prevalence rate than 53 countries where circumcision is rare (below 20%) or not practice. The United States has a higher HIV prevalence than MEXICO.

Pollock continues:

"'Its impact and effectiveness has been referenced metaphorically to be like a vaccine.' Circumcision, he added, 'works to reduce AIDS by removing the portal of entry of the virus, which is the foreskin.'"

Referenced by WHOM?

And here, we have Pollock spewing an unproven, if not disproven theory as matter-of-fact. It simply cannot be demonstrated under a microscope that the foreskin facilitates HIV transmission, nor that removing it reduces it. Actually, the Langerhans cells, which have been indicted as "the main port of entry" for HIV have been shown to actually effectively destroy the HIV virus. Pollock is hoping to ride the HIV gravy train to redeem infant circumcision, to which he has religious convictions, and to promote his business.

"Klausner, a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases and the program in global health at UCLA, is an advocate in the use of medical male circumcision for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. He volunteers with GHESKIO, an organization run out of the Centre for Global Health at Weill Cornell Medical College in partnership with the Haitian government. Operating primarily in Port-au-Prince, their work is supported by Haiti’s first lady and has a mission to combat HIV and improve conditions of maternal and child health. GHESKIO will host Pollock’s training in Port-au-Prince."

It will be interesting what more information I will find on this Klausner fellow and this GHESKIO. A question that rises in my head is, if Pollock is to be hosted by GHESKIO, why is Pollock asking for funds? Are there not enough funds at Weill Cornell or the Haitian government?

"Raised in Winnipeg, Pollock explained that he decided to become a doctor 'because I had a strong interest in sciences, medicine and surgery from a young age.'"

Really? As someone raised in the Jewish faith, he wasn't interested in brit milah first, and vindicating it through medicalization second? It makes me wonder, what is his area of focus? Urology? Does he treat penile problems? Or is cutting up babies and neutering men all he does for a living?

 "Early in his career, he decided to create a special focus on circumcision and vasectomy, and built a highly focused practice and a well-tested – and respected – technique."

"Respected" by whom?

What is this "technique," and did he actually come up with it?

Answer: He is using the Mogen clamp technique, and it is not his own original idea. The Mogen company has been put out of business by million dollar circumcision mishap lawsuits it couldn't afford to pay. The Mogen clamp is notorious for partial or full glans amputations, even in the hands of skilled practitioners.


A common mishap in the Mogen clamp circumcision method
is that part of, or all of the glans gets pulled up into the clamp,
resulting in the partial or full ablation of the glans penis.


Will one week of training provide enough experience to prevent these injuries? And if it isn't, are hospitals in Haiti equipped to deal with these life altering complications? 


"'My interest in developing a safe, quick and painless approach to circumcision for the medical community in B.C. arose initially from some of the rabbis approaching me approximately 20 years ago and encouraging me to become a mohel in Vancouver,' Pollock said."

I'm sure it did not arise because he's Jewish and he has a religious conviction to defend circumcision. And I'm sure this has nothing with wanting to cash in on the business of mutilating the genitals of healthy, non-consenting minors.

"The benefits of newborn and infant circumcision are many, but the rates of the procedure vary from region to region, and remain contentious to those opposed to what’s seen as elective (non-consenting) surgeries for babies"

The "benefits" have not convinced a single medical organization in the world to recommend infant circumcision. Circumcision in healthy, non-consenting minors IS elective, non-medical surgery.

"Pollock noted, 'The most important change recently in how the medical community has come to view circumcision is expressed in the … consensus statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics released in late 2012 declaring that ‘the medical benefits of infant circumcision outweigh the risks.’ This is the strongest statement of support ever issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics.'"

Though the AAP  tries to make the claim that "the benefits outweigh the risks," it falls short of a recommendation. (Not to mention it was formally rejected by 38 pediatricians, urologists, epidemiologists, and professors, representing 20 medical organizations and 15 universities and hospitals in 17 countries.) But Pollock will not be telling us that.


And here, Pollock gives his circumcision sales pitch:

"'The benefits of circumcision are multiple; they include reduction in the risk of urinary tract infection, which can lead to kidney infection and renal failure (How common is UTI, and furthermore, these complications? When and if they occur, are there non-surgical intervetions?), reduced risk of cancer of the penis (Which is already quite rare at approximately 1 in 100,000 males; according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 6 US males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer annually. They also do not recommend circumcision as a way to prevent cancer by the way...), cancer of the cervix in partners (...for which there are already effective vaccines), reduced risk of balanitis (which is a [rare] infection of the foreskin), and other foreskin-related problems, like phimosis (Which is already rare, and does not always require surgery for treatment).'  As well, circumcised males also experience a 'reduction of multiple sexually transmitted diseases, like HPV, herpes and AIDS transmission. The latter is exponentially more important in places like Haiti and Africa, where a large number of the population has AIDS in comparison to other regions of the world where AIDS is less common.' (According to USAID, HIV was more prevalent among circumcised men in 10 out of 18 countries. Real world data shows that circumcision does not correlate with a lower HIV prevalence rate.) Possible risks include 'bleeding and infection,' he added, 'but, in experienced hands (Like his, right?), risks are extremely low.'

After all is said and done, no medical organization recommends infant circumcision. All of them, including the AAP, say that the "benefits" are simply not great enough.

"Rwanda and Haiti share a history of national trauma, which has led in both countries to poor health outcomes. In 1994, at least 800,000 Rwandans were massacred by their countrymen in a genocide. In 2010, Haiti, already the victim of more than two centuries of extreme poverty, dictatorships and U.S.-led military interventions, experienced a 7.0 earthquake that resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000, and displaced 1.5 million of the tiny country’s 10 million people. Since then, Haitians have been hit by serious outbreaks of preventable disease, including cholera, tuberculosis and AIDS. According to the United Nations, life expectancy is 61 years for men and 64 for women."

Poor, poor Haiti... Let's circumcise them and worry about feeding them and improving conditions for them later!

"The health challenges that Haitians are very similar to those experienced in Africa, and the training is seen as critical in addressing those obstacles. 'Like there was in Rwanda, there is a need to train surgeons in Haiti to carry out a quick, safe and painless infant circumcision technique,' Pollock explained."

 More like "Hatians are as vulnerable as the Rwandans, I know a good PR opportunity when I see one, and I need to be there to take advantage."

"'In regards to what accounts to gaps in circumcision rates, there may be a deficiency in trained surgeons to carry out the surgery in an acceptable manner, along with variations in social and cultural norms that influence the choice to have circumcision.'"

That Haiti's problems are attributable to "gaps in circumcision rates" and "deficiency in trained surgeons" and that "the social and cultural norms that influence the choice to have circumcision"(because having circumcision is the only acceptable choice?) are Pollock's own conjecture. Here, we see Pollock trying to justify and necessitate himself. Haitians "need" circumcision, and he's the man they should send to give it to them.

"The ultimate intention of the training, Pollock said, is 'to set up a national program accepted by the population, to introduce infant circumcision safely and effectively, and have it evolve to become a widespread practice throughout the country, thereby reducing the transmission of multiple diseases, including AIDS.'"

What he means to say, of course is that his ultimate objective is to proselytize Haiti, and to install infant circumcision as part of their culture, under the pretense of HIV prevention. He hopes to complete the training, and then be able to boast about it on newspapers, whatever the outcome. The training hasn't even happened yet; Pollock is asking for funds in this article, but he is already boasting the project as eminent.

"Pollock’s visit to Haiti will involve intensive training. 'My goal is to carry out a similar plan to what we executed in Rwanda. I worked with physicians there weeks ahead to set up a surgical schedule of 20-to-30 infants per day, over four-to-five days of operating. After working with doctors on models that I brought to demonstrate the technique and do the primary teaching, they moved to assist me with the surgeries and eventually carry them out under my supervision on the infants booked for circumcision.'"

He hopes to replicate in Haiti, what he did in Rwanda, but there is a huge difference; whereas circumcision is already a part of the culture in Rwanda and the rest of Africa, it is not part of the culture in Haiti, or the rest of the Caribbean. It has been very easy for circumcision advocates to get people on-board the circumcision gravy train in countries in Africa where circumcision is already prevalent as a cultural practice, but it is proving to be a challenge in areas where it is not; Swaziland, where the Soka Unkobe project failed to yield results, is a good example. Whether or not Pollock achieves the same results in Rwanda will remain to be seen; will he be able to convince enough Haitians to circumcise their newborns, enough to yield his 20-to-30 infants per day?

Here are some more interesting facts; while HIV prevalence rates are high in both Rwanda and Haiti (2.9% and 2.1% respectively) as well as a low prevalence of circumcision (less than 20%), the HIV prevalence rates in both of these countries are relatively lower than in Swaziland (HIV rate 26.5%) as well as other countries with higher circumcision prevalence (25-50%). Kenya and Tanzania, with circumcision rates of 84% and 70% respectively, also higher rates of HIV (6.1% and 5.1%).


And here's where it gets interesting...

"The training in Haiti, part of a nongovernmental public health initiative, will be partially supported by charitable donations."

 In other words, it hasn't happened yet...

"The commitment from my end for Haiti will include a week away from my practice and the commitment to help raise the $25,000 for the mission to take place. The plan is to raise $25,000 from the Vancouver community in the next seven days or so as to be able to launch the teaching mission in Haiti by the end of the summer."

"If you build it... they will come..."

"'During the week in Haiti, I will train two physicians, who will then train other physicians once our team leaves. I will maintain follow-up with these physicians to help them manage any issues that should arise.'" The goal is to create a sustainable public health campaign and donated funds not only will go towards covering the costs for the week, but also for 'the next 500 infants once we leave.
Readers who would like to donate to the effort “will support an initiative, which will undoubtedly over the years save thousands and thousands of lives,” Pollock said. “It’s intended that Haiti will become a training centre for circumcision in the Caribbean. It is likely that my technique, once taught in Haiti, will soon be shared with multiple countries throughout the Caribbean, multiplying its effect to save lives throughout the entire region.'"

Tho goal is clear:
Pollock hopes to drop a circumcision PR bombshell in Haiti. He hopes this will start a brushfire, which will then spread to the rest of the Caribbean. He has pipe dreams that his little project will plant a seed that will flourish and that he'll be given credit for circumcising the whole of the Caribbean.

I like how he uses the term "saving lives" as a euphemism for getting everyone circumcised, as if circumcision actually did anything to prevent HIV; the sad reality is that circumcision does not, cannot prevent HIV transmission. Not a single doctor or "researcher" can deny this fact. It fails so terribly that circumcised men must still be urged to wear condoms if they want any real protection.

Pollock must be on crack; in Africa it's very easy to convince people in cultures where circumcision is already present, that circumcising their children as newborns is a good idea. What is more likely to happen is that he'll go to Haiti, he'll go back to Canada, and instead of flourishing his project would fizzle, because people would be horrified at the proposition of having the genitals of their children mutilated for dubious benefits no medical organization in the world deems sufficient. And what other Caribbean countries in the right mind would listen to Haiti for anything?

Continues Pollock:

"'So, I’m asking readers and members of the community to reach deep and consider making a financial donation to help us raise $25,000 in the next [several] days to allow this mission to proceed.'"

So in short, this entire article can be summarized as thus; Pollock sees a circumcision PR opportunity in Haiti and he wants people and/or organizations to give him money to do it.

It ought to interest readers that Pollock went to Rwanda on the dime of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Shusterman Foundation, whose vision, by the way is "To help the Jewish people flourish by spreading the joy of Jewish living, giving and learning," and their mission is "ensuring vibrant Jewish life by empowering young Jews to embrace the joy of Judaism, build inclusive Jewish communities, support the State of Israel and repair the world."

At least for me, the question is, with financial guarantors like Shusterman Foundation, what is Pollock really up to? With this article published on a news outlet that primarily targets Jewish readers, what kind of donors is he hoping to attract for funds? My guess is that Pollock is hoping to attract monies from other Jewish advocates of circumcision, who share his vision of redeeming infant circumcision. Safeguarding a cherished tradition that is increasingly under public scrutiny (not to mention Pollock's main source of income) is the goal, and "saving lives" is the pretext.

Other questions arise...
So in this article, Pollock is both plugging himself, AND he's asking for money. Which leads to asking, if Pollock is performing so many circumcisions, why is he simply not flipping the bill himself? Pollock is trying to come off as if he would be doing the world a favor by traveling to evangelize circumcision in Haiti, but it doesn't sound like he could be too generous if he's basically asking to be reimbursed.

I have two theories:
a) With increasing intactivist activity in the US, and the latest developments in Europe, pickings are slim for him and other mohels, and he feels he should do a kind of PR tour. Since he's not making too much money, he needs the funds.

b) Having others pay his way is simply more PR for him; he can later claim that not only he was "asked" to go to Haiti (like I believe that), he was also given a full ride by "generous people in the international community" who wanted him to go to Haiti that bad.

But lastly, and here's the kicker, with the technological innovations the race to circumcise Africa has spawned, of what use are his "techniques" to circumcise older males? PrePex, for example, boasts a painless, bloodless technique to circumcise older males, which doesn't have to be performed by doctors. Why pay Pollock $25,000 to train doctors to perform cumbersome surgery when the money could be used for PrePex devices? (Not to mention that even if the latest "research" held any water, condoms would still be much cheaper, less invasive and more effective than circumcision?)

In short, given the new technology that doesn't require doctors, aren't Pollock's "techniques" pretty much obsolete?

Indeed, they are. But then Pollock couldn't take advantage of HIV-afflicted Haiti to PR infant circumcision, which is what actually matters to Pollock and his financial supporters.

Neil Pollock's conflicts of interest should be immediately obvious to anyone who investigates his background. He's not interested in HIV prevention or public health. He's concerned with staying in business, not to mention vindicating circumcision to which he has a religious conviction for. This is nothing more than a thinly-veiled circumcision crusade and Haitians ought to be put on alert. It is clear who would donate funds for him, and what their true intentions are.

"All abuse of babies is easier. They are powerless and history will judge us by how we protect the powerless." -Paul Mason, Commissioner for Children, Tasmania, Australia 2007-2010

Related Posts: 
Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV II

MASS CIRCUMCISION CAMPAIGNS: The Emasculation and Harassment of Africa

CIRCUMCISION "RESEARCH": Rehashed Findings and Misleading Headlines

Edgar Schoen Showing His Age

AUSTRALIA: "Circumcision Debate" - Australian Sensationalism?

OUT OF LINE: AAP Circumcision Policy Statement Formally Rejected

AAP: Around the Bush and Closer to Nowhere

The Cologne Ruling and the Limitations of Religious Freedom

COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Non-Medical Circumcision a Human Rights Violation

The Ghost of Mogen

CINCINNATI: Intactivists Protest Circumcision "Experiment" at Good Samaritan Hospital

NYTimes Plugs PrePex, Consorts With Known Circumfetish Organization

Sunday, June 29, 2014

CIRCUMCISION PHALLUSIES BLOG SERIES: Ad Antiquitam


Long time no see...
Well, it's been a while since my announcement that I wanted to start this blog series, and I must admit, I've been rather busy and unable to sit down and dedicate any time to it. Not to mention I haven't written anything this month, and I've been aching to. I will begin the series by talking about "ad antiquitam," or appeal to antiquity, because it's rather easy to tackle, and because it's quite possibly the logical fallacy most often used when defending the practice of the forced genital cutting of either sex.

AKA: "Because it's old"
Ad antiquitam is the fallacy of appealing to antiquity, culture, and/or tradition. It assumes that a belief or an assertion must be automatically correct by mere virtue of age. "It's always been done this way," the old refrain goes. "My father, his father, and his father did it." Simply put, it's nothing more than a habit with no real decision making process. Capitalizing on comfort in the familiar, it is a philosophy at best, which is often embellished by talk of continuity.
This is the way is always been done, and this is the way we'll continue to do it.

The practice of circumcision long precedes any attempt to scientifically "study" its so-called "medical benefits." In fact, it seems no discussion about circumcision "research" and "scientific discoveries" is complete without an obligatory reference to the antiquity of the practice, be it the fact that it is commanded to Jews in the biblical book of Genesis, or the fact that the practice predates Judaism, being depicted on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, as if the antiquity of the practice were of any relevance. 


We've all seen this image before...


The age of a belief may attest to experience, but it has no relevance to its truth. It is fallacious to assume that something is "better" or "correct" merely because it is old. Progress is defined by replacing the older with the better. The fact that a belief may be thousands of years old does not automatically make it correct. Old values aren't necessarily "the right ones." And yet, the fallacy prevails, and interested individuals and parties continue to appeal to it.


Slavery too has been around since the time of the Egyptians.
Child labor was practiced into the 20th century in this country.


Women used to not be able to vote.


Traditionally, women are subservient to men.

In older Asian culture, women walk several paces behind their husbands.
Of course, female circumcision is also several thousands of years old, and it's a very important custom to different tribes in Africa, as well as Muslim sects in South East Asia, but for whatever reason ad antiquitam is not a valid argument here.


In Indonesia, an infant girl undergoes "sunat" to fulfill religious and cultural tradition.

Not too far away, an infant boy undergoes circumcision for precisely the same reasons.
(Notice the mother: "Shh! Quiet!")

And there are other instances where ad antiquitam doesn't work.


A father slashes his child's head for the Holy Day of Ashura
Child marriage in India
 Ritual scarification

In short, ad antiquitam ultimately fails as an argument for male infant circumcision, which is why circumcision advocates who appeal to age and tradition must ultimately fall back on arguments of "potential medical benefits." Attempting to make arguments sound legit by dressing them up in pseudo-science is yet another form of logical fallacy, but that's a topic for another blog post.

Related Posts:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

MASS CIRCUMCISION CAMPAIGNS: The Emasculation and Harassment of Africa

Photo taken from ploscollections.com

It seems organizations intent on seeing the whole of Africa circumcised are growing ever desperate that their "mass circumcision campaigns" aren't working out as they had wished.

The pretext for promoting male circumcision for all is "HIV prevention," and sprinkled here and there, on various HIV organizations, one can read slogans along the lines of "an AIDS-free world." Or "an AIDS-free generation." "We can achieve it!," spokespeople say. "And the solution is circumcision!"

To begin with, "circumcision prevents HIV" is already a dubious, wishy-washy premise. Promoters of circumcision-as-HIV-prevention are careful in the way they present circumcision. They can't verily say "Circumcision prevents HIV," because it doesn't. They can't also say "Circumcision fails to prevent HIV, so circumcised men still have to wear condoms" either, because that would drive HIV charity donors, not to mention the men they're trying to convince, away.

No. They have to say "circumcision reduces HIV transmission by as much as 60%," that "circumcision is not foolproof" and that it has to be "part of a comprehensive package." They have to gloss over the fact that they've yet to establish a scientifically demonstrable causal link between the presence of the foreskin and increased HIV transmission, and/or between circumcision and decreased HIV transmission. They have to be careful to not bring any attention to the reality that a reduction in HIV transmission has not been observed in other populations where the majority of men are already circumcised, including other parts of Africa, South East Asia (e.g. Malaysia and The Philippines), and the United States.

The dubiousness of circumcision as an HIV prevention method goes further back. Promoters of circumcision would like to pretend as if circumcision were this "brand new innovative technology" that they've only "just found" yesterday, when history tells us that circumcision advocates have been trying to make circumcision relevant to medicine for at least 150 years. The idea that circumcision might do anything to prevent HIV is itself close to 30 years old.

Not to mention the fact that the practice itself has been under fire as far back as Greco-Roman rule; there are other, deep-running convictions to defend circumcision which have absolutely nothing to do with a genuine concern for disease prevention and public health. Circumcision may be an important rite of passage for members of certain tribes, for example. It is considered divine commandment by Jews, Muslims and certain Christian sects (although circumcision is not once mentioned in the Qur'an, and the New Testament says circumcision profits the Christian nothing.)


 Jews have defended the practice of infant circumcision for centuries

With circumcision already being part of the culture in most, if not all, African countries, it's not too hard to find a captive audience that can be wooed by slogans to the effect that circumcision is medically advantageous, and that everyone ought to be circumcised.

Circumcision is already a rite of passage for many tribes and peoples in Africa

I personally suspect that that has been the plan all along; that circumcision promoters aren't the least bit interested in preventing disease, but in reinforcing pre-existing partiality to circumcision, and using it to their advantage in proliferating the practice of circumcision and ensure its continuance, both in Africa and elsewhere.

A Hard Sell
It seems despite their best efforts, circumcision promoters are failing to meet their quotas. "Those foreskins are flying," assures Robert Bailey in the New York Times, but, if reports from Africa are to be believed, not fast enough. Circumcision promoters have tried everything in the book, from celebrity endorsement, to songs on the radio, to art exhibitions, to patriarchal endorsement, to legislative proposition of compulsory circumcision for all (there goes the "voluntary" part of the program...), to bribery.

There was an initial surge of men lining up to get circumcised at medical facilities, but that has pretty much died down, and now circumcision promoters are at their wit's end trying to encourage more men to get circumcised.

In Swaziland, the "Soka Uncobe" (or "Circumcise and Conquer") campaign was launched with the intention of circumcising 80% of the male Swazi population (that's 200,000 men), but the program ended in failure, as after four years, the program was able to convince only 20% (roughly 34,000 men) of the population to undergo circumcision.

Programs in other countries are also facing the same failure to circumcise the number of men they want, such as in Zimbabwe Botswana, Zambia and Kenya.

My suspicion is that the men who did go in to get circumcised, were men who belonged to tribes and cultures where circumcision is already a rite of passage, and who were going to be circumcised anyway. Perhaps there were a few gullible men here and there who actually bought into the circumcision/HIV propaganda, but on the whole, those who went in were probably only men who couldn't care less about the potential HIV reduction, who said whatever they had to in order to cash in on a free and "safe" circumcision. All of the men who were going to get circumcised have gotten circumcised, so there's no one left, until new tribe or Muslim initiates come of age.

And now, it seems, circumcision promoters are asking themselves, "What could be the problem? What has gone wrong? Why aren't men breaking down the doors to have part of their penis cut off?"

"Circumcise or bust!" seems to be the motto.

"We need to do whatever it takes to get as many men and boys circumcised."

And this, I believe, is what's wrong with HIV programs in Africa today. There is something wrong when progress on the HIV front is measured, not by how much HIV infection has decreased in time, but by how prolific the practice of circumcision has become. It is simply mistaken to assume that a mostly circumcised population automatically translates to a lowered HIV transmission rate, as real-world data indicates.

Latest Ploy: Sex Appeal
Circumcision advocates have been trying to use the influence of women to try and see if they could coerce men to go get circumcised. For a while now, programs like PEPFAR have been trying to sell circumcision as "beneficial to women," rather farfetched, as, even if the so-called "research" is correct, circumcision would only reduce HIV transmission from women to men. Actually, research shows that women are 50% more likely to acquire HIV from a circumcised partner, but this fact is ignored. In sub-Saharan Africa, women constitute 60% of people living with HIV, according to none other than the WHO itself. Circumcision promoters, however, still insist that male circumcision eventually benefits women "because less men being infected with HIV means less women will be infected."

To be quite sure that women will be interested in making sure their partner is circumcised, other dubious claims are sprinkled into the mix, such as a claimed reduction in HPV, which exclusively affects women, and other STDs. (Actually, studies are conflicting regarding the HPV claim. The claim falls apart in light of recent data, but circumcision proponents continue to adorn HIV propaganda with it none the less.)

But now, it seems, circumcision promoters are through with trying to use pseudo-scientific alibis to get women to influence the men, and are now turning to flat-out emasculation and harassment.

The following posters are apparently being used as part of the circumcision propaganda going on in Africa:





Even when the Soka Uncobe campaign was underway in Swaziland, promoters tried to appeal to masculinity, implying that circumcision would make them more attractive in the eyes of women.

Is this what it has come to?

Circumcision Now a Matter of "Respect"
Recently, I came across PLoS' Facebook page, on which it was promoting the release of circumcision propaganda articles. Intactivists, such as myself, as well as other concerned people have posted questions on their Facebook page, but it seems the best they or anyone else can do is offer the same canned responses always given. It's always the same "Research shows circumcision to prevent HIV by 60%, but it must be used with condoms" soundbites. When asked for answers, all they can do is post links to other articles that repeat the same thing. "The programs are working. Circumcision reduces HIV transmission. Circumcision is as effective as a vaccine. Our studies show that." They can't seem to offer any real answers to the questions we ask directly though.

What is the demonstrable causal link between the foreskin and increased HIV transmission? Or between circumcision and decreased HIV transmission?
Even if one can be furnished, what does it matter that a man is circumcised if he still has to wear a condom for real protection?
Wouldn't said causal link also apply to female genitals, seeing as the same tissues and cells exist in the vulva as they do in males?
What if a man is faithful to his wife? Why would a faithful couple be encouraged to have the male partner circumcised?
Have HIV organizations considered that males may not want to get circumcised, even given the information?
Are there any information packages prepared for males who do not want to undergo circumcision?
Are women encouraged to support their male partner in being faithful and using condoms if the male doesn't want to get circumcised?
Or is circumcision the only option?
If circumcision is so effective at preventing HIV, why must men still wear condoms?
If circumcision is so effective at preventing HIV, why was HIV found to be more prevalent in circumcised men in 10 out of 18 African countries, according to USAID?
If circumcision is so effective at preventing HIV, why does the United States have a higher HIV prevalence rate than 53 countries where circumcision is rare (e.g. under 20%) or not practiced, according to the CIA Fact Book?
How is something that never worked in a first world country like the United States, going to suddenly start working miracles in Africa?
How is it "voluntary" if there's a quota of 80% of African men?

The photo at the head of this article shows a man in a T-shirt. The T-shirt reads "EARN RESPECT: TEST AND CIRCUMCISE."

Is this what it has come down to?

A man can't be respected unless he is circumcised?

What if he tests, is STD-free, and consistently wears condoms?

This is not enough to earn "respect?"

As an intact man who is STD-free and faithful to his wife, I am insulted. Is what I do not enough? Do I not deserve respect until I have part of my penis cut off? Is this what they call "voluntary?" How is this not outright coercion?

Circumcision/HIV propaganda has gotten out of hand. I think it's about time human rights organizations stepped in and stopped this madness. This isn't HIV prevention, this is outright harassment and humiliation masquerading as medicine and foreign aid.

A Disservice in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
We intactivists keep saying time and time again; the promotion of circumcision is going to make the HIV/AIDS problem WORSE, because it gives men and women a false sense of security, and an excuse to forgo condoms, which, even given the so-called "evidence," would still supersede circumcision. News outlets and organizations report that men are already saying they don't have to wear condoms, and that it is hard for women to convince emboldened circumcised men to wear condoms. In a Botswana sex scandal, a woman claims that the health minister she slept with couldn't have infected her with HIV because he's circumcised. (The research says SHE can't infect HIM IF she were HIV+.)

In response to questions about risk compensation, circumcision promoters like PLoS and Richard Wamai assert flatly that the evidence for it "doesn't exist," that the evidence that does exist (theirs, of course) says that risk compensation isn't a problem. However, absence of evidence is not equivalent to evidence of absence.

The following articles certainly show that a false sense of security in circumcised males is a problem:

UGANDA: Myths about circumcision help spread HIV

ZIMBABWE: Circumcised men abandoning condoms

Here is evidence of risk compensation that “simply does not exist” – according to some:

Botswana – There is an upsurge of cases of people who got infected with HIV following circumcision.

Zimbabwe – Circumcised men indulge in risky sexual behaviour

Nyanza – Push for male circumcision in Nyanza fails to reduce infections

Providing a dubious form of "protection," which can, and is being perceived in Africa by men and women, as an alternative to the most conclusively effective mode of prevention, condoms, is a disservice in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

If indeed men are walking away with the message that they don't have to wear condoms because they're circumcised, then intactivist predictions were right all along; the promotion of circumcision is spreading HIV/AIDS, and millions, if not billions in precious funds are being squandered on a dubious mode of prevention that is not only not helping, but making things worse, where the money could be better spent on promoting more effective ways of HIV prevention, if not on other, much needed medicine.

A Crime Against Humanity
It is simply despicable that the very idea that circumcision could do anything to prevent HIV transmission was even considered at all. It horrifies me that some people actually took it a step further and decided to test this hunch, with absolutely no demonstrable causal link, by circumcising thousands of men to see which ones would get HIV and which ones would not. One would think that scientists and researchers learned their lesson after Tuskegee. I don't even know what to think, now that entire "mass circumcision campaigns" are being carried out based on dubious "studies" which continue to have no scientific foundation, whose results were ill-conceived and exaggerated, where the claim that circumcision has anything to do with HIV transmission is pure correlation hypothesis.

I ask, what if it could be proven with "research" that the removal of the labia and clitoral hood "reduced the likelihood of HIV transmission" from female to men? The disproven hypothesis that the Langerhans cells facilitate HIV transmission in males, as they are found in the mucosal lining of the foreskin, would also apply to female genitalia, whose mucosal lining is lined with the same cells. In at least one study, it would appear that HIV was less prevalent in circumcised women. And yet, there was no rush to test and see if this worked. No "trials" to circumcise thousands of women to see what "effects" this might have on HIV transmission.

Why?

Because no one is interested in justifying female genital cutting; it is clear to everyone that female circumcision is unethical, and no amount of "research" could be used to justify it. The converse is true with circumcision, where "researchers" are trying to "prove" that male circumcision, particularly the forced circumcision of males, is "ethical" by showing it is "not harmful," even "beneficial" to males. We have this double-standard where the vindication of female genital cutting through "science" and "research" is unacceptable and flatly rejected, but the vindication of male genital cutting is not. No organization would ever approve of similar "trials" in African women as they were in African men. Dissenters would argue that if positive findings were published, advocates of FGM would pounce upon them as vindication, and rightly so.

And yet, this wasn't a concern with male circumcision.

It wasn't a concern that advocates of circumcision would use the "research" to justify forced genital mutilation in boys and men.

I will go as far as to wager that the justification of forced genital mutilation in boys and men is precisely what the "researchers" had in mind.

No, actually, I KNOW for a fact that is what they had in mind; the idea that circumcision could "prevent HIV/AIDS" was actually heavily promoted by Jewish circumcision advocate Aaron J. Fink, out of disdain for policy statements of medical organizations at the time, which were already saying that infant circumcision was harmful. Others jumped on the idea, and they've been trying to "prove" that male circumcision "prevents HIV" ever since.

Much media attention is given to the fact that girls and women suffer FGM by amateurs in the African bush. Attention is brought to the fact that FGM is performed using crude instruments such as glass shards and rusty blades. Attention is brought to the fact that girls are abducted to be circumcised. Attention is brought to the fact that FGM results in death. But little attention is given to the fact that boys and men being circumcised in Africa suffer the exact same predicaments.

In criticizing Sara Johnsdotter and Lucrezia Catania, Hussein Ghanem said that their research, which showed that FGM isn't as detrimental as often portrayed, "played right into the hands of people who defend female genital cutting." But for whatever reason, this wasn't a concern when the WHO endorsed male circumcision as HIV prevention.

Yes, they try very hard to sell the slogan "Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision," as if adding the words "voluntary" and "medical" are supposed to make the fact that male genitals are being cut any more rosy. Somehow, I don't think the words "Voluntary Female Medical Circumcision" could ever be successfully juxtaposed.

But are people aware that boys and men are being forcibly circumcised in Africa? Are they aware that the pretext of "HIV prevention" is being used by some tribes to abduct and forcibly circumcise men in rival tribes? Are they aware that men are going around stopping men, asking them to take down their pants to see if they're circumcised? No doubt some may see this as "poetic justice" for the harassment Jews experienced in the Holocaust. Was this not a concern? Or was this actually an intended consequence to "create demand" for so-called "Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision?"

Here is a list of reports of boys and men being forcibly circumcised:

UGANDA: 220 men forcibly circumcised

UGANDA: HIV campaign confused with circum-rape: no effect on HIV rate


ZIMBABWE: 6 years for kidnapping, forced circumcision

UGANDA: Forced circumcision campaign stopped


UGANDA: Men flee "life-threatening" forced circumcision

UGANDA: Prisoners forcibly circumcised


KENYA: Circumcision forced on men and women - boy dies for refusing

UGANDA: Pretty women entrap intact men for enforced circumcision


SOUTH AFRICA: Taxi drivers fear forced dircumcision

Are people aware that, as in FGM, boys and men also die as a result of their initiation? That boys and men are also being circumcised out in the African bush with crude utensils by amateurs? That many boys and men do in fact lose their penises to gangrene, forcing them to live their life in shame? Why are these facts only a problem when we talk about female circumcision?

Here is a list of reports of boys and men suffering complications, or dying as a result of annual initiation rites:

EASTERN CAPE: Doctor who showed botched circumcisions defended, attacked


SOUTH AFRICA: 27 die from circumcision

SOUTH AFRICA: 29 die: ANC wants faster inquiry


SOUTH AFRICA: 23 die from circumcision

SOUTH AFRICA: Nearly 80 circumcision deaths

SOUTH AFRICA: More than 15 die from circumcision


SOUTH AFRICA: 33 die from circumcision

SOUTH AFRICA: More than 20 die from circumcision


SOUTH AFRICA: "Time to stop this practice"

FREE STATE, SOUTH AFRICA: Four more circumcision deaths


SOUTH AFRICA: Hospitals running out of beds for botched circumcisions


EASTERN CAPE: Circumcision deaths resume: 15 this season

EASTERN CAPE: 42 Circumcision deaths in three weeks

EASTERN CAPE: 20 circumcision deaths

The WHO endorsement of circumcision as HIV prevention has served to embolden forced circumcision wars among rival tribes, and to endorse traditional initiation practices which put the lives of boys and men in danger.

Would the WHO ever endorse female circumcision, even if this were "research-based?"

No. For the reason that they know that it would result in the de facto endorsement of human rights violations. They would not do anything that would "play into the hands of FGM advocates."

So why the different set of rules for male circumcision?

Why the blind eye and deaf ear to the forced MGM inflicted on boys and men? 

Out of Touch
Eight years following the WHO endorsement of circumcision as HIV prevention, and millions of dollars later, African men aren't too keen on the idea of cutting off part of their genitals, and organizations intent circumcising the whole of the African male population seem to be puzzled and frustrated that their programs simply aren't taking off as they would have liked. Here and there one can read articles about circumcision promoters and organizations thinking out loud, asking themselves "What went wrong?"

I've read articles on the PEPFAR website. I've seen videos and articles published by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I've seen articles published in peer reviewed journals. "Studies" and "research" on the "feasibility" of circumcision scale-up projects, the "acceptability" of circumcision, attitudes in men and women, their views of circumcision.

Instead of seeking to better educate Africans about the sexual transmission of STDs, it seems, promoters are intent in looking for the best way to brainwash them into both, believing circumcising their men and boys is desirable, and that they need to continue using conventional methods of STD prevention, such as fidelity and condoms.

The buzz words going around in circumcision/HIV circles is "demand creation." These words ought to strike audiences as odd, because one would think that the magic words "reduces HIV by 60%" would be a good enough incentive for men to go out and get circumcised, would they not?

"If you build it, they will come" didn't work. And millions have been squandered in ad campaigns all over Africa. In some areas, promoters are turning to bribery.

What could be the problem?

Africans Aren't Stupid
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why circumcision promoters are having trouble achieving their quotas. You don't need "studies" and "surveys" to figure out why.

Men simply don't see the value of getting circumcised, to undergo a painful, life-altering, permanent surgical alteration, which will permanently change the appearance and mechanics of their penises, if it means they only get "partial protection." Being told that "circumcision reduces HIV transmission by 60%" isn't all that impressive if it means that they still have to wear condoms.

Married men simply don't see the value of getting circumcised if they are faithful to their wives, and therefore not at risk for sexually transmitted HIV.

Women certainly don't want to be made to feel like their man is going out on them with other women. They want to be able to trust their partners with fidelity. So why would they encourage their men to go get circumcised? What can having their husbands go get circumcised mean, other than that they are expecting them to be unfaithful?

That the people up at HIV organizations think that they can actually get away with promoting circumcision the way they do can mean only one of to things; either HIV organizations are dense and stupid, or they believe the African public is.

From an outside, non-African perspective, I simply can't believe the bullshit that western HIV organizations are attempting to feed the people of Africa. Looking at what's going on in Africa, I'm simply insulted as an intact male.

As an intact man, I am expected to believe that, a) circumcision "reduces the likelihood of HIV transmission by 60% (from female to male)," and b) that I still have to wear condoms.


 


I ask, why in the world would any man in the right mind choose to have part of his penis removed, if it meant that one still had to wear condoms?

I ask, if I'm not convinced by this argument, why would I expect any other man to be? Let alone the men in Africa?

No intact man in the right mind could ever go for this. Men who are fully informed, men who have been made aware of all the facts simply cannot see any value in undergoing circumcision, and can clearly see that it is complete madness that organizations are spending millions in funds trying to convince other men to part with their foreskins for only "partial protection." If you went around pushing this nonsense in Europe, people would laugh in your face. They're pushing this shit in Africa because they think Africans are gullible idiots.

The only people who see the value in circumcision campaigns are those men and women who already have religious or cultural convictions for the practice of circumcision. They would like circumcision to be a free service, performed at hospitals by trained professionals, as opposed to the African bush, performed by amateurs using crude utensils, where men are more likely to suffer complications, including infection, loss of their organ, and even death. People with religious or cultural convictions for circumcision cannot verily declare this to be the case, so they are more than likely to disguise these convictions and desire to have circumcision as a free service by parroting the circumcision/HIV propaganda. "I am glad I am protected," they will say, when they truly mean to say "I cashed in on a free circumcision, thanks to these HIV programs!" "Everybody should be circumcised in order to prevent HIV infection," they will say, when they mean to say "We want all men to be circumcised and must submit to our tribal or religious tradition."

THE SOLUTION: More Money, More Propaganda
So eight years and several million dollars later, the great scheme to circumcise Africa in the name of HIV transmission hasn't taken off. Africans simply aren't buying it. Worse than that, the risk compensation nightmare intactivists have warned about from the very beginning is coming true.


Men are walking away with the message that condoms aren't necessary once they're circumcised. This false sense of security makes it difficult for female partners to convince them to wear condoms.

The endorsement of circumcision as HIV prevention is seen as a green light for traditional, rite-of-passage circumcision practices, as well as the forced circumcision of men by men in rival circumcising tribes, resulting in infections, loss of genital organs and death, not to mention an increased risk of HIV transmission due to the usage of dirty, crude equipment.

These "mass circumcision campaigns" are a massive failure. But how are circumcision promotion agencies responding? What is their solution?

More money, more propaganda.


"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."


"Demand creation," say the circumcision "experts," is the key.

HIV promoting organizations are observing what's happening, and their solution is to up the ante, use more coercive tactics to get the men to circumcise themselves "voluntarily."

The problem, the reason they aren't seeing men flocking to get circumcised, according to them, is that men simply don't understand what's good for them. The women don't either. The solution is to "understand" "why" people aren't buying it, in order to hit the right buttons, come up with the necessary "studies" that quell people's fears, and people will start banging down the doors.

In Swaziland, the US wants to spend another 24.5 million to attempt to circumcise the male Swazi population again. This time, they're through with the "voluntary" part of the slogan, and they have their eyes set on newborns. (There is zero evidence that newborn circumcision does anything to reduce HIV transmission, not to mention the reality that is the United States of America, where 80% of US males are circumcised from birth, and yet the United States has a higher HIV prevalence rate than 53 countries where circumcision is rare [under 20%] or not practiced, according to he CIA Factbook.)

Because, apparently, enough money hasn't been squandered in circumcision campaigns as it is.

"Demand Creation": What does it mean?
Currently "demand creation" are the buzz words among circumcision promoters. But what do these words mean? To me this can only mean brainwashing and counterproductive propaganda.

When the goal of HIV organizations is no longer to prevent HIV, when the goal is, instead, to circumcise as many men, boys and children as possible, when the goal is to gain the "acceptance" of circumcision, when the goal is to achieve a quota within a certain time frame, then the only outcome of this is can be lies and deception.

In order to achieve "demand creation," one can expect more attacks on African masculinity. More coercion through sex appeal. More "studies" exaggerating the "benefits" of circumcision. More diseases that circumcision is supposed to cure. With the promotion of male infant circumcision, there will be more "studies" minimizing the risks and harms of circumcision. (Is it any wonder that the CDC has already published a "study" saying when the best time to circumcise male is?)

Men and women who fully understand the facts, that circumcision is a painful, permanent alteration which, even if the current "research" were correct, could only provide "partial" protection, that circumcision fails and therefore condoms must still be used, do not, cannot possibly see any value in circumcision. Men fully aware of the facts do not, cannot be convinced to accept this for themselves. Parents fully aware of the facts, do not, cannot be convinced to accept this for their children. Therefore the only possible outcome is that, in order to realize quotas and meet deadlines, the facts must be denied, lies must be told, and the truth must be hidden at all costs.

Therefore the only outcome of "demand creation" is that the public will believe that circumcision prevents HIV transmission, that being circumcised means condoms are disposable, that unsafe sex with a man is acceptable as long as he is circumcised.

Therefore the only outcome of "demand creation" is, necessarily, that the HIV epidemic in African countries will be exasperated.

At the expense of the American taxpayer.

At the expense of the truth.

At the expense of scientific credibility.

At the expense of the human dignity of Africans.

At the expense of African lives.

At the expense of basic human rights of minors.

The problem isn't that African men and women "don't understand" and that they need to be "educated," no. The men and women and Africa understand what circumcision and HIV are. They understand that circumcision, even if the "research" were accurate, could only provide "partial protection," that men would still have to wear condoms, and simply aren't interested.

The problem is that the people at HIV organizations, the people at the American CDC, the people at PEPFAR, the people at Bill and Melinda Gates, the people at the WHO have all lost their senses completely.

It is absolute madness that they've all made it the end goal of the HIV movement to circumcise Africa, if not the world. While precious funds could be put to better use, millions are being squandered on promoting a dubious form of HIV prevention which is already superseded by the cheaper, less invasive, more effective modes of prevention which are condoms and education.

Beyond Circumcision
Circumcision does not, cannot stop HIV transmission. Even if the research is accurate, circumcision fails to prevent HIV transmission, which is why circumcised males must still be urged to wear condoms. There is no doctor, researcher or HIV organization that can deny this fact. Circumcision is a stop-gap at best, and scientists and researchers need to be looking for other, better ways to prevent HIV. Or, at least they're supposed to be.

Are circumcision scientists and researchers thinking of a time where HIV can be stopped in less invasive ways, without surgery? Is there a time in their minds when there will be a method of HIV prevention so effective circumcision can be discontinued? What non-cutting way are "researchers" looking into? Or is circumcision all they got?

Has anyone up at the WHO, up at PEPFAR, etc. stopped to consider that maybe perhaps the men aren't stupid and don't WANT to be circumcised?

Here's a question I've got to ask; do these "mass circumcision campaigns" offer men alternatives?

Have "researchers" considered the possibility men may not want to get circumcised despite the much touted "benefits," that "60%" may not be all that convincing, and that they're just going to have to accept that some men may not want to get circumcised?

Do HIV information packages that are given the men and women include the option NOT to circumcise?

Something that reads along these lines:

"Circumcision only provides partial protection against HIV in the event a couple decides to have unprotected sex, or if you are male and plan on having casual sexual encounters without condoms. If you are a faithful man, if your partner is a faithful man, circumcision may not be appropriate for you. For men who are faithful to their partners, and/or use condoms consistently, not circumcising is an option."

These are the facts.

I somehow doubt that men and women in Africa will be give them, seeing as knowing these facts will defer them from opting in favor of circumcision, and HIV organizations are given quotas for funds from PEPFAR, Bill and Melinda Gates, etc.

HIV organizations, what's plan B?

Or is circumcision all you have?

Is it just that HIV organizations are spending millions in precious funds on a dubious, invasive, expensive form of HIV prevention that nobody wants?

When condoms are already cheaper, less invasive, and more worlds more effective?

Circumcision Promotion vs HIV Prevention: What Is the Objective of HIV Organizations?
It is clear that the HIV movement has been hijacked by mad individuals with the twisted world view that all boys and men in the world ought to be circumcised. Instead of the prevention of HIV transmission, their goal has become to circumcise boys and men in and outside of Africa at all costs.

The actions of circumcision advocates at HIV organizations, their resolve to keep spending millions on promoting circumcision, even after having previously spent millions more, indicate that they believe Africans are incapable of deductive reasoning. A separate experiment is being carried out in Africa, with African men, women and children as guinea pigs. This is not about how much HIV can be prevented, but about how people can be more effectively brainwashed, about just how gullible and stupid people can be, and what they could be manipulated into doing.

Look at the latest in circumcision "research." It focuses on "acceptability" and "feasibility." It has nothing to do with HIV prevention mechanisms; the research is in how people can be more efficaciously brainwashed. It's almost as if they've given up on researching for an actual HIV solution. All their eggs are in the circumcision basket. Circumcision promoters are taking advantage of the impoverished state of African nations in order to conduct social experiments on them.

There is a problem when the slogan to promote circumcision is no longer "reduce your chances of contracting HIV prevention," but has been replaced with "become popular with women" and "last longer in bed." There is a problem when HIV organizations are more concerned with "demand creation" for a dubious mode of HIV prevention with human rights implications, than they are in making sure Africans understand how they can be HIV/AIDS free.

There is a problem when millions of dollars are being pumped into a mode of prevention that men don't want, and for good reason. There is a problem when the goal of circumcision promotion replaces HIV prevention.

The goal of HIV organizations needs to be brought back into focus, which is to prevent HIV and find a cure. If the end goal is to make sure everyone is circumcised, regardless of whether or not HIV is being prevented, not to mention other medical problems where precious funds are needed, then HIV organizations seriously need to reevaluate their priorities.

Conclusion
The promotion of male circumcision as HIV prevention is not based in science, but on unproven, or even disproven theories and correlation hypothesis based on exaggerated numbers. There is no scientifically demonstrable causal link between the foreskin and increased HIV transmission, and conversely, between circumcision and decreased HIV transmission. Without it, the campaigns in Africa are belief-based, not science-based medicine.

Real world data does not support the claim circumcising 80% of the male population results in decreased HIV transmission.

It is simply irrefutable that circumcision does not, cannot prevent HIV transmission. Circumcision fails to prevent HIV, and no doctor, researcher or scientist can deny this fact; this is the reason why circumcised men must still be urged to wear condoms.

The promotion of male circumcision is doing more harm than good, as it is a dubious form of HIV prevention which is being seen as an alternative to more effective sex practices, such as abstinence, fidelity and condoms.

The promotion of male circumcision is resulting in the violation of basic human rights of boys and men in and out of Africa; rival tribes are forcibly circumcising each other, boys and men are being abducted and forcibly circumcised, and the forced circumcision of minors is being promoted.

The promotion of male circumcision is resulting in yearly massacre in Africa, where WHO endorsement is seen as a green light for traditional rites of passage.

The promotion of male circumcision is resulting in the humiliation and sexual harassment of men who are not circumcised and do not want to be circumcised.

The promotion of male circumcision is a gross waste of funds which could be being put to better, more productive use.

The promotion of male circumcision is a sexist, misandrist, mean-spirited attack on male sexuality, upon African males, upon children in other parts of the world, and the male sex in general, and the WHO should have NEVER endorsed it.

The "mass circumcision campaigns" have got to be stopped. The WHO needs to retract it's recommendation of male circumcision as HIV prevention, and the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting individuals needs to be recognized for the mutilation and violation of basic human rights it is.

I call on reputable scientists, researchers, doctors and medical organizations with a conscience, to speak out and demand that the WHO retract their endorsement of circumcision as HIV prevention, and to call out that these "mass circumcision campaigns" be brought to a halt.

Update (5/27/2014):
Latest ploy in Zimbabwe: "Circumcision makes you smarter."

"We have campaigns that are specifically targeting adolescents, people in schools — so during school holidays we are doing massive mobilisations on mass media... "So get smart, get circumcised. Male circumcision is not only HIV prevention intervention, but it is improving hygiene, you are cleaner, you are smarter.'"
~Dr. Karin Hatzold, deputy head of Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe

If circumcision makes you smarter, what does this imply if you have a foreskin? Are African boys and men aware they're basically being slapped in the face?