Thursday, September 25, 2008

The foreskin Wars

Several years ago, I conducted an ethnographic study on people’s knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards medical research using a trial on male circumcision as a case study in Kisumu. Given that our main topic of conversation was sex and western models of research, you can imagine we always had plenty to jazz about. Six years later, CNN and Time declared male circumcision as the biggest medical breakthrough of 2007. Not suprisingly, foreskins have since become a bit of an obsession amongst mainstream media and my fellow bloggers. So if everybody is talking about it, why can't I?

Question: But is Sukuma Kenya the right place to be writing about weeners?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Why?
Answer? Because some losers have turned a public health debate into a political one and Sukuma Kenya strongly dislikes politicians.

So Kisumu is back on the global media map again - Mr. Obama, so-called son of Lake Victoria, kindly step aside for a moment as our noble politicians pull their pants down:

Kenyan MPs admit to circumcision
"Standing before an audience of 500 in the western city of Kisumu, including Prime Minister Raila Odinga, three government ministers and an MP said they had secretly undergone the operation…"

When a stitch in time really saves nine
"To cut or not to cut — that is the question as politicians from Nyanza take the bull by the horns to disregard age-old customs. Prime Minister Raila Odinga illustrated the gravity of the matter when he led local politicians on Monday to Kisumu to attend a health conference…"

We all know what terrible atrocities were committed in january after the elections including poor uncircumcised including men being mutilated in the name of politics. So I ask my fellow cyperpunks, what good are you doing fuelling your foreskin with stupid comments like,

"Hi all I join you all in the campaign against this exercise, meant to covenant the luos into the politics of doom!"

Fortunately, there are some sensible people still out there including Luo women living in Kibera slums who point out that, "It is not good that Kibera remains a thriving Poverty Tourism attraction while the PM preoccupies himself with non issues like chopping of foreskin and touring central Kenya every weekend."

Ok, so where is this all going? I am sure there is a great deal of truth in the relationship between susceptibility to HIV and weeners with foreskins. But I am even more sure that there is a very strong relationship between poverty and HIV.

Question: Is Kenya a poor country?
Answer: Yes
Question: What is the minimum wage in Kenya?
Answer: About 5000/- Ksh ($80) a month
Question: What do MPs earn in Kenya?
Answer: About 600,000/- Ksh ($9000) a month.

So fellow activists, let's take some advice from the wisdom of our poverty stricken mamas and demand that the criminals in charge of this country give back what is not their and stop beating off in the bush and fucking us over with their foreskins. Leave Reproductive Health matters to people who know what they are talking about and try and stayed focused on the great divide between the handful of rich who stole from the poor and turned our country into one big dumpsite.

Click HERE if you wish to sign a petition that actually makes some sense.


Nairobi, Coming of Age said...

This debate is timely and it’s an issue that should be approached with caution.
The question we should be asking ourselves should be; are the proponents of this ‘cut’ looking at the other side of the coin that once 'cut' men may engage in unprotected sex thinking that they are now safe.
Another issue of concern should be whether the medical personnel there is ready and fully equipped, for it’s a delicate process, diabetes and the issue of post care.
My opinion is abstinence, faithfulness to ones uninfected sexual partner and correct use of condoms are the only sure way of stemming AIDS rapid spread. The ‘cut’ may pray a role but a very small role.
The cultural aspect of the whole issue should also be looked at. The input of the cultural leadership should be held in high regard.
Adopting of the ‘cut’ may be a positive thing but it should be restricted to the younger generation and the one to come. If one is married there is not much point of putting one self out of service for close to a month.

TLC Tugger said...

I'm so sorry that almost everyone who discusses this misses the point.

Foreskin feels REALLY good.

The foreskin includes over half the sensual pleasure-receptive nerve endings, provides protection for the glans and mucosa from the drying and abrasive effects of air and clothing, and gives an exquisite frictionless rolling/gliding mode of intimate interaction for a man and his partner.

Most of the US men who have died of AIDS were circumcised at birth. Circumcision does not prevent AIDS.

Anonymous said...

Tic tugger - Did anyone say that circumcision prevents AIDS?!

Circumcision significantly reduces a man's risk of acquiring HIV from having heterosexual sex.

I disagree with the Mamas of Kibera, this is a very important issue, and it is one to be dealt with sensitively by politicans in accordance with the research and advice of those health people who know what they are talking about and why, because politicians have the mandate and ear of the people.

It's obvious its not the sole preventative method we should be concerned with.

Maybe when more research is done into the use of foreskins in the formulation of super expensive anti-aging creams in the States we will have a new national export on our hands - or rather, on your penises!
Lol ;)

Anonymous said...

There is no evidence that HIV/AIDS is associated with poverty. In fact, the evidence seems to go the other way. Within Africa, richer people are more likely to be infected with HIV. Also, think about it: the highest HIV prevalence in Africa is in Botswana and S. Africa, both richer populations (i.e., higher GDP per capita). But it is a compelling story to say that AIDS is caused by poverty and it is nearly universally believed.

I’m beginning to believe that the internet is a potentially very dangerous tool and that the potential is unfortunately coming to pass. Any fool (not you) can write anything, and millions of people can read it and believe it. Sensible people seldom go to blogs or write on any blogs other than a specialized few. So it is largely fools speaking to and reinforcing fools. Sorry, this sounds elitist, but I see evidence of this everywhere. For example, we have a debate going on in this country about whether the government should bail out our banks and financial institutions. There is absolutely no doubt among sensible, informed people that this is our only course in order to stabilize markets and save millions – yes, literally millions - from loosing their jobs. It is REALLY important. Yet, if you go to the blogs, there is NOT ONE person who supports the “bail out” as they are calling it. They are wrong, and if our politicians listen to them, they are going to drive this country into a downward spiral that will send us all into ruin, and I am not exaggerating. And this is not only important for the U.S., it will have HUGE repercusions for the entire globe, including little Kenya, which will see even more inflation and economic stagnation than it is seeing now.

lumiti said...

There is no clear evidence that "circumcision significantly reduces a man's risk of acquiring HIV from having heterosexual sex". What the 'experts' have done is misrepresent the data arising from their (biased)Kisumu study.

What they actually found was that in a sample population of infected men, the number of circumcised men was less by 60% relative to the uncircumcised. That is, for 5 infected men, 2 were circumcised and 3 were not. This cannot be the same as saying that a circumcised man's chances of being infected are only 40%.

But for the sake of donor funds, it is perhaps ok to say so.

william said...

Classic GI and prison chow line dish consisting of dried chipped beef in cream sauce poured over toasted light bread. The name seems to have originated in the U. S. Navy during World War Two. Intact sailors were "strongly encouraged" by Naval doctors and corpsman to undergo adult circumcisions for "hygienic" and "health" reasons.

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Anonymous said...

Hey I'm all for good sex, and I think most guys like their foreskins. Risky sex is the problem, do it and you are asking for trouble. My experience in South Africa revealed that whore houses were the accepted and the norm for working men with disposable cash. Especially if home was far away. In Ethiopia HIV has spread because of the army. In Senegal HIV rates are very low - abstinence due to Islam is apparently the reason...