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When peer pressure becomes coercion - Page 3

post #41 of 52
Thread Starter 
minkajane, your post got me going through the materials I brought home from Vienna -- and getting nauseated all over again! While there are several pages of the brochures that would be of interest to folks here, I am concerned about scanning and posting them because they are copyrighted material.

I guess it's OK to mention a few salient points they make. I will be careful to post just small excerpts of what each section contains:

From "Progress Report on Kenya's Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Programme: 2008-2009 Summary" we see the following tidbits:

-- there is considerable resistance to circumcision from sexually active men over 25, but VMMC has proved popular among young boys and teens. "Research is needed to determine how to adjust communication and service delivery strategies to attract more sexually active men..."

In other words, those who actually have enjoyed their foreskins would like to keep them. Challenge is how to trick/force them into getting cut.

-- "Women play an influential role in men's decisions about circumcision, and they should be a primary audience for VMMC communications. Wives and girlfriends can benefit from the other HIV services offered"

In other words, let's lie to women and tell them that male circumcision benefits them, too -- even though studies show it actually puts women at greater risk. We'll also plant the message in communities that "real" men are cut and circumcised penises are much more attractive and cleaner. Nagging your husband to get cut and withholding sex until he does is highly effective (I heard this often in Vienna)

-- "Knowing that male circumcision is a story that lends itself to sensationalistic coverage, the national and provincial task forces convened a workshop for print and broadcast journalists. Supported by our partner the Male Circumcision Consortium, [we] established a basis for a positive relationship between the journalists and the task force members."

In other words, we thoroughly screened out anyone who does not agree 100% with our message and mission, and we feed only carefully-chosen propaganda to select journalists who agree to publish only what we want.

-- "By October 2009, 50,526 men and boys in Nyanza had been circumcised. Although this was a considerable achievement, the government was concerned the programme still might not be able to meet demand." Our plan for a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) is a bold plan to mobilise all available resources to circumcise 30,000 men and boys ages 15 to 49 over 30 working days. In fact, we were able to circumcise 37,000.

In other words, they proceeded with reckless abandon. The next section reveals the problems: despite the target audience, more than 45% of those circumcised during the RRI were under 15 years of age (and probably didn't fully understand what they were in for). The actual cohort circumcised consisted largely of virgin boys and therefore there would be no measurable benefit from circumcision. Alarmingly, the percentage of clients agreeing to be tested for HIV was only 39% (goal was 100%) and a staggering 77% of those circumcised during the RRI failed to return for any follow-up, so there is no way of knowing whether circumcision ultimately benefited them at all.

They note that these RRI figures are much worse than during routine VMMC delivery, suggesting that counseling, protocol and accuracy are being ignored for speed.

-- During its first 15 months, Kenya's VMMC programme laid the foundation for scale-up of male circumcision and provided services to 88,217. However, the programme is not yet on track to circumcise 420,000 men and boys 15-49 in Nyanza by 2013; so far, the appeal is mostly among boys under 15.

In other words, the peer pressure programs (like soccer) are succeeding too well -- the government is ending up circumcising heaps of boys who won't even be sexually active for years, and are not at any present risk of sexually-contracted HIV. Thus, there is no valid way to tell whether this is a valid public health strategy or just useless penile surgery on a large and expensive scale, on pubescent boys who don't really understand the loss from circumcision.

-- The Way Forward: Focus efforts on more effectively reaching sexually active males 15-49, and simultaneously implement SVIMMC -- Safe Voluntary Infant Medical Male Circumcision throughout the province.

In other words: scorched earth. And what precisely about healthy infant circumcision is voluntary and medical?

Here are the partners in implementing the VMMC and SVIMMC programs in Kenya:

Catholic Medical Mission Board
University of California at San Francisco Family AIDS Care and Education Services
University of Illinois at Chicago (where Robert Bailey is a professor) -- UofI is also a founding member of the Male Circumcision Consortium (MCC), the propaganda machine roaring across East & Southern Africa
University of Manitoba
Impact Research and Development Organization
EngenderHealth - MCC founding member
UNAIDS
WHO
FHI (originally Family Health International at UNC Chapel Hill) -- MCC founding member
PSI (Population Services International)

Where is the money coming from for the African mass circumcision ramp-ups? Supporting (funding) partners:

PEPFAR -- The US President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
US Agency for International Development (AID)
US Department of Defense (yes, PEPFAR forced DoD to allocate a chunk of its budget for African circumcisions)
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Marie Stopes International
The World Bank, Washington DC
post #42 of 52
Thread Starter 
Note that with the exception of Marie Stopes International, based in London, ALL of the overseas money promoting circumcision in Africa is coming from the United States: The Gates Foundation; PEPFAR; CDC; The World Bank in Washington, DC; USAID; and DoD. It is rumored that the Bill Clinton Foundation is about to contribute significantly.

Where are the Germans? The French? The Japanese, the Brazilians, the Chinese, the Russians, the Italians, the Australians? Canada?

All of these countries do contribute to the world fight against HIV/AIDS. But they are not contributing one red cent toward the drive to circumcise. In fact, they are distancing themselves from the whole idea. It's almost solely a US initiative. There is no "global consensus" that circumcision works against HIV or any other disease; it's chauvinistic propaganda gushing out of Washington, Atlanta, Chicago and Seattle.
post #43 of 52
Brant, I almost cried reading all that! I just can't fathom how they are getting away with lying about every single thing they're doing???
post #44 of 52
I was just wondering, is there some sort of watch group to monitor and report on all this activity in a way that is accessable to the general public? If there isn't, then there definitely should be.

Publicity could at least embarrass them into behaving a little more ethically.

As for the "safe" circumcision of infants in the region, my understanding is that in the poor and rural areas of Africa, large numbers of newborns die of tetanus because they don't even have sufficient sanitation to cut umbilical cords cleanly. How on Earth are they going to "safely" cut newborn's penises and care for the wounds?
post #45 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by brant31 View Post
Note that with the exception of Marie Stopes International, based in London, ALL of the overseas money promoting circumcision in Africa is coming from the United States: The Gates Foundation; PEPFAR; CDC; The World Bank in Washington, DC; USAID; and DoD. It is rumored that the Bill Clinton Foundation is about to contribute significantly.

Where are the Germans? The French? The Japanese, the Brazilians, the Chinese, the Russians, the Italians, the Australians? Canada?
The University of Manitoba is Canadian. I was disappointed to see that on the list. I'm not surprised that most of the drive is coming from the US, but I wonder why the other countries are not questioning this initiative.
post #46 of 52
i am wondering if it is so lopsided american contributions because that is sort of how we deal with healthcare in this country... no real education just cut it out, give a pill for it, cover it up. but don't ever really treat the cause or educate on how to prevent the problem/disease.
i could you my mom as an example, she will not seek any help from a doctor UNLESS they will do some sort of surgery OR give her a pill for it. all the education they try is all just so much hot air. she could care less. so most doctors just don't bother, don't have time and could really care less themselves.

here you have a country that has a value system different then ours, they have social taboos that we don't have, they live in poverty alot of the time, alot of them can not go to school to get what we would consider an education, so i think we sort of see them as children, or maybe stupid and the best way to deal with that is to go as simple as possible. don't actually TRY and teach them anything, just tell them that cutting this piece of skin off will help them, feed them lies and send them on their way... problem solved. except it isn't.
post #47 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree View Post
i am wondering if it is so lopsided american contributions because that is sort of how we deal with healthcare in this country... no real education just cut it out, give a pill for it, cover it up. but don't ever really treat the cause or educate on how to prevent the problem/disease.
i could you my mom as an example, she will not seek any help from a doctor UNLESS they will do some sort of surgery OR give her a pill for it. all the education they try is all just so much hot air. she could care less. so most doctors just don't bother, don't have time and could really care less themselves.

here you have a country that has a value system different then ours, they have social taboos that we don't have, they live in poverty alot of the time, alot of them can not go to school to get what we would consider an education, so i think we sort of see them as children, or maybe stupid and the best way to deal with that is to go as simple as possible. don't actually TRY and teach them anything, just tell them that cutting this piece of skin off will help them, feed them lies and send them on their way... problem solved. except it isn't.
i think you may be onto something. i think this is much like the anti bed-sharing campaigns that go on. instead of telling people how to do it safely, they just say not to. instead of educating on the importance of the prepuce, how to care for it properly (doing nothing, really ), they just cut it off.

sus
post #48 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NSmomtobe View Post
The University of Manitoba is Canadian. I was disappointed to see that on the list. I'm not surprised that most of the drive is coming from the US, but I wonder why the other countries are not questioning this initiative.

Because it doesn't personally affect them. For all they care, the US and Africa can start snipping at the foreskin and continue all the way up to their noses. Just so long as no one is coming after their foreskins.

It is true that UManitoba is the only Canadian partner institution arranging the cutting in Africa, but at least they're not one of the financiers. And the ONLY reason UM is involved is because of the obsessive focus of Stephen Moses and Francis A. Plummer on circumcision; these guys have been hyperventilating about cutting boys for 30 years, long before HIV. They are members of the original cabal on a quest to eradicate foreskins from Earth, along with Edgar Schoen, Tom Wiswell, Roger Short, Ronald Gray and many others.

The "club" of foreskin-detesting researchers and doctors is almost exclusively American, Canadian and Australian... interestingly enough, the 3 largest countries that took the initial idea of medicalized circumcision in the late 1800s and pushed it to nearly universal levels in their countries. The Brits were part of this experiment, too, but sensibly never dabbled above about 35% with circumcision and quickly shot it back down to zero.

This band of middle-aged, white, circumcised men appears to have an almost pathological need to validate the surgery that was standard in their youth. At every possible turn they look for potential benefits of circumcision, spewing out research and reports at the rate of several dozen a year. They continually lament the "tragic, shortsighted" moves in their home countries away from infant circumcision.

If these 2 dozen dinosaurs would stop their crusade, infant circumcision would quietly die out in much of the world. But their mission is to fan the flames until their dying breaths, with brotherly support from each other. Nearly every news report about circumcision over the last 20 years can somehow be traced back to one or more of them.
post #49 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by brant31 View Post
Because it doesn't personally affect them. For all they care, the US and Africa can start snipping at the foreskin and continue all the way up to their noses. Just so long as no one is coming after their foreskins.
I'm guessing most of the men at the U of M, who are pushing to be part of this, are all over 30. Though circ has become rare in Canada today 50 years ago it was a different story. My DH was born up in Toronto, and MIL, who spoke very little english and no french at the time, was tricked into getting DH circ'd 39 years ago.
post #50 of 52
my mil syas that 40 + years ago they didn't even ask you, they just did it. (here in the USA) she says now that she knows more, she wishes she hadn't had it done. they kept so many people in the dark about it.

h
post #51 of 52
These people who want to manipulate othes to get circumcised and circumcise their children remind me of another caring loving group of people:

The tobacco lobby:

We target the poor, the young, the uneducated and the stupid.

All this is nothing to do with health or AIDS or anything, its all to do with POWER.

Never underestimate the joy some people get from POWER over others. As one good doctor said he enjoyed POWER over others tremendously.
post #52 of 52
brant, thanks for posting all this info...wow...I get queasy just reading it. It reminds me very much of some of the stuff Sonia Shah was writing about in The Body Hunters. Ethics as a moving target, just set up shop in some developing country, tell the population that you've got some magical treatment that will cure their ongoing problem (but don't actually let them know any more than this or ever inform them of possible complications and implications from agreeing to participate) and then push your agenda, no matter what happens to the local population or who dies as a result of your actions. I'm just so sickened that these individuals can get up at conferences, knowing that most of the first world is abandoning circ at record rates, and tell Africans that this is their salvation. It's insane. The patronizing arrogance of it all.

Quote:
I quizzed both African men and women about their knowledge of circ prevalence. Almost without fail, they guessed the US rate at 100% and the European rate at 100%. When I told them the European neonatal circ rate is under 2% and always has been, the US rate has fallen nearly to 50%, and Canada and Australia are on their way to abandoning RIC, they were floored. And angry. You could see the betrayal in their eyes.
This says it all. Unbelievable. And the people perpetuating these lies have no ethics, no conscience whatsoever. I'm at a loss for words for how ethically and morally depraved someone has to be to actively support and promote this initiative.
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