Thursday, February 13, 2014

CIRCUMCISION: "Just a Little Piece of Skin?"

We've all heard it. Whenever male infant circumcision is being talked about, somebody always has to trivialize the issue by saying "It's just a little piece of skin, I don't know what the big deal is." It's quite possibly the most common quip used to try and minimize the issue of male infant circumcision.

Since the foreskin is "just a little piece of skin," it's removal is trivial, of no consequence, and can be likened to the removal of any other dead, unfeeling body part, like the hair, fingernails or dried up umbilical cord.

But how much of this is true?

How do male infant circumcision advocates define "just a little piece of skin?"

Is it like peeling off a dead layer of skin cells?

How much is "little?"

How much would be "too much?"

What is "just the right amount?"

People say "It's just a little piece of skin" like it's really nothing, and the more I read about what the foreskin is, the more I see what circumcision is, what it does, what is actually removed, what is actually done to a child, the more it pisses me off.

Very recently, I've had the sad and depressing opportunity to see pictures of a child's severed foreskin. I'm looking at what is being removed and I think to myself, "How on EARTH is it justifiable to forcibly cut off a normal, healthy piece of flesh of this size off of anybody? 'Little piece of skin' MY ASS."

A nurse posted the following picture on Facebook:

The nurse salvaged a newborn's foreskin from a garbage can after an infant circumcision. On the left, the foreskin is shriveled up. On the right, the same foreskin is unfolded, with the inner mucosal surface exposed.
How on EARTH can anyone get away with saying that this is "just a little bit of skin?" This is no "little bit of skin," this quite a bit of flesh, and nerves and blood vessels.

If this "little bit of skin" belonged to a baby girl, there would be outrage.

It wouldn't matter that the baby girl would be "too small to remember."

It wouldn't matter that she was given proper pain management.

It wouldn't matter that it was done to fulfill a religious conviction.

The words on people's lips would be "genital mutilation," and rightly so.

Let's take a look at a picture of a baby girl's severed clitoris.

The following picture was taken from a blog written by a mother in Malaysia, who documented the "sunat" of her daughter, who was just a few months old, in her blog. She has since removed the post, as there was an outpour of international outrage in her comments section.

Original Text: "It happens so fast, with a bismillah and a snip,
a little bit blood and that's it, Zahra dah sunat!
She didn't cry even a drop, in fact giggling2 lagi.
I guess it wasn't painful for her, alhamdulillahh.."
The slit clitoris if you can find it (on the lower blade)

What looks more like "just a little snip" to you?

Keep in mind that as a child grows into a man, his foreskin grows too; it isn't so little by the time the child is an adult.

I'm just kind of tired that people throw the words "just a little piece of skin" around as if it were matter of fact.

The foreskin is not "just a little bit of skin." The foreskin is a complex, double-layered fold of flesh, laden in thousands of nerves and blood vessels.

The foreskin is not a birth defect.

Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft.

Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder.

Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails.

The foreskin is not "extra skin." The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, functioning tissue, with which all boys are born; it is as intrinsic to male genitalia as labia are to female genitalia.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting individual is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation, and it needs to stop NOW.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

AFRICA: Botwsana to Implement Controversial Infant Circumcision Devices

Circumcisionist Ambitions Realised
As if calling circumcision an HIV prevention method, and implementing "mass circumcision campaigns" in the so-called name of HIV prevention weren't controversial enough, Botswana is one of those countries whose medical authorities have been convinced to take it a step further, and start campaigns to circumcise newborn boys. Perhaps they see this as the next step, seeing as adult men aren't falling for the propaganda, and some countries, such as Japan, have begun to stop funding adult male circumcision programs?

It should be no surprise that babies are finally being targeted for circumcision under the pretext of HIV prevention. The justification of male infant circumcision is what circumcision "researchers" have been aiming for all along. Circumcision is not this medical "solution" that "researchers" supposedly "discovered" merely 30 years ago; the fight to justify male infant circumcision has been raging on since Greco-Roman rule.

Circumcision, particularly male infant circumcision, is a cherished tradition in Judaism, and it's a money-maker for American physicians. The goal isn't to stop HIV in Africa; the goal is, and has always been, to justify male infant circumcision in the US, and elsewhere. Circumcision "researchers" want for medical organizations, such as the AAP, to point to Africa and say "Male infant circumcision prevents HIV in Africa, therefore we recommend infant circumcision for American babies." Is it any wonder that much of the funding for "mass medical male circumcision," or any similar variant, happens to be American money?

Implementation of Controversial Infant Circumcision Devices
Circumcising male infants should be controversial enough, as amputative surgery in healthy, non-consenting minors is unethical. There goes the "voluntary" part of the so-called "Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision" slogan...

The plot should thicken when, not only are baby boys being circumcised, but they're being circumcised with controversial devices.

According to StarAfrica, the Botswana Ministry of Health has adopted the Mogen clamp and AccuCirc device, to be administered to healthy, non-consenting, non-sexually-active children. National coordinator Conrad Ntsuape told state-run Radio Botswana that the two devices were the best that Botswana opted for.

The following passage is disconcerting:
"Ntsuape noted that the entire procedure would be bloodless, requiring no anaesthesia, suturing or a sterile setting."
It sounds very similar to the lines of a certain Neil Pollock.

Of course there is no such thing as a "bloodless" circumcision, requiring no anaesthesia, nor a sterile setting. Even the latest AAP statement features a lengthy passage on adequate pain management for infants undergoing circumcision. A sterile setting is necessary to avoid infections, such as those with MRSA.

Let's continue further:
"Ntsuape said the decision to adopt the two devices followed a lengthy consultation process that focused on acceptability of infant male circumcision as part of HIV prevention and male reproductive health efforts that was conducted by Botswana and the United States through Harvard Institute in 2008."

Instead of the acceptability of male infant circumcision, shouldn't it have focused on other things? Like, for example, whether or not male infant circumcision is effective in reducing HIV? (There are no studies that exist on this subject, and world data shows that it does not.) Shouldn't there have been an actual evaluation of the risks involved, especially given the devices being considered?

"Ntsuape said the results of the survey indicated that 96 per cent of mothers in Botswana accepted early infant circumcision while the remaining four per cent were undecided or not interested."

Before considering what mothers have to say in a survey after being told that circumcision would prevent HIV in their sons, where is the proof that infant circumcision reduces HIV transmission? Were the risks of circumcision discussed with these mothers? Were the risks of each device disclosed to these mothers? Was the fact that circumcision cannot prevent HIV transmission, and therefore even circumcised men have to wear condoms discussed with the mothers?

What Botswana Circumcision Advocates May Not Tell Parents

The Mogen device being marketed here has a terrible track record for circumcision mishaps, including glans amputations. So infamous is the Mogen clamp for circumcision mishaps that numerous million-dollar lawsuits put the company out of business.

Common Mogen Problem: The circumciser is blind to the condition of the child's glans. Some or all of the glans is pulled up along with the foreskin, resulting in partial or full glans amputations.

What mothers have to say about circumcision has no bearing on the fact that there is no scientific evidence that circumcising newborns will prevent HIV transmission, but would the women in this survey answer the same, if they were given this information?

The AccuCirc device is a recent invention that doesn't have much of a history, not that it needs any, as we know its intended purpose of cutting off part of a healthy child's penis.

I hate discussing the better or worse of two evils, and discussing what is the "better" male infant circumcision method is no different than discussing which is the "better" female infant circumcision method. There simply isn't a "right" way to mutilate a perfectly healthy, non-consenting child. However, there is a good critique on why the AccuCirc is particularly terrible here.

Conflict of Interest

David R. Tomlinson
"Chief Expert on Circumcision," WHO
Inventor of AccuCirc

The citizens of Botswana may be interested to know that the inventor of the AccuCirc device also happens to be "chief expert on circumcision" at the World Health Organization. He develops, implements and evaluates male circumcision training programs in Africa, and he wrote the WHO's manual for male infant circumcision. (Reference here.) Is it any wonder that the AccuCirc device is included in many African "surveys?"

To Close
Adopting a device known to cause problems is not very wise, not to mention circumcising healthy, non-consenting newborns who are at zero risk for HIV transmission is ethically repugnant no matter what methods employed. Botswana is complicit in implementing what is effectively male infant genital mutilation, under the deceptive guise of HIV prevention.

Related Posts:
Circumcision Botches and the Elephant in the Room

The Ghost of Mogen

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

Friday, February 7, 2014

JERUSALEM: Baby Boy Rushed to the Hospital with Bleeding Complications

Advocates of circumcision often try to trivialize infant circumcision, saying it's "harmless" and "risk-free."

Well, yet another circumcision botch makes the news, this time in Israel. The last one that I know of happened in Pittsburgh, where a rabbi severed a child's entire penis during his bris. Not to mention the recent herpes infection due to metzitzah b'peh in New York.

Keep in mind these are complication cases that make the news; circumcision mishaps are often kept under wraps because there is a conviction to preserve a tradition that is ever under fire. Hospitals themselves may be obscuring these complications.

There is also financial incentive to hide or minimize circumcision complications; circumcision is a widespread practice in the United States. Annually, American doctors circumcise 1.2 million baby boys. At a dollar a pop, that's 1.2 million dollars; infant circumcision can cost anywhere between $100 up to $2,000 each. Therefore American doctors and medical facilities have incentive to hide or minimize complications due to circumcision, Jewish or secular.

Are these complications conscionable, given that infant circumcision is elective, non-medical surgery?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

AFGHANISTAN: A Soldier's Tale Challenges Circumcision Allegations

A friend of mine posted the following on his Facebook wall:

"My coworker, a 32 year old, intact, Hispanic male who has two intact boys, is against circumcision and is serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army recently returned from his deployment to Afghanistan.
Being that he knows I'm an intactivist, I asked him a few questions regarding their Muslim culture. He was stationed in the Zabul province of Afghanistan. He told me that the area where he was stationed reeked of feces, sweat, and sewer. The people in the area are very poor, lack adequate facilities for proper hygiene, and yes, defecate outside. He mentioned that there were small oases where men would bathe completely nude in groups using their hands to scoop up the water, which was everyone's previous wash. I asked him if he knew what these tribal, circumcised Muslim men thought about intact penises. To my complete surprise and shock, he said that all the Muslim men there were intact. I pushed a little more and asked how he knew for certainty. He said that he'd see them bathe every day and that it was clear that all were intact men. Since this soldier worked with the medical team, I asked him how many men presented with issues relating to their foreskins being that this is a sandy area. His answer? None. He mentioned that if anything women had more complaints regarding UTIs due to improper hygiene than all the men combined.

So as you can see, a man can live in complete squalor while lacking basic resources and hygiene and still have very few to no problems with his foreskin.

What do you think?"

I must say, I'm rather surprised and shocked to hear about this myself.

If this story is correct, then circumcision isn't universal among Muslims, as circumcision advocates would like others to believe. This account also puts the lie to the myths that men with anatomically correct genitals are prone to problems in the desert, and that having a foreskin makes hygiene difficult, making men prone to problems, not to mention the allegation that circumcision is a requirement for American military.

A sheathed glans and meatus is better in sandy and dusty conditions than a bare one, because the foreskin helps protect the glans and urethra. Additionally, ensuring transudated natural moisture and emollients are retained on the mucosal surfaces of the penis is optimal for dry and/or cold conditions. There simply isn't a situation in which having anatomically correct genitals isn't preferable. The preputial space just isn't the Petri dish of pathogens that circumcision advocates would like others to believe, all of this is in addition to the fact that the foreskin is highly functional tissue in its own right.

Related Links:
The Sand Myth: "He Might Have to Fight in the Desert"

Sunday, February 2, 2014

BEN COHEN: Circumcision Victims an Anti-Semite Fantasy

When it comes to Jewish advocates of infant circumcision fending off critiques and attacks of this practice, invoking the anti-Semite card is to be expected. This is why it's not too surprising that Jewish critics of the latest resolution issued by the Council of Europe are milking it for all its worth.

What I still have trouble believing is the sheer brazenness with which they make their claims, as if the claims they made weren't already outlandish enough.

Writes Ben Cohen, the Shillman Analyst for

"Writing in the Copenhagen Post, Morten Frisch, a Danish doctor, approvingly cited recent opinion polls in his country in support of a circumcision ban. Clearly irritated by the Israeli government’s opposition to such a ban, Frisch portrayed the issue as a human rights concern, citing the violation of a boy’s “sexual autonomy.” This argument might be persuasive if a vast number of those who have been ritually circumcised presented themselves as akin to rape victims, but the fact remains that a mass movement of aggrieved circumcised men chanting “No More!” remains a fantasy.

Circumcision’s opponents want to create victims where there are none. This is a devious and dishonest tactic, in that it presents discrimination as liberation, prejudice as enlightenment. Mind you, anti-Semites have never considered themselves bigots, but the bearers of a message of love—their core belief is that our world will be a better place without Jews and Jewish influence. And Europe, where these sinister ideas took root in the 19th Century, remains fertile soil for them in the 21st."

A trait that seems to permeate all circumcision advocates, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, seems to be this uncanny projection; the claims they make regarding those who oppose the forced circumcision of minors is true of themselves, and I can't quite make out if they're blind to their own projection, or if they're being craftily deliberate.

I will pick apart Ben Cohen's words on my blog:

"Clearly irritated by the Israeli government’s opposition to such a ban, Frisch portrayed the issue as a human rights concern, citing the violation of a boy’s 'sexual autonomy.'"

The last time I checked, the ones who are "clearly irritated" are Jewish defenders of circumcision, who are flabbergasted at the thought of the forced circumcision of minors being called a basic human rights violation by a world-class entity, such as the Council of Europe, and who insist the issue be one of "religious freedom," and "parental choice."

"This argument might be persuasive if a vast number of those who have been ritually circumcised presented themselves as akin to rape victims, but the fact remains that a mass movement of aggrieved circumcised men chanting “No More!” remains a fantasy."

Ben Cohen's argument seems to be that, in order for a human rights violation to be recognized as such, the victims must themselves believe themselves to be violated, and that furthermore, they organize in a "a mass movement of aggrieved circumcised men."

The trouble with this is that a victim will not always acknowledge that s/he has been victimized. In fact, oftentimes the victim defends his/her perpetrator. This includes rape victims, and even female victims of forced genital mutilation themselves. (See Stockholm syndrome.)

It is interesting that Ben Cohen carefully chooses the clarifying words "mass movement" here, for although there isn't exactly a "mass movement" of aggrieved circumcised men chanting "no more," there actually is small, but growing number of men, Jewish and non-Jewish.

In actuality, there isn't exactly a "mass movement" of aggrieved circumcised women either; the loudest voices are those of western, non-circumcised women.


That never stopped those who oppose the practice of forced genital cutting from calling the forced circumcision of girls the violation of basic human rights that it is.

Jewish advocates speak out both sides of their mouths when they ask for "religious tolerance" when it comes to male infant circumcision, but then have no trouble decrying female circumcision in any way shape or form.

"Circumcision’s opponents want to create victims where there are none. This is a devious and dishonest tactic, in that it presents discrimination as liberation, prejudice as enlightenment. Mind you, anti-Semites have never considered themselves bigots, but the bearers of a message of love—their core belief is that our world will be a better place without Jews and Jewish influence. And Europe, where these sinister ideas took root in the 19th Century, remains fertile soil for them in the 21st.""

Devious and dishonest indeed.

What is devious and dishonest is how Ben Cohen and others present any and all criticism of the forced circumcision of minors as racist, discriminatory and prejudiced, as if the circumcision of infants were an exclusively Jewish practice, as if circumcision were universal among Jews, and, as if those who oppose the practice were targeting only infant circumcision when practiced by adherents of Judaism.

The fact is, circumcision is not exclusive to Jews; only approximately 0.6 % of all circumcisions in this country are Jewish brisim; the rest are secular, gentile circumcisions performed at hospitals.

In addition, circumcision is not universal among Jews. There are Jews in Europe who have been leaving their children intact for years. A growing number of Jews are forgoing a traditional Bris Milah circumcision ceremony, and instead opting for a more peaceful, non-cutting Bris Shalom naming ceremony. Even in Israel, there is a growing number of parents who are not circumcising their children. A recent poll reveals that 1/3rd of Israeli parents question the practice.

And finally, it would be one thing if intactivists targeted the Jewish ritual of infant circumcision. The fact is that intactivists oppose the forced genital cutting of ALL minors, regardless of race or creed. Of all circumcisions that happen in the US, only about 0.6%, perhaps even less, comprises of Jewish brisim; the rest are secular, non-Jewish circumcisions that happen at hospitals. Circumcision is a rite of passage in Africa, and South East Asia. It is performed in America and South Korea for pseudo-medical, non-religious reasons. We're opposed to ALL of it.

It is devious and dishonest for Jewish advocates of circumcision to pretend like they're being "singled out," when this clearly isn't the case. Little by little people are seeing through this smear tactic, as more and more people have the courage to speak out, despite the threat of being labeled Nazi-Germans.

But it was Cohen's following utterance which infuriates me:

 "Circumcision’s opponents want to create victims where there are none."

Yes, we're pulling reasons to oppose the forced circumcision of minors out of our ass.

I suppose then, that the recent herpes cases in New York, the recent penile amputation case in Pittsburgh, the glans ablation cases that put Mogen out of business, the thousands of botch corrections of which there are enough for doctors to make a living, the botches and deaths that go on in Africa, the hospitalizations of Jewish and Muslim boys, etc., etc., are all simply figments of our imagination.

We're simply pulling all of this out of thin air for the sole purpose of antagonizing Jewish people, and don't actually care about defending the most basic of human rights.

Related Posts:
Circumcision is Child Abuse: A Picture Essay

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

Intactivism: It's Not Just for Gentiles Anymore

Mohels Spreading Herpes: New York Looks the Other Way

The Ghost of Mogen

Circumcision Botches and the Elephant in the Room

Related Links:
Beyond the Bris

Men Do Complain 

Picture Gallery of Tribal Circumcision Botches in Africa (WARNING: Not for the squeamish.)

Picture Gallery of Circumcision Botches in the West (WARNING: Not for the squeamish.)

Related Stories:
Rabbi Severs the Penis of a Boy in Pittsburgh

Circumcision Deaths in Africa Accumulate

African Defenders of Circumcision Shoot the Messenger

Million Dollar Lawsuits Put Mogen Out of Business

Cologne Ruling Brought On by the Hospitalization of a Muslim Boy

Note: These are just a few links and stories that your blogger could think of off the top of his head; there are more reported botches and deaths due to circumcision, Jewish and non-Jewish, than can be posted here.