Sunday, August 19, 2007

What a wookie. Inexplicably, I have had several discussions about FGM lately, and it seems that the media is following suit. Despite banning the practice nine years ago, Egypt witnessed the second death in three months due to complications arising from FGM surgery. This only underlines my consistent point on the subject: I don't care how culturally sensitive you are or unwilling you are to judge foreign social constructs, FGM is bad.

As much as I disagree with female circumcision, the male version doesn't bother me as much because male circumcision has proven medical benefits. Last fall, reporting on a randomized controlled trial in South Africa, scientists found that circumcision reduced female-to-male HIV transmission by 60 percent because of the susceptibility of the foreskin. "Male circumcision provides a degree of protection against acquiring HIV infection, equivalent to what a vaccine of high efficacy would have achieved," they wrote. It was, they observed, "the first experimental study demonstrating that surgery can be used to prevent an infectious disease." Using the new data, scientists estimate that over the next 20 years, circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa could prevent 6 million infections and 3 million deaths [Source].

Hilariously, anti-circumcision advocates refuse to acknowledge the health benefits of male circumcision, blindly calling the practice barbaric. The most hilarious, in my opinion, is Jews Against Circumcision. After perusing their website for information as to why I should refuse to circumcise my (as-yet unborn) sons, I could find no legitimate medical reasoning to support their claim. I was, however, awarded with this juicy tidbit: "[Circumcision] sets off a ripple of hormonal changes that wire the child's brain to cope with a malevolent world. Males are violent due to circumcision. It is usually boys who go to school and kill people; they are violent since their brains are wired for violence from infancy." So, if circumcision makes men violent, how do you count for all the millions of men who were not and are not circumcised but who are violent? For example, the Crusaders, the Khmer Rouge, and the Nazis have no history of circumcision yet were remarkably violent, arguably more so than Jews. According to their website, Jews are some of the smartest people in the world, holding 33% of awarded Nobel Prizes. Apparently, these people aren't those types of Jews.

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