Monday, 23 April 2018

Circumcision and its relevance today

Three of us went on a morning walk a week ago. I won't forget this particular one for a while as it was a rather eventful morning.
We climbed Nango hill

We took different routes on the way up and down the hill. On our way back to the village, we had to cross a small river. The person who was in front announced to us that there was a river, then he added and a naked man. Just as I took another step forward there was indeed a naked behind in front of me. Two of us were so focused on trying to find a narrow part so we could get across but I overheard the one in front greeting the naked man.

Many things were said as we continued, but the greeter was left in shock as he analysed the mans' penis. Yes, you read right! He mentioned that it was his first time of seeing an uncircumcised man and he was in shock. As he went on with his analysis, I tried to get him to drop the subject. Too much had been said already!

A few hours later, a group of us were having lunch. They all knew that three of us went walking and asked how it was. We said fine and moved on. Somehow, it all came out eventually... He resumed his analysis still surprised. The group was quite diverse. There was me from Nigeria, someone from Australia, Germany, India, Switzerland, Korea, Ethiopia, Colombia and the US. Although he has lived in a few countries with the kind of work he does, he probably never paid much attention. We had a long conversation about this and he found out that circumcision does not happen everywhere like he imagined. He was gobsmacked and in his words felt so foolish. He apologised profusely but we all understood.

I have had reason to question this practice a few times. I know of a child who had to be circumcised twice as it was not properly done the first time. Imagine the pain and the anger that innocent child must have been feeling. 
Many might argue along the lines of religious and traditional practices. But should these practices still be applicable today?
Someone at the lunch table mentioned children's private parts looking like that of their parents so that they do not have to wonder, which I can understand.
I have also heard some mention hygiene. This argument does not sound like a firm one to me, especially if the child is taught how to clean himself properly.

Somehow, I seem to have something to counter all arguments I have heard. It would be interesting to read your point of view and maybe something from a medical practitioner. So, how relevant do you think circumcision is today?

9 comments:

  1. Are you referring to only male circumstition ?

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  2. We still practice circumcision in Nigeria mainly for cultural and religious reasons. I know that Christians will have it performed as early as possible as neonates or infancy but for the Muslims this can also be done in childhood (I don't know the age limit). I have seen a few Muslims as adults who never had it done. It would be good to hear the Islamic view on this.
    In Australia routine circumcision is not commonly practiced unless parents request for it (considering Australia is multicultural) or as treatment to prevent recurrent medical complications e.g. recurrent bacterial infections or a non-retracting foreskin in someone who is not circumcised.
    Medically the benefits are relative and depends on the population- more importantly in developing countries (probably why it is still widely practiced and acceptable). The benefits cited are prevention of recurrent infections and a reduction in the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, HIV included. Though the latter is still debatable, studies in Africa supports this. "In developed countries, circumcision may decrease the lifetime risk of penile cancer in men and cervical cancer in women among high-risk populations later in life."
    There is the issue of pain (which babies feel), bleeding and infection which may result from the procedure. These complications are often usually mild though, with more severe but rare complications related to poor technique.

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  3. I forgot to mention the hygiene part. There is actually a safe technique to keeping the area clean. Unfortunately lack of adequate and appropriate hygiene can lead to infection and a non- retractable foreskin

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    1. Thank you Ene for all this useful information. I always love to read the medical perspective on health issues. Prevention of infections is interesting, I wouldn't have thought.

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  4. I always assumed that after religious reasons, another reason for high advocacy for circumcision was hygiene I've always been under the impression that it requires a bit more work to keep it clean.

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    1. A bit more work, hahahahaha. You make it sound like an entire chore. It's a part of the body and just like all other parts are cleaned, that should be cleaned too. I don't think it requires any extra work.

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  5. Interesting write up and quite informative to hear other views.
    From my Christian perspective it is a YES for men because it dates back to scriptures. Also that it gives a sense of pride and a beautiful shape to the man😊 Imagine stripping and having that flappy look. Excuse my language. But for the women, absolutely not.

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    1. From the perspective as a Christian, was this not applicable to the Isrealites at the time? Is it still a prerequisite for anything today? Most of the time when stripping happens, it is in the heat of passion right? Circumcised or not, they look the same when erect. It's only when they are limp you'll notice...lol

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