Do Not Cloud the Message!

Let’s be realistic and brutally honest about most of the western countries, especially US view towards Africa and other developing countries.

Polygamy and other cultural/[religious-as is the case with Muslim faith] practices such as “wife inheritance- (the way its being put/addressed” without actually trying to understand what at all their deeper meanings are to those communities)- is and has been a cultural practice in many societies including most of African countries.

And as usual, whenever there is a belief system or cultural norms that are at odds with the western cultures- the action is to demonize and expunge the practice and inject the western-friendly culture/practice into the vacuum created. This time the tactics are no different. By looking at any possible link that may exist between HIV/AIDS and these customs, aiming to “tie” the disease with these cultural practices that run counter to theirs. Several means/tactics had to be tried for example blaming it to the “toxic mix” of factors that has fueled the HIV/AIDS epidemic, cultures that “condones, even encourages” polygamy but denies women the right to negotiate condom use, as the women in these societies are perceived to hold “less power”, some in the west argue.

This changes the subject to an equality and human rights issue, hence getting the subject more broad and appealing world over. And their answer is CIRCUMCISION?

The fact is, foreskins are the least of these countries problems and the pushers of circumcision in lieu of dealing with the real issues do nothing but displace the focus from where it should be and put lives at risk thereby.

Development and proper[appropriate]education programs are some of the only solution to these countries’ HIV crisis. And development realistically will only come from within AND only when/if the underlying causes of corruption and cultural issues acting as a platform from which the disease spreads unchecked are addressed.

If you think for a moment about the above realities, you will eventually want to ask why anyone would focus on circumcision at all — at least until these severe barriers preliminary to any prevention campaign are addressed.

The answer is probably a cultural one. For example American culture, the place from which this campaign originates, has more to do with it than any of these problematic studies do. As usual, and in accordance with the observations of many, the West, particularly the United States, is following its own well-worn path in the crusade to save Africa for example, from itself without understanding a thing about the place it seeks to help. Never mind that places like Lesotho and Swaziland, as just one example, share similar rates of HIV and economic pain while one is largely circumcised and the other is not.

The target here bears the appearance of being not just Africa, but America’s own slipping rates of neonatal circumcision. Whether this is true or not is another matter, but the possibility cannot be discounted after the recent discussions at the CDC and among the vaccine initiatives’ leadership.
The future is more chilling than ever and the politicization of HIV/AIDS has never been so far advanced and confused.



~ by ikenya5 on October 11, 2008.

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