Once again Ally Fogg mounts his “what about the men” male circumcision hobby horse

Masai Men, Kenya, 1998

Masai Men, Kenya, 1998

Once again Ally Fogg mounts his “what about the men” male circumcision hobby horse

To coincide with the Ed Miliband appointing  appointing Seema Malhotra as shadow minister to tackle violence against women and girls, Ally Fogg writes in the Guardian about male circumcision.

Ally’s article jumps from the situation in sub-Saharan Africa to Kenya and Tanzania, to South Africa, as if the three situations are the same, which they certainly are not, and therefore presents readers with some confusion, to say the least.

His article says – The human devastation left in the wake of these traditions is horrifying, these traditions being those in sub-Saharan Africa. But the report that his article quotes from states the following about the traditions in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces:

The human devastation left in the wake of these traditions is horrifying. A recent report by South Africa’s Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities calculated that in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces alone at least 419 boys have died since 2008, and more than 456,000 initiates have been hospitalised with complications.

But the report from which that quote is taken, goes on to say:

According to CRL Chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, botched circumcisions, abuse and drug use associated with illegal schools will be the death of the time-honoured practice.

“We cannot have mothers lose their boys up there and be told only when the other boys come back,” Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said. “At this rate, (the practice) is going to die of natural causes because…people are scared of taking their kids to initiation schools.”

So we have Ally giving us a graphic description of circumcision practices in sub-Saharan Africa and / or Kenya and Tanzania, (he doesn’t  seem clear about which), and statistics relating to botched circumcisions, abuse and drug use associated with illegal schools in South Africa.

And to be accurate neither  Kenya or Tanzania is in sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa is over 4000km to the south of sub-Saharan Africa and over 1500km from the very south of Tanzania.

So is this a case of Ally saying for want of a bit of careful research, that “all those Africans are the same”?

And what about the women?

Only when these figures for male circumcision are compared to the World Health Organisation’s worldwide figure of between 100 and 140 million girls and women who have been subjected to one of the first three types of female genital mutilation, is the scale of male circumcision brought into perspective. And this takes no account of the far more serious and long term consequences suffered by women who have undergone female genital mutilation.

 

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