Friday, July 15, 2011

Swazi King: "Better You Than Me"

So in my last post, I suspected that Soka Uncobe organizers were growing desperate. There had been reports that in spite of all the hype, the campaign wasn't having the desired impact. Laws are on the table to make circumcision compulsory, organizers have resorted to using the influence of celebrity endorsement, and recently the Soka Uncobe project was supposed to be "re-launched" with the Swazi king's endorsement.

So according to Times Live, the king himself has indeed endorsed circumcision, likening HIV to a "terrorist."

At first I was very concerned that the country's monarch endorsing circumcision might actually make an impact, but then I read this and I almost died laughing!

Apparently it's not the first time the king has made some outrageous remarks; a decade ago he posited that HIV-positive people should all be "branded and sterilised". (Could you imagine a campaign for THAT!)

And, apparently circumcision used to be widespread in Swaziland, but the practice was abandoned in the 19th century. The king likens the return of the practice to other traditions he has revived as a response to the rampant HIV epidemic; in 2001 he required young girls to wear tassels to display their virginity and banning men from having sex with girls under 18. (When he broke his own ban by taking a 17-year-old wife, he fined himself a cow.)

While the article repeats Ambassador Irving's statement of reaching a goal of zero infections by 2020, it also points to the reality that Swaziland has a long way to go; 4 out of 10 pregnant women test HIV-positive at clinics, according to Health Minister Benedict Xaba. (Remember him?) Circumcision will not prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, and it will not cure an HIV+ child. But nevermind that, let's spend millions on circumcising the men, discouraging the use of condoms and increasing the infection of women!

Here's the strange part. While in the Swazi Observer Xaba reports that 28,000 men have been circumcised due to the campaign, the Times Live says that only 3,000 men have undergone circumcision since the massive Soka Uncobe campaign began. OK, so how many men have fallen for Soka Uncobe REALLY? With illusive numbers like these we may never know for sure.

And, it's just as I've thought. Soka Uncobe is such a failure that the organizers were hoping that the king could, in the words of Times Live, "breathe life into the campaign."

A ray of hope lies yet for those of us against this deliberate rape of Africa:

"The king still commands enormous respect, but in the rural areas near Mankayane dissatisfaction is bubbling to the surface as his subjects feel the pinch of a deepening economic crisis.

'The king has a lot of money in the bank but he can't help us. He has many women and a luxurious life. His children get an overseas education. He doesn't care about Swazis,' local Boxer Vilakazi told AFP."

'I love the king but 90 percent of youth are not working. Only those close to the king get jobs,' said 21-year-old Mthobisi Dlahla, who said he planned to go for the surgery for his own safety -- not because Mswati said so. (6 months into the campaign and he's still "planning" on it? Hrm...)

The polygamous monarch has been criticised for failing to lead by example in his kingdom, where multiple partnerships are seen as the major catalyst of the AIDS crisis.

Mswati did not say Friday whether he intended to get circumcised himself."

So not only is Soka Uncobe proving to be a big flop, but now it looks as though the organizers are so desperate that they'll even stoop as low as trying to use the endorsement of a monarch whose influence and authority is dwindling, and who can't even lead by example!

And how can we be sure that Soka Uncobe organizers are putting their money where their penises are? It would be interesting to ask them to strip for us to make sure they're leading by example. What would we find? Not even the KING is circumcised yet!

At this point I must ask, WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON HERE? What's REALLY going on in Africa? Are the numbers we see in the news even real? Let's strip down Callie's footballers. Were they REALLY circumcised, or were they payed PEPFAR money to give their endorsement?


Circumcision DOES NOT PREVENT HIV, and spending millions promoting as HIV prevention is not only a waste of money, because African men AREN'T BUYING IT, it's actually COSTING LIVES.

If you think the promotion of circumcision as HIV prevention is a waste of our tax dollars, get a hold of PEPFAR and let them know.

To any Swazi men or other men being coerced to undergo circumcision by local campaigns in Africa, I've got something to tell to you; circumcision doesn't prevent anything. Never has, never will. I'm afraid your governments have come to depend on sick benefactors who care about nothing more than mutilating your bodies and the bodies of your children for aid. You're at the mercy of corrupt government leaders who have sold your foreskins for so-called "humanitarian aid." You lose part of your genitals and they line their pockets. And you're still no better protected.

I'm here to tell you, you don't have to get circumcised to prevent HIV. Circumcision does not, cannot prevent you from getting sexually transmitted HIV. Only condoms provide true protection. When nurses and doctors ask you if you've circumcised yourself or your children, tell them it's none of their business. Tell them that you're educated enough to learn how to take a shower. Tell them that you are faithful to your wife. Tell them you want an alternative.Tell them you want an HIV prevention method that does not require cutting off part of your genitals and the genitals of their children. Tell them thanks, but no thanks. Demand the respect and dignity you deserve. You are human beings, not animals.

Do you have a Facebook account? Would you like to know what Soka Uncobe isn't telling you? Do you want to avoid AIDS but don't want to get circumcised? Find us on Facebook! Log on and click on the following link:

You Can Conquer Without Circumcision: Say NO to "Soka Uncobe"

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