Fear loosens man’s adherence to logic.

From the first two paragraphs, the rehashing of the same vile pablum is inevitable:

Family gatherings for Collins Omondi once were boisterous affairs here on the verdant shores of Lake Victoria. But in just 11 years, AIDS has killed seven of his uncles, six aunts, five cousins and both his parents. His extended family now consists of one surviving uncle, an aunt and their 2-year-old child — all of whom have AIDS.

Fear is the first rule in propaganda. If you don’t get circumcised, you are going to die of HIV. You don’t want to die of HIV, do you? You don’t want your children to die of HIV, do you?

Omondi, 28, a tall, broad-shouldered fish trader, has come to believe that a quirk of culture contributed to the decimation of his family. They were Luos, members of the only major tribe in Kenya that does not routinely circumcise boys. The absence of this ritual, Omondi said, helps explain why Luos are dying from AIDS at a rate unheard of among other Kenyans and rare in East Africa.

The lack of genital surgery is not the problem. Promiscuous, unprotected sex in an HIV-packed community explains why Luos are dying from AIDS.

That doesn’t dismiss the horror of HIV or the need to reverse the trend, but if the Luos – or anyone – thinks they can keep the same habits that created the HIV epidemic after undergoing circumcision, their future will be as horrific as the present. Behavior must change, not genitals.

Buried in the article, long after several examples of how lack of circumcision “helps explain” the HIV epidemic, this:

Lake Victoria’s fishermen, following the winds, often kept girlfriends at several different beaches. The men generally were among the few in villages with steady supplies of cash, arriving home each day with $10 or $20 — sometimes much more — in areas where many earn less than $1 a day.

“With the fishermen, you can’t trust them,” said Mary Achieng Bunde, 41, a former fish trader and an AIDS activist whose husband died of the disease.

Of the women who trade in fish, she said, sexual favors were expected and generally granted. “Most of them, they are ready to do because maybe your husband has died, your children have school fees. . . . What can you do?”

Let’s keep pretending that the foreskin is the problem and not promiscuous sex without condoms. Rule number two in propaganda: lie.

She said attitudes are changing on the beaches because of fear and aggressive education programs. More fishermen are living in family houses, with their wives and children, rather than in communal dorms. The carousing has quieted as the toll of AIDS has grown.

Should I assume that this change in sexual behavior will be considered as a potentially dominant factor in the causation/correlation conclusion, should the HIV rate suddenly drop among the Luos after circumcision? I suspect that’s too much to ask. Rule number three in propaganda: ignore inconvenient evidence refuting the lies.

Unsurprisingly, the article closes with mention of a funeral for a fisherman who died of AIDS. Trite and manipulative like the rest of the article, it’s a shining example of yellow journalism.

One thought on “Fear loosens man’s adherence to logic.”

  1. I’m sure the guy who wrote that story actually cares about those poor people and had no intention of trying to influence public opinion about circumcision here in the US. Not.

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