Dear Rosemary Romberg,
Yes, whatever is done to stop the terrible practice of circumcision will be of tremendous importance.
There is no rational, medical reason to support it. It is done just as a habit with no one being aware of why it is done.
And, much worse, no one being aware of the deep implications and life-lasting effect. Once we remember that all that takes place during the first days of life on the emotional level, shapes the pattern of all future reactions, we cannot but wonder why such a torture has been inflicted on the child. How could a being who has been aggressed in this way, while totally helpless, develop into a relaxed, loving, trusting person? Indeed, he will never be able to trust anyone in life, he will always be on the defensive, unable to open up to others and to life.
There has been, recently, a large, international survey conducted by the World Health Organization regarding what takes place, in Africa, with young women at the stage of puberty. The public opinion was stunned and revolted finding out the tortures and mutilations (removal of clitoris and so on) inflicted.
The practice of circumcision is of exactly the same nature and level. And we call ourselves “rational and developed” !
At least these young women are conscious and they are told that it is a sort of test, an act of courage. Although, in fact, it is meant to make them submissive to men and insure that they will never challenge man’s power.
But there is no such consciousness in the newborn. The torture is experienced in a state of total helplessness which makes it even more frightening and unbearable. Yes, it is high time that such a barbaric practice comes to an end.
And the work you are doing is of immense value. With best wishes,
Dr. Frederick Leboyer author of Birth Without Violence,
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, c. 1976.