Circumstraint Retired

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Circumstraint Retired Kent 8/5/01 12:19 PM
Baby Boy Steals Circumstraint

Report from Richard DeSeabra, NYC
Dec. 27, 1995 (INTACT-L email group)

On Dec. 24th I got a call from an anonymous intactivist who went by
the name of BABY BOY. He chose to identify himself that way because
that's how he was referred to on his circumcision consent form: BABY
BOY plus his last name. I told him that on my circumcision consent
form I was called Baby Boy DeSeabra for I was not yet named. He told
me he was on his way to New York Hospital where he was born over 20
years ago to stop a circumcision and chain himself to the circumcision
room door. I told him to please, whatever he did, abide by
non-violent, civil disobedient guidelines: Don't destroy any property,
Don't hurt anyone, etc. I was at my computer both times he called and
I paraphrased information into the computer as he spoke. Here is a
summary of what BABY BOY told me:
"I left the house at 2 PM and went to New York Hospital, Cornell
University. Asked around and found N3, the section of the building
where the nursery was. Went to the nurses desk and told them it meant
a lot to me to see where I was born. Asked for a tour around to see
but they wouldn't cooperate. I asked what birth was like at that
hospital. Didn't your parents tell you? the nurses asked. I insisted
and said I wanted some images to associate with my birth. One nurse
described how they assist in births. Then I asked what the difference
was between the care given to boys and girls and a nurse caught on and
asked, Do you mean circumcision? She explained that parental consent
was required. Then I asked a female doctor or nurse dressed in blue
where the circumcision room was. I proceeded against their wishes to
look around. I saw an Olympic Circumstraint and asked about it. They
wouldn't admit what it was used for or how it was used. Then the
nurses said that I shouldn't be talking with them, I should be talking
to their superiors. One nurse said she was going to call security.
Another said, I already have. As I pointed to them I said, I'll be
back. I went downstairs zig-zagging through the building till I was
outside. Went back in and asked a guard for the Bio-Ethics department.
Another guard came by and made sure the guard took me to security
headquarters where they warned me not to trespass again saying they
would call the 19th precinct."

Day Two. Dec. 26. BABY BOY called again: "First I made a series of
phone calls to talk to someone in Bio-Ethics. Got the usual
run-around. At 3:30 PM went to New York Hospital's 9th floor to talk
to Dr. David Ninemburg of Pediatric Urology. I was redirected to
Patients Services where a woman gave me the name of the president of
the hospital and suggested I write a letter. Since I had said two days
earlier that I'd be back, I went back to N3, looked around, and the
Circumstraint I had seen was no longer there. Looked through another
window in the wall and saw it. I told two women (probably visitors)
who were watching babies that I was going to take the Circumstraint
and that circumcision was torture. One agreed that it was extremely
painful because a clamp was put on the penis and she said that the
Jews do it in a few seconds. I told her it is still a violation of the
baby's rights even if it is done quickly. Then I stood by the window
to the room where the Circumstraint was. A nurse was near a crying
baby girl with a clamp on her umbilical cord. I knocked and a young
nurse opened the door. I said, I'm taking that, pointing to the
Circumstraint. I reached over, picked it up from underneath some
stuff. Why are you taking it? she asked. Because it is a form of
torture, I replied. I left with it and entered the first elevator,
went downstairs, ran through some hallways to the main entrance, held
it up in the air as I yelled, I got it, you f---heads, and ran out the
door smiling and ran for blocks until I stopped."

BABY BOY told me he felt great about doing it and that he was going to
take it back to his university, show it to his friends and burn it. I
told him that what he now had in his hands is one of the most powerful
tools of education about genital mutilation and that he should not
destroy it. When destroying a Circumstraint you are but destroying one
Circumstraint. When you SHOW the Circumstraint to people, you are
destroying circumcision. The Circumstraint speaks for itself and is
obviously sick and wrong. BABY BOY told me that he had done this two
days from the anniversary of his circumcision. He said it was
restoration day for him. I hailed him for his courage and then played
devil's advocate by questioning the fact that property was stolen and
that this may well be the first act sabotage against the circumcision
industry. He told me, Fine, I did steal something from them but they
stole something from me 20 years ago. I couldn't agree more and it
should go without saying that the Circumstraint New York Hospital had
stolen from them that day can be replaced for $168. What was stolen
from BABY BOY twenty years ago can't be replaced. I really admire this
young man's courage and energy. The energy of the college student is
one that the various pro-intact movements are yet to tap into. I must
confess that if I had been aware of my mutilation during my college
years, I wouldn't have spent so much energy protesting the
installation of Cruise missiles in Europe. I certainly would have been
as militant as BABY BOY. This act can be regarded as a landmark in the
fight against genital mutilation. I offer this story that came to me
as an anonymous phone call not as a praising of one man's actions but
as a moment of reflection and debate as to how we should proceed, or
better, how some should choose to proceed and network among
themselves. What do all of you think? The intactivist politician that
I have become in the past year can't condone this kind of action. But
I must confess, my heart is giggling.

PS: Just for the sake of semantics: Some intactivists may want to see
this as a case in which a Circumstraint was retired, not stolen.

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