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Circumcision By Pramoedya Ananta NEW!

One of the most satisfying feelings we can have is that of making a real difference in the world. A very effective way to make a difference is to improve how we treat children. Studies show that forgoing circumcision benefits children. If we provide them with the proper environment and protect them from unnecessary pain, we can give them a better chance of being healthy adults who can create a better world. In this way we can make important contributions to social change when we make important child-rearing decisions. To improve the way we raise our children, we need to educate parents and others.

Circumcision By Pramoedya Ananta

Halfway between our notion of an artwork and of an artifact, yet notassimilable to either, the pusaka -- a water beaker from Bali, a bracelet fromSulawesi, a circumcision knife from Java, a spittoon from Sumatra, a twine bagfrom western Timor -- represents culture less as abiding ideals than as storedaway heritage: things people keep. It doesn't much matter whether you installthem in a specialist gallery like the Asia Society, a fine arts museum like theDallas or the Sackler, or a natural history repository like Los AngelesCounty's. These "history objects," material anchors in an imaginedpast, fit as well in the one as in the other.

Other such examples of distinct Southeast Asian practices might be linked to the wearing of the sarung (a practice shared with Muslims and non-Muslims throughout Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean), the relatively late circumcision of young males (often celebrated as a major event in village life), the use of shadow puppets (believed by some communities to have been invented by one Muslim saint to explain Islam in the local idiom), or the many popular verse tales of the exploits of an uncle of the Prophet, Amir Hamzah, drawn from Persian and Arabic originals. Even if such practices are regionally distinct or viewed askance elsewhere, if not contested openly, such practices are nonetheless seen as ways of connecting to a faith that is global and egalitarian.

Christian IDP's from Keswui and Teor who had undergone conversion said in media interviews that Muslim militants told Christians to convert to Islam or face probable death at the hands of Muslim militias. According to these sources, Christians were herded into mosques and converted to Islam en masse. Both male and female converts later were forced to undergo circumcision to prove that they were genuine Muslims, despite the fact that Muslim women in Maluku were not customarily circumcised.

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