May 18th 2002

  Buy Issue 2633

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: U.S. Farm Bill ends free trade illusion

EDITORIAL: Paid maternity leave: who benefits?

Languishing Labor fills its quota

East Timor becomes independent on May 20

Straws in the Wind: Le System / Apocrypha: Dave's lost column / Ides of March / Sin

LAW: US repudiates International Criminal Court

MEDIA: Jonestown

Refugee response (letter)

Middle East (letter)

Swift solution (letter)

Neighbourly aid (letter)

Quarantine: NZ suspends California grape imports

HEALTH: The politics of AIDS in South Africa

OPINION: Media diversity: should the market decide?

TRADE: Oxfam report shows rigged rules of world trade

ASIA: Taiwan comes in from the cold

Books promotion page

Swift solution (letter)

by Bill Burns

News Weekly, May 18, 2002

During the 18th century, satirist Jonathan Swift tried to shame the English into recognising the indifference with which they treated their fellow human beings, the impoverished Irish, by making the "Modest Proposal" that since Irish children were "useless mouths and backs" and going to starve anyway, why not introduce a new industry providing yearling Irish babies as a new delicate food for English tables. This would ease their parents' struggles to look after them, and give them some money into the bargain.

Readers were horrified, but in the 19th century they stood by as two potato famines decimated the Irish population.

During the 20th century, Hitler decided that as the Jews, "subnormals" and gypsies were not really fine specimens of humanity and "useless eaters", it was all right to experiment on them and exterminate them.

The Allies were horrified after the war, and wrote the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

During the 21st century, it has been proposed that, seeing many of our Australian IVF babies who are still at the embryonic stage are "spare" and "unwanted", why not help medical science experiments and boost our biotechnology stocks by killing a few thousand, and using their cells for research. So are we horrified still?

Or have we written embryos off as "not really human"?

The elderly who are "dying anyway" and "a burden on the economy" will be next, as our population is rapidly ageing.

Bill Burns
Rockhampton, Qld

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