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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

GENECIDE


I do get rather mixed feelings when I watch one of those science programs on the Discovery channel where you have new scientific developments being described as 'life changing' for disabled people. Progress, it is claimed, that will give 'sight' to the blind, or even 'movement' to those who had paralysis. Don't get me wrong, I can understand how people who were once without impairments might feel about their new life with an impairment. And to be honest, my eye operation has opened me up again to my old habits of doodling and playing with visual images. However, at every point when I hear that science is m
aking assertions to the effect that it may 'cure' impairment, I fear that what it is actually saying is that if there was a choice, it would rather not have me living today.

Indeed, I fear that this scientific bias we find today has repercussions on the fate of millions of people who have impairments that can be detected before birth. As I read about the hailed genetic ‘breakthrough’ of the ‘autism’ gene, I was a bit concerned about the obvious implications. The genetic marker for autism, we are told, will introduce new treatments for this ‘condition’ which as almost unquestionably described as a tragic affliction. But wait a minute … does a genetic marker determine every aspect of a person with autism? And, on the other hand, is ‘autism’ and people living with it, something that terrible or something which devalues the person thus labelled?


However, more worrisome is that in light of so much misinformation existing about autism, many parents will take the easy way out. That is, elimination on detection. I’m not being alarmist here. In fact, when the gene responsible for Down syndrome was detected, whole generations of children with DS could be now destroyed. Such a trend persists and is now extended to others who are ‘diagnosed’ with other impairments. Unfortunately, unlike other atrocities committed against other ethnic minorities or groups, these mass murders on the basis of genetic characteristics is not recognised as genocide, or as it should be called ‘genecide’ – elimination on the basis of genetic markers. We should be reminded here of the horrific implications of what was believed to be a science, or ‘eugenics’.

Left: The NAZI swastika: symbol of Aryan superiority, oppression and death to millions who were killed because they were deemed ‘defective’, ‘inferior’ and ‘unworthy of life’.

I do not intend to end this post with a message of doom and gloom. I’m not suggesting that apocalypse is at hand. What I am saying is that if we deny that the elimination of people based purely on a genetic bias constitutes genocide, similar to that perpetrated on other human beings throughout history. However, what is more shocking perhaps is that we do not hear anyone openly and on a global level (such as in the UN world assembly) to condemn such practices. Or, at least, recognising that they are no less heinous than the atrocities committed in human history. This silence, to me, is acceptance that a life with impairment is not worth living.


POSTSCRIPT

As you can see, I have been busy during the weekend renovating my blog. I hope you like the changes I’ve made. I’d appreciate any feedback or comments so that I can further improve the blog. Yes, I am indulging in it as I need to take a break from work at least during the weekend…

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