Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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Ahmadinejad: $1,000 per child. Going once..Going twice...

Last month, during a live TV interview, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that he was unhappy with the current low birth-rates of his country. He stated that in an attempt to encourage Iranian families to make more babies, the government is willing to pay a sum of $1,000 for every child born this year. This amount, however, will increase by $100 every year.

This outlook is in fact not foreign to Muslim ideology. In fact similar standpoints are withheld by many leaders of the Arab-Muslim world. In Lebanon, for example, an increase in the birth-rate of Shiites is significantly noticeable – 91% of the Lebanese population which is divided into Christians and Muslims; and year after year the weight is shifting towards a more Muslim-concentrated “cocktail”. (This table shows the 2009 birth-rates by country. You can clearly see the trend; the Muslim countries occupy the upper part of the table).

Now back to Iran, even though a decrease in the birth-rate of a country can be a bad indicator when for example it is negative, however 0.88% (the 2009 estimate for Iran’s fertility rate according to the CIA Website) is not a dangerous figure, especially now with overpopulation being a major threat to the survival of our planet.
Mesbahi-Moqaddam, a cleric MP in the Economic Committee, opposed Ahmadinejad’s proposition saying that it is “Improper” during such bad economic conditions and also with Youth Unemployment rates at dangerously high levels. He also stated that this strategy is very costly considering the 1.35 million children born every year which will result in a $1.35 billion allocated to this project.

I’m really puzzled by the reasoning displayed by all these religious fundamentalists today (I’m not sure if “reasoning” is right word to use here). According to them, it is absolutely moral to give birth to children, by the dozen, even if they cannot afford to pay for food, clothes, school, and shelter or any basic needs and thus condemning them to die from either malnutrition or poor hygiene, or simply due to negligence. On the other hand, when it comes to abortion, it is the biggest no-no. In other words, “killing” an embryo that cannot feel any pain because it hasn’t developed a nervous system yet, is outrageous. They would rather cause the suffering of a fully formed human being, who will eventually end up dying at a very young age, and in return they are rewarded by a prize of $1,000!

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