Friday, February 23, 2007

Inbreeding in the 21st Century!

In November, NPR aired a segment about the a Syrian village whose inhabitants continue their 100-year-old tradition of intermarrying. Their population of 5,000 includes 800 living with extreme birth defects.

You can read and listen to the story here.

I'm all for respecting other people's cultures and traditions, but this story completely blew me away. I've read fiction that depicted modern-day inbreeding, but to be faced with a real-world example was disheartening and infuriating, to be honest.

Near the end of the segment, a resident claims that the many blind, deformed, and pain-ridden residents are that way because that's part of God's plan. He concluded by asking (I'm paraphrasing), "What do you want us to do, stop marrying?"

My response: "YES! Stop $#@%ing your damned sisters, mothers and first cousins! I understand that you're an impoverished people, but are property and business interests worth condemning your offspring to very short, very painful lives?"

I'm still amazed every time I think of this podcast, but at least one among them is "taking the unprecedented step of asking the outside world for help" (a detail I missed the first time, around).


Frank 'viperteq' Young said...

Man, I hate to say this, but every one inbreeds. Do you honestly believe that we're not related to each other? Just because I'm from the East coast and my girl is from the South, doesn't mean that we aren't related. Yes, we may genetically separated from each other by a few generations, but in the end WE'RE ALL RELATED.

Biologically speaking our genes and chromosomes my have distinct charachteristics, but they all have a singularity as well. This is why when the police or the courts use a persons DNA in a case, the scientist perform hundreds of thousands of tests on the DNA before announcing their findings: DNA carries enough similarities between individuals that it would be easy to attribute a crime to the wrong person. Shit is not always as cut and dry as they make it seem on CSI.

In fact, this in turn leads to a whole other question that people are usually too afraid to ask: If the Bible is to be believed as the definitive word of History, then how do we explain Adam and Eve seemingly populating a whole region by themselves? If we take the Bible literally as many would have us believe (and dis-count Angelic involvement) then the only answeer to that question is Inbreeding.

West said...

I don't look to the Bible for scientific answers, although I see where you're coming from.

That said, there's a HUGE difference between f'ing your sister and f'ing your 6th cousin's nephew's wife... or something.

It's all about degrees.

ShellyP said...

That's something, isn't it? I don't even know what to say.

West said...

I know what you mean.

B. Good said...

This......made my tummy hurt. Some "traditions" just need to end. The point of inbreeding was to keep family business in the family. But if your children are severely "handicapped" (with little to no means of reducing said handicap) how are they going to sustain the future of the family? The logic just doesn't make sense.

West said...


It can be sad when some cultures are infiltrated and overcome by foreigners, but I wouldn't shed a single tear if some of the better Western philosophies made their way to that part of Syria.