Rosa Linda G. Valenzona
25 June 2008
“The great tragedy of population control, the fatal misconception, was to think that one could know other people’s interests better than they knew it themselves,” says Matthew Connelly, summing up one of the major global forces of the last 50 years. Although that assessment comes nowhere near my own sense of outrage at the movement that has filled the world with aborted fetuses and sterilized men and women, Connelly’s book as a whole is an unprecedented admission, from a supporter of what is now known as “reproductive rights”, that the movement, historically at least, has trampled wholesale on the rights of Third World people. As a citizen of a developing country I can breathe a sigh of relief: finally, the truth is coming out.
Connelly, an associate professor of history at Columbia University in the United States, set himself a task that has been avoided by mainstream academics; the result is what his publishers call “a withering critique [that] uncovers the cost inflicted by a humanitarian movement gone terribly awry”.
In spite of my familiarity with human rights violations committed in the name of population control in the Philippines, I am still appalled by what this movement has done in India, China, Bangladesh and other Third World countries.
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