In 1729 yet another famine in Ireland caused much outrage in England. Foremost in the public mind was the plight of Irish children whom their parents were unable to feed and no one else really wanted.
Jonathan Swift responded to the tragedy as no one else could: he brought to bear on it his genius for satire and what Nikolai Gogol would later call ‘laughter through tears’. Swift published, anonymously, a pamphlet called A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick.
Rather than worrying about feeding their offspring, wrote Swift, parents should eat them. This modest proposal would achieve the dual benefit of having fewer mouths to feed and at least two mouths fed very well indeed.
According to Swift, babies were quite a delicacy: ‘A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.’
I don’t know if Col. Putin has read the pamphlet but, if he has, he seems to have taken Swift’s irony at face value. Under his stewardship Russian orphans aren’t often used as a source of protein but, all things considered, they might as well be.
Not all, nor even most, children kept in Russian orphanages are actually orphans. Many are today’s answer to the Irish babies of 300 years ago – children abandoned by their parents out of sheer destitution.
They seldom fall victim to cannibalism, though such cases aren’t unheard of. Most of them, rather than being eaten by grownups, are devoured by the Saturn of Putin’s Russia.
At least half, and by some estimates up to 95 percent, of orphanage inmates become alcoholics, drug addicts or suicides. About 60 percent of both boys and girls are raped. Few live to maturity, and those who do are released into the outside world unfit to survive in it by any other than criminal means.
Some children are lucky enough to be adopted, though for many this means leaving the frying pan for the fire. Some foster parents are perverts, but most are kind, well-meaning persons. Alas, many of them overestimate their ability to feed their children, with predictably disastrous consequences.
The really lucky children are adopted by Western couples – for them the chances of survival to adulthood are 39 times higher than for those adopted by Russians. And it’s this lifeline that Putin and his gang have severed with their characteristic mercilessness.
The US Congress recently passed the Magnitsky Law, banning from entry into the country several dozen Russian officials implicated in the death of the lawyer tortured to death in prison. Magnitsky’s crime was to blow the whistle on monumental corruption in the higher reaches of the government, so the unofficially passed but swiftly executed death penalty was the only possible outcome.
When the US Congress decided to act, Putin and his gang were outraged, especially since other Western countries are likely to follow suit. After all, the Russian national sport, money laundering, can’t be practised without access to the laundromat, otherwise known as the West. And what’s going to happen to all those palaces in Florida, all those villas in Costa del Sol, all those Eaton Square mansions, all those 300-foot yachts moored at the Côte d’Azur?
Putin’s response was instant, only beaten for speed by the alacrity with which it was rubberstamped by the Russian ‘parliament’. Henceforth those awful Yanks won’t be allowed to adopt Russian children. Col. Putin would rather watch them being raped and starved to death in the hellholes of Russian orphanages than let Americans indulge their paternal instincts.
This little bit of quid pro quo was accompanied by a propaganda campaign the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the halcyon days of the Soviet Union, if then. Back in the ‘60s an average Russian could be forgiven for forming the impression that lynching was America’s chosen leisure pastime on a slow weekend. But Putin went his KGB ancestors one better.
He personally vouchsafed to his subjects the secret that in America it’s not against the law for foster parents to kill their adopted children, especially Russian ones. And according to his shrill mouthpieces in the Duma, at least 10 percent of the little Russians are only adopted to be disassembled and sold for parts. Others are turned into slaves, like those blacks who were being lynched en masse back in the ‘60s. Most of them will be used as cannon fodder in the upcoming attack on Russia, which, as we all know, is being planned by American warmongers.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, say the French. Loosely translated, this means that those gullible Westerners, especially politicians and journalists who hailed the advent of glasnost and perestroika, are either fools or knaves. For once I’m going to sit on the fence and suggest that they are a bit of both.
P.S. I gleaned all this information from the few Russian opposition websites that are still in business. Our own papers were too busy covering Christmas sales.