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

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

ECNEREFFID

I hope that you weren’t scared off by the title of today’s blog. That’s because it will be quite a special blog, as I talk about some of my current preoccupations with the things ways are going.

Today was another day in which I end up after a day’s work asking myself what the heck I’m doing here? But the fact is that inasmuch as I hate to admit it, I’m bombarded by voices and on a lesser degree ‘images’ of what people expect of me as a disabled adult. And I mean in the world where I find myself surrounded by compassionate adults who are out there to give a helping hand to a poor ‘handicapped’ boy like me.

And although there are many more terms that I’ve been indirectly called by the media, the fact remains that this doesn’t help people understand that impairment is not my life. The media, unfortunately, often dismisses its responsibility in creating more and more people who are but mere cardboard characters of people with impairments. But they are the ones who get screened and air time, especially when Christmas is coming.

I know, I know, they all mean well. But I consider myself rather lucky than those people who cannot get it into their head that they cannot assume that because I cannot walk or see properly I have to be very sad indeed. That life is the tragic one.

Yet, if I think about it what would be of Gordon who is non-disabled… would he be involved in the things I’m currently working on or experienced diverse realities through my interaction with others?

I guess a series on my parallel universe brother would make good television (directors take note please) .. the fact remains that I am here as I am. And people who can’t understand that I have a life of my own and want to make my own choices are kidding themselves. And yet, it is painful to think that a bias inherent in some of our institutions would rather have it that we are prevented from existing in the first place.

Although disabled people are seldom considered when making changes in buildings or services, the greatest exclusion and the most clear one can be seen in the developing field of genetic engineering.

Clearly, those people who once took the Hippocratic Oath and vowing not to kill life are now taking the matters in their own hands by choosing what is or what is not worth saving. And of course, to prevent people who are apparently different.

I don’t want to be pessimistic about the outlook, but the return to the chase for a more ‘perfect’ world is still part and parcel of many attempts of pushing for genetic screening. This interesting article may give an idea of the beast that we may be dealing with:

http://www.boundless.org/2002_2003/features/a0000685.html

THE TRAGEDY

There are lots of things that bother me when I hear someone start off his or her sentence with:

‘”But people like you ..

Or questions that obviously set you apart or get you off guard:

- “What’s your condition?”

- “How do you occupy your time?”

- “Do you go for therapy/practice crafts?”
-

And being a famous person I am often asked:

“Do you know Ms. Y, she had condition J just like you.. And used to go for rehabilitation… do you go there too?”

And then I’m expected to keep dignified in face of such blunt assumptions. What is the tragedy then? The way I see it that oftentimes we are only given a chance to ‘live’ through other people’s eyes, thus denying our individuality and undermining the whole idea that we should aspire to have rights.

Unfortunately, religion also has a role to play in removing claims to my individuality. A feeling that grew stronger and stronger as I grew up in the community. I made a decision to leave. I’m not saying that institutional religion does not work but the idea that my life is some sort of vehicle for other’s salvation or that I’m sort of a sign from God to the world lets me down because:

1. It views me simply superficially, when religion should be looking within.


2. It does not put into question the structures that limit my participation but rather emphasizes my ‘weakness’ and ‘lesser status’.


3. Perhaps more seriously, it tends to place ‘disabled people’ into one neat category describing us as ‘candles of hope’, ‘angels’ or ‘messages’.

With all due respect, who decides whether my life is worth it? Who decides that my life is a sign or message.. What exactly are other people’s lives, readers of my life?

And to be honest, being called ‘instruments of God’ just because we happen to be disabled only makes me a means to an end. This is exactly what I got when reading of the sentimental account of a father who has a boy with learning disabilities called Shay:


http://www.keepingapace.com/blogarchives/culture/divine_plan.php


The account by the parent, however moving and touching, only renders his boy into an instrument to get out the ‘divine perfection’ in those around him. We are made to accept the fact that not only is Shay not an image of God’s perfection, but that he only serves a purpose for others.

And there’s no excuse in saying that the boy has a learning disability. I have friends who have intellectual impairments but they are all different and have their own characters. But from experience, I have passed through times when I realised that for some I’m just some sort of holy angel that is here for the ‘salvation’ of others.

I once remember being drawn into a crowd and cheered by an old lady who told me to ‘be brave!’ and to keep in high spirits. Why? Perhaps because I will have to face many more people who cannot get the point that I’m not a saintly sufferer on wheels..

OK, before I forget, the title of this blog is strange simply because you should reading it from the back. Try it and see what I’ve been on about all the time. But how many of you did discard that line as some sort of tragic spelling mistake? By the way, writing backwards or inverting regular words has been an interest, perhaps a strange interest, of mine when I was young. Yojne Or should that be enjoy!??!!

1 comments:

Rajasree said...

Hey Gordon..I visited your site after Michael referred me to it. How's it going? Welcome to the world of blogging. The more you write about your thoughts and share it with others the more will you be connecting with a whole lot of people. So here's wishing you a life full of blogging. My best wishes are with you.