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

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

REBEL WITH A CAUSE

I am just settling down after another day of new experiences. It’s sort of funny that you get to know yourself much better once you start talking to someone else. And that doesn’t include computers or any inanimate objects that may or may not talk back. In my case, my computer and mobile phone do talk back to me but that opens another story. And I really should get to my subject here!!!

Well, I have been quite cross yesterday when I was reading about a man in Italy who has a physical impairment pleading to be given the right to die.

Plea from muscular dystrophy victim to Italian president sparks debate in Italy



Anyway, I don’t like it when our lives are depicted as being some sort of endless tragedy of suffering and sadness. And I feel worse off because people do not ask themselves whether there may be other factors involved in this man’s wish to die. I mean I can find many things in my life that cause me great sadness such as:

ACCESS PROBLEMS

ATTITUDINAL BARRIERS

PREJUDICE

DISEMPOWERING LANGUAGE

But I’ll stop there. I admit there were also times when I thought about the possibility of ending it all.

But then I never actually did. Do you want to know why? Precisely because I realise that people assume my difference to be somewhat wrong and giving in to that belief would be their win not mine. If you think about it, this man is probably not getting emotional support or even choice in making decisions in his own life.

Yet that doesn’t mean that people with impairments hate their life and are living a sad and tragic existence. That argument would be good for utilitarianists who only seek what is best in economic terms. Choosing euthanasia against proper support and assistance, or of providing equal rights, may look as a cheaper solution but it depletes us from our humanity and is only short term. Unless of course you don’t want to rid yourself of other groups of people that are deemed ‘undesirables’ as I sometimes feel disabled people like myself are perceived.

I’m no hunk I admit but I’ve learned to love my body as it is. After all, I think that being a man takes more than simple physicality and that again is a contested fact. For I believe that it’s the person inside that needs to be reckoned with. That’s why I really shudder when I hear people talking of me as if I was some kind of strange and fascinating object. They may be genuinely interested, yes, but when they do not go beyond that I really want to grab my wheels and run!!

When I was discussing some issues, someone pointed out to me that I was a kind of rebel. And I guess I am in fact a kind of rebel. And even if that’s not all of what I am all about (obviously otherwise I’ll be writing gibberish)... I think that it captures large part of who I am.

My rebellion is not against impairment or other people but is perhaps against a far greater beast. And that beast we may call our tendency to judge, categorise and exclude people who are different from ourselves. People who we may label different things ranging from the ‘deviant’ to the ‘subnormal’.

But alas it’s always the same result isn’t it? More of the same, nothing new and dismal mediocrity. Would you really like a world where an order was imposed from the start?? A world of no different(s)? A world where everyone believed, spoke, talked, wrote, etc. etc. as you do?

Unless you’re a narcissist, the answer would be no. Then why would you want a world without people with impairments? Why is there a silent consent to euthanasia and abortion when it comes to our life as disabled people? Isn’t there anything to learn from each other?

Indeed, I rebelled and still rebel against the voices who try to make me into something that might appease them or make their life simpler by avoiding me completely. And this exclusion from recognising my worth as a man might be at the core of my rebellion.

I think that I vented that off. Now I think my keyboard deserves a break after some really bad finger assault!

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