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

Sunday, November 05, 2006

ANOTHER VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS?

PART 2

The thing that I know is that once I became ‘blind’ I must have taken on board all the things I thought I knew about blind people. I was lucky enough to have started meeting other blind people early on as I would have suddenly found myself not only left out but also totally misunderstood by others. All thanks to a culture that excludes people with impairments from being there. And as people, not as trophies or symbols!!!

As a wheelchair user, now, I deem that it would be a similarly overwhelming experience for a non-disabled person to find himself or herself with an impairment overnight. I’m not saying that there is no shock or fear involved. But it just wouldn’t be that difficult if disabled people were more visible and that means that our structures are geared towards inclusion from the start. But as all we have is geared only towards a particular view of ‘personhood’, the shift will be gradual. But it must start…

True, there are features of my body that will remain my own concern. I don’t expect otherwise… but the fact remains that for me to escape the patronising pest I mentioned earlier, I must rebuild the building with an accessible exit route… fast… because in those few minutes I cannot change his/her attitude…

And the thing is that it’s not a mere question of attitude or culture. People with impairments have been demonised, ridiculed, pathologised and even sanctified. But they have never been truly part of the ‘civilised world’. At least not on their own terms.

Both ‘culture’ and ‘environment;’ are integral to my inclusion in society. I’m not here to go through a daily test to prove my worth as some non-disabled people would have me do. I’m here to be myself. But right now, people with impairments like myself, are left at the fringes of society.

I have had many dreams as a young boy. But inasmuch as I dream, I know that no dream will become real unless I take action. And that action implies changing the way things are and fighting the status quo.

People may call me many things. And may be I’m just another voice in the wilderness. But even if I wouldn’t want to end up in the middle of the desert any time soon… we must note that the animals and plants which live there call it home… as do some nomadic people…

Is the life of ‘nomads’ any better than others? I just don’t know… but is my life of value? I know it is. But can I be witness to that fact? Not always. And why? Just because some people think that some lives are more human than others. And it’s not simply in the mind but it’s reflected everywhere I look…

End of POST

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