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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

FASCISM AGAIN?

I can’t help but worry about the recent developments taking place in Italy. Not just because it’s not that far away from Malta but that it’s also part of the European Union. I’m of course writing about the recent rise of Silvio Berlusconi to power. And the silence about some of his policies...

Indeed, as I write, a large number of gipsy immigrants are being persecuted. Many have been living in Italy for a large number of years. Effectively, non-Italian immigrants are being blamed for many of Italy’s problems. The high crime rate for example.

To me, Berlusconi is following in the footsteps of fascism but only few people seem to be worried about this or even seem to care.

The fact is that this persecution of minorities can be said to be a way of distracting Italians from the real problems and instead finding a scapegoat for all social ills.

One of the reasons is that Berlusconi is also the owner of three major television stations in Italy – which means he has considerable power and influence on the Italian public. Over here in Malta, we do get “Berlusconi’s” channels (Canale 5,Italia 1 and Rete 4) and, I admit, I have followed them since childhood. However, this xenophobic policy aimed to rid Italy of ‘non-Italians’ has made me wonder about the things I have consumed over the years. In addition, I wouldn’t want to keep backing the man – even indirectly. You should read an interesting article on Berlusconi’s new fascism written by an Italian Ignacio Ramonet, which should set people in Europe seriously thinking about this new development in Italy.

I have read about the rise of fascism in Italy before the war. Unfortunately, it seems that it may happen again. The fact that it has already happened in the 1930s with Mussolini doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. But perhaps today the stakes are even higher as we enter into a new globalise world were those who control the media may also control the world.. then, we might forget all about human rights
to begin with!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

THE JOURNEY BEGINS (AND CONTINUES) ...



Yesterday was one of those days when I have to go for a medical checkup at hospital. Thankfully, these days are very rare but the experience has improved considerably over the past. Not that I'm keen on going to hospital for a visit. The moment I set foot, err wheels, there it feels like you've entered into another dimension. Now that we have a new hospital, the experience can even be more surreal. After all, there you may find a high concentration of wheelchair users and, of course, elderly people who use wheelchairs but insist they're not 'disabled'!

Yes, you read that last one right. As I was waiting for my ophthalmic appointment, an old man on a wheelchair was being brought in the waiting room. Once he stopped near the seats, he told the lady pushing him that she could take the wheelchair back as he could walk and didn't need it any more. Granted, it was true. He proceeded to sit down using his walking stick and waited like the rest of us. To be honest, if I had been in his position a few years ago, I might have done the same thing. Indeed, I think I might have protested that I didn't 'need' the wheelchair because of the fear of being identified as a disabled person. I should have seen myself then ... today. I fear I wouldn't have approved that much...

The fact is that there are so many bad things associated with disability... I've heard a couple over the last week or two. But the saddest one is when you hear disabled people describe themselves as 'sufferers'. Granted, medical conditions such as my own do involve a certain degree of physical pain (currently it's under control). However, I do not want to define myself as a 'sufferer' for the simple reason my life is not all about pain. In fact, pain is just one tiny aspect of who I am.

Don't start me on that or I'll inflate my ego... anyway, my doctor gave me a clean bill of health (within what is 'normal' for me) whilst I have to make some important decision over my right eye's future... so that's that!

Well, besides my work and the daily routine to distract me, there's also my new blog. In fact, I have started posting on my new blog Cosmos Online. It was hard designing the layout and all that for this blog but thanks to some features of blogger, I can now prepare the posts to be published over the weekend and only update the contents page once in a while.

No, I don't want to start discussing the technicalities of writing a blog. It's not the purpose of this space. Although, on second thoughts, isn't stress bad for me?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

MOTHER’S DAY AND MY ‘CHILD

It’s soon the end of another weekend and, believe me, I needed some rest this week! Before I start this post entry, I would like to wish a happy mother’s day to all the mothers who are reading this blog! If you’re wondering, I already wished my mother all the best for this year… so there.


Truth be told, I do admire the work mothers carry out daily and the sacrifices that they often do for us (their children!). I cannot fail to mention the problems some mothers face, particularly disabled mothers, when it comes to wanting to take care of their own children (let alone the obstacles they face in choosing to be mothers) . I am aware of many court cases in which mothers are denied the right to bring up their own children because they have an impairment. We cannot forget that these are mothers too and that it’s not a question of ‘protecting’ their own children as some would put it but rather an excuse for taking control over the lives of mothers who have a right, as any other woman, to have childran


Of course, tied to this right many take for granted is the right for proper support structures to make such a thing a reality. I don’t have children myself, and I will never be a mother, but I have often been faced by disabling attitudes when it comes to disabled people and reproduction. Aside from the idea that we “shouldn’t create more of our own kind” (whatever that means), there are no real role models of disabled parents on local media and I have never seen any disabled mother (or father) being presented on mainstream TV we get from abroad. So there’s a thought.


The moments I share with my nephews remind me of the precious gift of life that every child represents. Besides the silly stuff they force you to do! And, indeed, mothering is about children. But more than that. You don’t have to be a natural mother to be a mother. The same can be said of being a father. So, today I want to remember and thank all those women, who even if they were not my natural mother, were there when I needed them. Even if my own mother cannot be replaced!


Speaking of mother’s day, I have had a ‘child’ so to speak. OK, before turning white with horror (especially you mum!) I had ‘created’ a character Namuh in my teenage years. Over the end of the week, I was toying with the idea of presenting ‘him’ to a wider audience. I had already talked about this elsewhere and in fact his account can be found in my book Cosmos, I have decided to post it on a blog I created especially for this purpose. So, if you’ve got time you might want to visit it at COSMOS ONLINE.

Left: The picture I designed for Cosmos Online...


Yes, it is currently in the initial stages but I should kick off posting the actual story sometime this week. Well, that’s all for now. Once again, happy celebrations!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION COMES INTO FORCE !


Centre: Flag of the United Nations


Well, at long last, the UN Convention Rights of Disabled Persons comes into force today... It' s been a long process that started off in 2001 and it's positive news!! We've arrived at this stage after the 20th country (Ecuador) ratified it on April 3.

Lately, I had to get acquainted with what the difference between ratification and signing a Convention were. Whilst signing indicates that a member state agrees with the principles of any Convention, by ratifying it the member state would have committed itself to make the changes required to make the
principles an actuality.

There are two main things I like about the Convention:

1. It recognises that disability is not simply a product of biology but is mainly caused by social/environmental factors.

2. It acknowledges the social, economic, civil and political rights of the 260 million disabled people living around the world.

I've found a lot of useful information on the net about the Convention and how organisations may help promote its ratification if the country they live in hasn't as yet ratified itt. One such tool is one provided by Disabled People International called the Ratification Toolkit.

Now, some may think that the Convention is meant to give disabled people new rights. However, in truth, the Convention is only guiding countries into how best to ensure that disabled people are really given their rights in society. In this sense, disabled people were often absent when countries reported about their human rights records. One of the reasons may have been that our problems have often been seen as individual and medical, and have only relatively recently been seen in terms of interactions between biology and society.

Currently, Malta is only a signatory to this historic Convention and of course I'll be doing my part to urge the Maltese parliament to ratify it. In that way, disabled people in Malta (like me!) may look forward to a better future and greater equality.

However, I am cautiously optimistic about the results of the Convention. True, it signifies a positive step forward for disabled people worldwide but we shouldn't forget that the UN had issued its International Bill of Human Rights after the Second World War and even today we know of human right abuses. Similarly, the entry of treaties such as that against discrimination against women or on racial discrimination doesn’t mean that the world has achieved equality between the sexes or between peoples.


I know that I may be a bit cynical here … but my point is that the UN Convention itself cannot be said to be the solution to inequality but rather the beginning of a journey to attaining equality of disabled people. In this, world governments, we as disabled people and non-disable people need to help make equality possible...


PS: Many of the links point to the pages found on the DPI ratification toolkit which also provides a good description of the UN's history and existing international law.