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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Easy Come, Easy Go...

Since my last entry, I had planned to get many jobs done...But due to my habit of procrastination and the urgency of work and study related tasks that had to be finished presto, I realise that I lost touch with what's happening in the disability scene around the world. I know, it may have happened before but I still feel bad when this happens...

Especially now that I find the terrible news that the UK has issued its assisted suicide guidelines, a story I got from Claire Lewis' blog in a post aptly entitled Getting Away With Murder: Discriminatory how-to guide is a national disgrace.

These guidelines will provide an easy way for those taking care or giving support to their 'dependent' love ones to kill them off as long as their act was one of mercy. The guidelines, as reported by “The Guardian:

"... Made clear that someone acting out of compassion, to help a terminally ill patient with a 'clear, settled and informed wish to die' was unlikely to face the courts. But persuading or pressuring the victim to kill themselves, or benefiting from their death, would encourage prosecution..." (The  Guardian Online, 25-02-2010)

Now I could be so naive and reassure myself that the condition stating that if my kind killer does not pressure me to ask for suicide, I should be safe. Wrong!

First, this is giving the word of the killer unprecedented power. After all, can the dead body defend him/herself? I think not.

Second, who will determine whether the person's wishes to die were not due to the fact I feel isolated. Thanks to the poor support systems, lack of access to society, or few choices of health assistance, for example? And I'm assuming that they were there in the first place... which can't be determined either.

Third, can you really prove that no kind of pressure from family members to end a person's life existed? Again, highly unlikely...,

Yes, I still shiver when I recall the nightmare I talked about last time. Of being half-conscious between here and there while a team of doctors decided whether I was worth the trouble to save.

Now, my loved ones can be a 'threat'. OK, these scenarios are slightly dramatic  but considering the 'hero status' some mercy killers attain in the media after they tell their story. Gives you good reason to mistrust the media...

The value of who we are, as people with impairments, is often set against economic or medical considerations, without stopping to look at our faces and listen to what we are trying to communicate.

Ironically, all this movement in favour of assistive suicide is framed in a world that preaches equality and non-discrimination. Apparently, the right-to-life of disabled people does not feature in the list of rights we should possess. I admit that my impairments seem unbearable even a reason to die to those who think they are 'more fortunate' because they happen to be non-disabled (for now).

The fact that many of us can live a happy life because of our impairments. Yes, we have to live in a society, which is disabling us, which we seek to change, but our lives are worth living! Most of us have gone through physical pain but the greatest pain is that of having the door of opportunity slammed in our faces!

Now, amidst the disablist practice already in place (late abortion, prenatal screening, inadequate support, etc) ... we are adding the murder of people like myself, and countless others who because of their sensory, physical, intellectual, mental health... related impairments risk being earmarked for destruction.

There is only one modern state I know which instituted regulations not dissimilar to the assisted suicide guidelines and that was Nazi Germany with its euthanasia programme. It all started with disabled people and then - I need not say what happened, do I?

So, please give us a second chance.... On second thoughts - give us all the chances that we have the right to enjoy!

PS: A peak at my profile would quickly reveal that I'm not a UK resident. However, I believe that what happens in the world will, some day, affect me and other disabled people. We cannot stay silent when there's injustice - even if it happens miles away or may never affect us.