I know that this breaks my unofficial “post every fortnight” rule, but I came across a story today that I just had to comment on.
During my afternoon browsing of news apps on my phone, specifically going through my feed on the BBC app, I came across this story, a blog post shared by BBC Trending. Long story short, the story outlines how pro-Kremlin Komsomolskaya Pravda supports or describes the disapproval of and ostracism of disabled people.
Now, I understand how the journalist that wrote the piece said that it did not reflect his opinion, and that he did not mean to offend anyone (although he did). I am not even going to make this an attack on the article or even any specific culture – apparently disabled people in Russia are hidden from public view – because to be honest I know not what the specifics are and therefore I can not judge.
The reason I am writing this is because it made me mad. The post has an all too familiar vibe to it. Specifically the belief that disabled people – in fact anyone less than perfect – is not entitled to a life and should be somehow discarded. As if they are a defective product that could get recalled. I have experienced this. I am sure others have as well. I hope no one else has to.
This belief, I am sad to say, is not only prevalent in non-Western societies, but in the West too. Although I have to admit is not very prevalent (or apparent) the further you move to the West and North – perhaps due to better education, societal evolution, or even fear of being labeled as intolerant and a bigot.
I have been diagnosed almost nine years ago (and this is very clear by my blog and should not have to reiterate it) with Multiple Sclerosis, a possibly debilitating neurological disease that severely hinders my life. I am sure the same thoughts and difficulties would apply for any other chronic illness or debilitating disease someone is born with or “inherits” over the course of their lives.
My life is far from perfect, and not what you would call normal. But I, just like tens of other people I know personally and whose blogs I have been recently reading, still live full, satisfying and productive lives. Despite the difficulties. And that makes us even stronger. Because of the way we manage to persevere through the difficulties, because of the way we adjust our lives to keep functioning, because we are still human.
Besides, what is normal? And what is a perfect life? Fairy tales sure as hell do not exist. Even on social media (that I should point out only offers a snippet into other people’s lives that could well be scripted, rehearsed and edited).
People with a chronic disease or disability are just that. People. And regardless of the society we live in it should be understood and accepted. We are productive members of society. And we should be respected as such and not treated as outcasts or the scourge of humanity.
I wrote this being angry, and anger is never a good advocate. I do not believe in doing such things, and do try to remain calm and logically analyze a situation before reacting. How Vulcan of me, I know. But this time I could not resist. I could have well deleted this while post after I typed it into my word processor. Instead, I will ask for your understanding, and explain that sometimes even I fall through the cracks of my logic.