Tuesday 18 January 2011

Sorry, I don't speak Disabled

You can take our wheelchairs, you can take our security, you can take our mobility, but you will never take our libraries!!!! http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/campaign-grows-against-cuts-that-would-shut-375-libraries-2187030.html

Actually I'm delighted to see people standing up for reading. Free access to books is one of the great levellers in our society and I'm proud every time I see a library, but WHY do the papers jump to write about these things so eagerly when sick and disabled people are literally having their dignity stripped away? http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2011/01/to-mainstream-uk-media.html

You can't move for articles in the mainstream press today about a rising campaign in library-saving.

An online campaign this weekend to highlight the horrors disabled people are facing got tens of thousands of hits, hundreds of personal testimonials were submitted, the bloggers were swamped with it, but the nationals? The TV channels? Zippo, just a few online stories from the Guardian (for which we ARE eternally grateful but come on!!!) http://onemonthbeforeheartbreak.blogspot.com/

This could be any of us. If you go blind, you won't have much use for printed books. If you can't get out of the house and become bedridden, then discover they've cancelled care packages for someone like you, a library won't be much good to you. If you break your back, but find there's no rehab or hospice care any more, I can't imagine you feeling libraries were the most vital thing in your day. Disability can call for any one of us at any time in a heartbeat and life changes instantly. A good book to read might make it better, but a physio or adapted wheelchair would probably be more useful!!!

I'm perplexed. Is it that childbirth thing? The minute it's over you forget? Is that how it is with being sick? Is there some woolly-mammoth-era gene that simply will not allow us to believe that we could ever be less than physically perfect? Is disability or dreadful illness just something that happens to "someone else"? Do we have a blind faith in our own immortality that won't allow us to accept that cancer or kidney failure or paralysis could ever come knocking for us?

I'm delighted actually, to see campaigns up and down the country standing up for what they feel is a cut too far. When the good people of Stony Statford took all 16,000 books from their Library to protest it's closure, I tweeted it as my favourite activism story of all time. When the students got off their beanbags and slouched into action, I was astounded, but delighted. http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2010/11/free-cannabis-for-students.html

I just want - we want - someone to care about the "most vulnerable in society" like they said they would. It was supposed to be a line in the sand, an unbreakable promise. Fairness was to be "hardwired into the CSR." For some reason, though I have no idea why, when it comes to sickness and disability, everyone seems to have their fingers in their ears at the moment chanting "We can't hear you, we can't hear you"

Or as my friend put it in a terribly mock-patronising voice (you know the one, a little too loud, a little too slow, face a little close to yours...) "Oh, I'm sorry, I don't speak disabled."


  1. That reminded me of the lady that was trying to help me and who after doing so one day having a go at me for my cruelty of keeping my dog when i can't walk him. I told her I wasn't happy and needed some time to think and she started having a go at my family (actually in the library but that's another story) and pestering Mind for the best way to deal with my mental health. I had to get the police to stop her hassling my family. Who's mental health? (I may be making less sense than I think I am at this time of tiredness.) That was when I termed the phrase 'abusive help.' All she had to do if she wanted to understand was ask...ME!

    HUGS x

  2. If they continue to marginalise and persecute the disabled, then why don't we organise to target the London Paralympics in 2012? If there was a logo that all competitors could be invited to wear, and we hit ALL the media with this, surely the Government wouldn't sit back and allow Britain to become an international embarrassment via global TV? Or am I being too naïve ....

  3. Sounds like a flippin genius idea to me though.
    I just ask you to hold off til Feb - Then things might get fun !!!
    I'd be right behind a great idea like that

  4. Another day, another great blog, another great cif article ... well done!

  5. I worked at a library for a few years and we used to get a fair few users who had various disabilities. However, they could never have got there if it wasn't for their bus passes and wheelchairs etc
    I agree with you I loved working in a library but even when I was a librarian I knew that there are many public services more important.

  6. "I'm perplexed. Is it that childbirth thing? The minute it's over you forget? Is that how it is with being sick?"

    That is exactly it! One of the few things which keeps me going through moments of acute pain is the knowledge that once it is over, I will not remember. People forget. And more importantly than that, people forget that they forget.

    Another possibility which is becoming increasingly apparent to me, is the fact that your average person hasn't actually ever experience true illness. Within their realm of existence, a cold is the worst it gets. Clearly the older we are, the less likely this is to be true, but nevertheless a shocking amount of people (lucky for them) have never experienced serve pain.

    ... Or maybe they are just all selfish bleeps who do not care unless they are impacted directly. Either way.

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