Monday, 6 February 2012

Did He Deserve To Die?

'People didn't always see a person with a disability who had to use a ramp or elevator as people who have been given unnecessary privileges. But I run into that often now. People are saying, 'Why do we have to go to great expense for these people?'
--   Major Owens

It is an intolerant world,” he once told me,
Barricaded by the walls of cold hate.”
A statement I found startling.
“Why?” I prodded.
He smiled. His withered face
Betrayed his agony.

He had been the face of the
Disability Movement;
His name would pass
The attention of many;
He was the daily story of struggle
Puffing on oxygen cylinder
Barely walking on a prosthetic limb;

Google search won’t reveal him
For his story is not featured anywhere
Till now.

He asked me, “Strange this world is,”
Those who are able think they are able,
Yet, we are all disabled in our different realities

I didn’t understand.
I told him, “Uhhm, care to elaborate?”
“We are shaped by our own realities,
The able pity us because we are not like them.”

He continued, “Yet, we don’t need pity,
We need the society to realize that
Even the breath I struggle to inhale
Without it, even they will be disabled”

I did not follow his train of thought.
It was many years later
When I was busy with my life
That I heard that he got tired of his life
Because no one cared about him—not even
The law.

The news reported that
He painstakingly climbed 14 floors
And jumped to his death.

Now I wonder
May be we got deaf of his cries
He was strong for 47 years
Till his gruesome death.


madhumakhi said...

A very tragic story indeed. The fact that a man could live on a prosthetic and an oxygen cylinder for 47 years should have inspired other people. But they didn't care the least about him. Society abandoned him. That's the sad fate of many disabled people.

“Those who are able think they are able,
Yet, we are all disabled in our different realities”
These lines have really resonated with me. We are all disabled by our own realities. But it's our mission, our karma to overcome those disabilities and come out tops.

Unfortunately the world has been so cruel to this man that it hasn't allowed him to overcome his obstacles.

echoesofthehill said...

Very unfortunate, Behen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Lately, I have been reading a lot of literature on disability and disability movements across the world.

Their stories have been inspiring yet heartbreaking. All I can say is that it is one thing to provide for the rights of persons with disabilities in the statutes and conventions and different thing when a whole Social Re-engineering on the perceptions and attitudes of people will be required so that their rights are fully realized and appreciated.

I hope things will change.

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