Don Quijote has joined the Dreamboaters. Why? – He had to. Because it’s the right thing to do. (Thank you, Ana, for pointing that out to me:)
No pictures nor videos of Pádraig today. The one I could have taken was that of the snow shower at around lunch time – but that was too depressing. “Der April, der April, der macht, was er will” said one of our German friends with a resigned tone in his voice looking out the big window where we should have been able to see the Black Forest.
I’ve been thinking about two question two different people asked me recently. One person asked “Why are you working on An Saol instead of just concentrating on helping Pádraig?”, the other one asked “What are the parents and friends of the other survivors of sABI contributing?”. These are valid question and ones that are hard to answer.
I suppose, if all of those affected by sABI were united, able, and capable of shouting from the roof tops “Stop this violation of the human rights of our sons and daughters!” – that would make a big difference. The reality is that we all are so exhausted and tired fighting for our own sons and daughters that we find it difficult to do much more – which is the most likely, though not the complete, answer to the second question.
In our case too, our son is our first priority. But I know that by helping others in a similar situation we will also help him, as well as us. The injustice, the lack of integration and inclusion, the denial of some of the most basic and fundamental rights as a human being to those who are literally voiceless, is not an individual matter – it’s something that we need to deal with as a society. While it is not a quantitative matter: there isn’t a large number of survivors of a severe ABI (sABI), though the numbers are growing -, it is a qualitative matter: the way they and their families are being treated, to me has a distincti feel of being medieval and has no place in a modern, inclusive society that values human life and equality of human life.
For a doctor to say: persons with sABI do not merit treatment because they will not get better is not only factually wrong (as recent research has clearly and unequivocally demonstrated), it is also outrageously discriminatory, biased, and bigoted. For a health professional to say “It would have been better had he died”, is equally shocking.
As a society we must ensure that these views are not tolerated. As a society we must ensure that survivors of sABI are treated with respect, dignity, and equality. Which is the answer to the second question, I suppose. And the answer to the question why this is an issue not ‘just’ for the survivors and their families, but one for society itself.
We have an obligation to fight injustice whenever we see it, even if it doesn’t affect us directly. Because if we don’t, no one will fight for us when it does.
PS: RTÉ played a request for Pádraig on The Weekend on One this morning, a brilliant song by Simon and Garfunkel, but covered here by Aretha Franklin. What a brilliant choice:
The broadcaster, Carol Moran, playing the song also mentioned that there is a joke you can only tell once every few years in Ireland: “You fill up my census” and then she played Annie’s Song on Ireland’s census day. We are getting the forms for the whole family in Irish – thanks to Pádraig:)