Hard of hearing


May 12th, 2016

Source: picture of the author

We have had a feathered visitor to our balcony for the past week. He or she regularly flies back and forth to pick up some food. I had already hung up the birdseed in February of this year, but up to now no bird had dared to fly so high. And now one is here and since this weekend there are even two! Whether the visitor is male or female I do not know, but I believe it is a female that has to feed her nest. Unfortunately I could not take a picture because our visitor is a bit shy. She leaves some trash behind, but I gladly clean that up. It is a huge joy for me to see how carefree she gets her food and then leaves again. A thank-you is not needed. We understand each other even so. Sometimes I wish that human communications were as simple as that.

We had some great weather here in Switzerland last week and I was able to take the resident that I visit at the elderly home on a beautiful walk. Twice even, after a short break for tea. The birds along the way had a lot of apparent joy at the Spring weather. They chirped and sang cheerily in the trees. What they were talking about, remains their secret. For me, it is a joy to simply to hear the birds, because of my hearing aids. Those tones are one of a kind, and its seems to me almost impossible to explain to a deaf person what a bird sounds like. Its like trying to explain to a blind person what color is. So much more is denied to the impaired. And yet, most try to make the best out of their situations. This demands courage, perseverance, and strength. This deserves our highest respect. Whether one is hearing disabled, sight impaired, or restricted in their mobility, all have a right to a full life in which they make the decisions for themselves.

Overnight on May 11th, a group of wheelchair bound activists from all over Germany chained themselves to the Reichstagsufer in Berlin. They were demonstrating for more rights in localities belonging to the private sector such as restaurants and theatres, and for the right to save money even when they require public assistance. With that they criticize the planned „Bundesgleichstellunggesetzes“ und des „Bundesteilhabegesetzes“. Now I am not an activist, but every law that seeks to limit the rights of an impaired person does not have my sympathy. I recently also blogged about such a law that would limit the rights of an impaired person in the Netherlands.

How can we as a society talk about integration and inclusion when there are still so many barriers facing the impaired and chronically sick? That is a question that is sadly not asked enough. That is why I think it is a good thing when impaired persons voice their opinions, even if I would never go so far as to chain myself. 🙂

To live as free and without care as the bird on our balcony, that is not something the impaired are likely to be able to do, but as long as we do not allow others to dictate what we can and can’t do, we are in control of our own lives!



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