While driving to attend for a conference this morning, I was reflecting on the above question. I believe that there is no one person who can truly say that s/he is ‘totally able’! We all have those areas in our lives where we depend on others, where we are not able to juggle with all the demands that life puts in our way, we are unable to do some things in our life, and so all we can do is to depend on others. In this way I may conclude that we all have our own disabilities.
There are persons who think that they are totally independent of others, but this is not so. Just stop for some time and think of all the persons who help you to be independent. I’m not going to give an exhaustive list, but I will pinpoint persons who help the majority of us: persons who pick up our garbage every morning, the persons who stack items at the supermarkets, persons who maintain fuel stations, persons who prepare our pay slips, persons working at the bank centers, farmers, doctors and so many more.
So are we really independent? This brings to mind an explanation which was highlighted by Mr Joe Camilleri, Chairperson of KNPD. To be independent does not mean that a person does all things by him/herself, but an independent person is a person who can choose what to do and when to do it. With this in mind, I felt that all society should celebrate this day… or rather, should we celebrate such a day?
If we live with the knowledge that we are all persons with some degree of disability, shouldn’t we live naturally in an inclusive way, where there are no accessibility problems and participation is from all since we are all equal? But we are not living this utopia. Therefore, we still need days like today to remind us to keep an open mind, to be aware of our personal disabilities, to be open to learn from those who fight for their independence, to be ready to change our ways as much as we expect others to conform to ours.
So, is it a day to celebrate? Or should we all roll up our sleeves and increase awareness in order to live truly in an inclusive way? Should we do our utmost to eradicate such a day, or at least to arrive to that moment when we need to explain to our children why such a day had to be celebrated for a number of years? I look forward to live in a society where we can all together celebrate the beauty of diversity.