Sunday 25 November 2007

Swimming against a tide of hate

It's not often I agree with something I read in the Daily Telegraph. (No, this has absolutely nothing to do with Respect and the split between the SWP and George Galloway, lol). Or have any sympathy for the military. But then I read the Daily Telegraph's Disabled veterans jeered at swimming pool news report.

It really is appalling how common disability prejudice is in our supposedly "civilised" society, and how deep it runs. This ignorance is far from unprecedented; as far back as 1998 I was banned from using certain facilities at a local swimming pool because of my disability, and 2 years ago the parents of a disabled girl (involved with the local "A pool for Megan" charity) were abused by other parents at a local country park for "scaring their kids".

What is unusual this time is that disabled combat veterans - normally treated as heroes, even by the Establishment - are the subject of such abuse. It is true that our soldiers - who have been recklessly sent to fight illegal, immoral and dangerous wars by our government, for the benefit of the British and American capitalist Establishments, and have been killed and maimed for oil - deserve far better than this!

Yet it does feel bitterly ironic that disabled military veterans are now on the receiving end of such prejudice; back in 2000, a heavily-charged debate about whether people with disabilities should be employed in non-combat jobs within the armed forces flared up, as a result of General Guthrie (then head of the British Army) decrying such a possibility. (My views on this issue can be found at Red Disability's Disability and the British Armed Forces article - which has itself attracted an amount of feedback, both positive and negative).

The usual myth parroted by the Establishment is that disability prejudice is a part of "human nature" and therefore "apolitical". But disability discrimination and prejudice are very much a product of capitalism and propagated by the capitalist Establishment - my views on that matter can be found in more detail on Red Disability's Is Human Nature a barrier to Disability Rights article.

More recently, it seems too coincidental that disability prejudice is rearing its ugly head again, so soon after the government has announced plans for yet another attack on Incapacity Benefit claimants. Apolitical? Maybe. Maybe the German Nazis sent over 100, 000 disabled people to the gas chambers just for a laugh ...

The individual parents responsible for such abuse should be dealt with; what I find "scary" is that such parents are not just brainwashed themselves, they are actively helping the Establishment to brainwash their kids with such poisonous prejudice. (Although the idea of "naming and shaming" them goes even further than my idea, mooted in July in my Register of emotion article on this blog, for a "hate crime offenders register"!)

But to stop others like them, we must first get rid of the root cause not just of disability prejudice (see Red Disability's Got a problem? article) but also of racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and countless other forms of oppression. Namely, the capitalist system.

No comments: