ABU Otsuki Award
Are the Blind Community and the Global Community Opposed?
Lebanon
Tony Atallah(45,Male )
Photo: Tony Atallah

What does blind community mean? What does global community mean? Is there any difference between both communities? Is the blind person dissociated from the global community?
These issues are raised sometimes as questions and some others as mouthings, so as to divide this already divided and fragmented community into two categories: global and non-global. In fact, the community is defined as a group of people living in cities and villages of their own, having similar interests and sharing the burdens of life. This is the logic definition of the community. Then men divided it into a global community and a blind community, etc. But the global community may be defined as follows: it is a community in which groups of people got integrated to build a better life, seeking a common goal and advocating a good human cause; while the blind community cannot be defined since it is a limited community created whether by the circumstances or by persons, and constitutes an integral part of the global community, i.e. the society at large.
Basically, there is no difference between the blind community and the global community. There is one community and the blind are integral part of it. The global community, however, was coined as a term given the isolation and seclusion suffered by the blind themselves whether because they decided to live so or because of the conditions. After all, the blind is a human being, but some conditions play a direct role in creating two communities. We will explain in detail some of the reasons behind this artificial differentiation between the blind community and the global one.
  1. Lack of Rehabilitation: The blind start their life where they live without purpose. They are made fun of and insulted given the lack of awareness of the environment where they live. One example is the negative role played by the parents in how they deal with their blind children, particularly the girls. The parents leave their blind children alone believing this is the best solution, but as a result, the latter develop some bad habits such as shaking the head or putting the fingers in the eyes. What is even worse is that the blind person speaks while tilting his/her head to the opposite side of where the voice of his/her interlocutor comes. Some parents overpamper their blind children that they have to accept their excessive ego, not to mention the obesity problems resulting from the fact that they sit at home all the time, such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. Moreover, some parents treat with excessive contempt their children of special needs, particularly the blind, who consequently become socially isolated and weak in character.
    On the other hand, some parents leave their children in the boarding schools for long periods of time and rarely visit them, taking them home only during the big holidays. The only job of some of these boarding schools is to provide the care. Thus, they act as the father, the mother, the family and the teacher and all what the blind can get is the academic education, and not the activities required in the community. As a result, in such schools, the blind become withdrawn and only build friendships with each other. They don’t get in contact with the society; they only go from home to school and vice versa. In fact, some people are introverted by nature even if they are normally sighted. This depends on one's personality.
    In addition, some blind children are enrolled in unqualified ordinary schools. They are left alone all the day in the class on their seat until someone comes after school and takes them home, while the other children go out during the recess to walk and play on the playground. When those blind grow up and become university students, they are assisted by very few friends who write down the names of some books for them, explain some lessons to them or take them home. In fact, those blind turn into a mere machine.
  2. Lack of Technology: There are little advanced technologies, especially in Lebanon, for the integration of the blind among the normally sighted people. Here are some examples:
  1. Limited jobs are allowed for the blind who work for example in telephone centers, in the radiology department in hospitals, particularly in the darkrooms, as lottery ticket sellers and in the straw and wool crafts. They rarely get third-category jobs or work as university professors. In general, they are stuck in the fourth-category jobs and by custom, are forbidden from being employed in the first-category jobs. According to the law, nothing prevents a blind from getting such jobs, but this normal right is denied to them by customs.
  2. The blind are placed in a corner seat on a bus: When a blind person gets on the bus, the conductor sometimes seats him/her on a separate seat in the corner, while complaining and grouching. This causes embarrassment to the blind person who would get out of the bus or accept his/her bad fate.
  3. The poorly informed mass media: Some mass media invite blind people for an interview to get a scoop and make some financial gain. Thus, they don't host them in constructive and entertaining programs since their owners claim to be tenderhearted, which proves why those media lack the knowledge and the awareness.
  1. The blind's character: Some blind people don't like to get in touch with the others; they prefer staying with each other at school, at college or in camps and during excursions. Other blind have only one normally sighted friend who accompanies them all the time and is obliged to stay with them in the camp, during the excursion, etc. Some others arouse the pity and sympathy of the people for known purposes. Finally, there are sociable blind people who live in the society side by side with normally sighted people. So the character of the blind person is the first main factor in allowing the integration of the blind in the society or their unsociability for the aforementioned reasons.
  2. Ignorant parents: Some parents are ashamed of their blind children, refraining from talking about them in the presence of the others. Moreover, they ask them to stay in their room until the visitors leave.
So the important question is: Who's responsible for such artificial discrimination? And why such negative behaviors are limited to the blind?
The blind are an integral part of the global community. At home, they are effective members of the family. At work, they work like any other employee. At school and at university, they are students like the others or professors like their colleagues. According to my personal experience, in order to create a community where the blind coexist with the others, there are many solutions to this chronic problem that can help build an integrated community:
Training courses must be provided for the parents who don't know how to deal with their blind children. Here, the parents play an important role. Moreover, the blind children must be integrated into life before going to school so that they can play with their playmates in the neighborhood where they live, thus being able to build friendships with their sighted peers. A good living is also the ultimate way to promote the integration in the school and the college later on.
The blind are effective members of the society and can have their own things done independently. Therefore, the parents must involve them in their decision-making and household tasks, such as arranging their own rooms, buying things from the grocery and giving opinions about the matters that concern the family.
The blind are effective social members. This is why they must associate with the sighted people whether at college or in camps and during sport activities, etc. The friendship between the blind and the sighted people proves that both sides are well integrated. It also constitutes a great incentive for the blind to show their powers and capacities which enable them to be effective members in the society.
Finally, if the boarding school is the only choice, the parents must pick their children up home once a week so that those stay close to their community and communicate with their peer exchanging with them what they learn at school. In addition, the younger brothers have the main role in protecting their blind brother or sister, and the care and the affection of the parents are the first block on which to build the blind's character.
This said, for the sake of God, do you see any difference between the blind community and the global community, or such difference can be avoided?



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