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Sorry, no elevators
I simply call it ignorance

By Hassany
December 20, 2001
The Iranian

It's early in the morning and you just woke up. Imagine for a while that from that morning on, you are not able to walk. Imagine that you must live for the rest of your life without standing up. Imagine that you see everything from where you sit. Imagine that anywhere you go, many people see your wheelchair first, and you are in the background.

Imagine that in Iranian's gatherings and occasions many people whisper, "who is that person sitting on the wheelchair? Poor guy, he is so young." Can you imagine that? Imagine that in an Iranian gathering, you meet someone that you like. You go ahead and introduce yourself. It is very likely that he/she can't pass your wheelchair. She/he probably won't "see you". Imagine that. Even if she/he does, her/his parents won't approve of you because "my God, you don't want to go out with him, do you?

Can you imagine that? How would you feel? Would it make you feel embarrassed, sorry for yourself, sad, angry, frustrated, or perhaps depressed? No one, I mean no one chooses to have a physical disability. Is it a crime to happen to have a visible disability? Should we punish others because they are not "physically perfect" and are not up to our standards? How about accepting a person who happened to have a disability for how he/she is, as a person, with all of the pros and cons that one might have?

People with physical disabilities don't need any pity from any of us. Just treat them the way you normally treat any other person. There is no need to get scared and uncomfortable around them. Just think about them when you want to plan something for the public. Many of us accepted our physical disabilities as a fact.

In my opinion, we are all physically disabled, one way or another, and to different degrees. From a non-medical point of view, disability is defined relative to the ability of others to perform different tasks. How many of us are able to run 20 miles per day? Not too many of us are capable of doing that. Let's face the reality and talk about our disabilities openly. Let us not hide our flaws. We all know we have them, why not talk about them?

I got an invitation to an Iranian Shab-e-Yalda ceremony today via email. Some where in the invitation was the direction to the location of the ceremony. It's apparently on the second floor of a building. Something caught my attention in that invitation. It said, "sorry, no elevators." What does that mean, all is not welcome? Does that mean that if you are elderly or have a physical disability you can't go? Does that mean discrimination, or does it mean stupidity?

I simply call it selfishness and ignorance.

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