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TEDxBuenosAires - Bea Pellizzari - 04/08/10

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Today when I was coming, I asked to myself many times what I was going to do here Many talks of science, technology and scientific thinking; and I wondered what I could offer here Honestly, I believe in fate and I feel that something brought me to this stage today. I was born in Montevideo many years ago and I would like to share a story with you. When I was 18 I was a very active girl, as many of you who are 18 now may also be. I used to swim in the morning and started to work early. I worked full time and attended university on the night shift. I was in love. I was in love with a 19-year-old guy called Guillermo, who was a professional basketball player and who had awesome green eyes. Summer came and we planned our holidays We decided to go camping in the coast, in the city of Piriapolis with his sisters We were having such a great time. One day we decided to go out together by ourselves to visit a nearby town, located in the frontier with Brazil We went there and spent a wonderful day. We came back... It was January 7th It was a sunny day, with blue sky and 40° We were riding a motorbike And when we were on our way back, 2kms from the campsite we stopped at a crossroad because we saw a long-distance bus approaching us. That day, lights went out for me. And when I found myself again, I had to make a decision... I had to decide how to live this new life, This life that I had received as an opportunity, almost as a gift. And the day I could stand up for the first time the doctor who put on the prosthesis I am using now told me : what lies ahead is in your hands. Everything from now on, for the rest of your life... I never imagined that those words, that I can still remember clearly, would acquire such deep meaning in relation to what happened afterwards. At last, one day I was discharged from hospital, and I went back to work. And then I felt another enormous impact, an impact I was not prepared for. an impact connected with the gaze of others. Back to work, I felt the pity look, the compassion my workmates felt when they welcomed me. Their eyes were fixed on my Canadian canes, instead of on the fact that I was 18, eager to improve and to bring myself back to life. My life has changed and that is why many years later I decided to take time to think of, work on and invite others to think of and work on the social weight of disability A social weight not focused on the situation of disability in itself, with which 2 million disabled people have to deal in this country, but a social weight in its grossest expression - let me put it that way - that we come up against everyday: a look that makes disabled people feel inferior. An extremely heavy social weight. And when we refer to disability we always tend to think that the problem is the stairs, the impossibility to access physical means the problem is... all barriers you may imagine while I am talking about this topic. It is true, all those barriers do constitute a problem in daily life, But they are not the main problem, The main problem of disabled people is in your minds, in the minds of all those persons who think they have nothing to do with this while they keep looking down on others everyday. As a colleague told me: instead of seeing me in my beautiful eyes, they have their eyes fixed on my canes or my crutches. So, I devote a great deal of my time to study this conduct. Sometimes people think I work directly with disabled persons; part of my job is connected with them, But actually, my major concern is the universe of people who don´t have any disability. Because I have a dream: To go out everyday and see the 2 million people with disability freely living their lives. Being free means having the opportunity to choose, choose where to be, who to be How to grow, how to develop, how to live... I can assure you that such degree of freedom has little to do with the reality that people in our country have to face today. When we talk about disability in our imagery, in each of our minds In our culture, many words appear: Ugly, poor, excluded, marginalized, losers... I really know a lot of disabled people who are happy I found out, and we surely agree on this point, that happiness is a subjective feeling, a unique construction what makes me happy, surely is not the same that makes you happy. Then, that leads me to another question Why do we pass judgment on others? From which place, from which powerful position every single day of our lives do we pass judgment on other people that are different from us? I´m concerned about this issue of difference Because I can´t believe that in these days we are still showing... a primitive behaviour. How did primitive human beings behave towards something unknown to them? They fled, and we still flee; but now we are a bit more sophisticated because we ignore, that is our best mechanism for fleeing today. or we attack It´s just that we attack from the crudest segregation now. We have an implied power in our way of looking, in our everyday actions I ask myself many questions, many of them connected with... the feelings of people who don´t conform to the esthetic standards set by the society we are living in; the way in which parametres of success are established; the things that determine whether you belong or not; whether you are recognized by others or not; and how this affect my capacity to be. I keep thinking about this and I haven´t found many answers but I would like that you think about this, as well. While working on this issue, studying different behaviours and thinking about them, I found out that the question of disability generates a priori two different perceptions: One connected with fear, a fear that causes us to become paralyzed, a fear that pushes us away, and the other related to helplessness. We feel helpless, we don´t know what to do, we don´t have information we don´t know what to do with the person standing in front of us. I really want to tell you that none of these perceptions Are providing us with the most wonderful thing that may happen to us whenever we meet someone different from ourselves that is, to get to know, discover and explore them... That marvelous singularity is what makes us unique. A real event. It seems that human beings are taking too much time to realize how important it is to praise such meeting and such discovery as presented by the relationship with other people, people different from ourselves. I would like to ask you... turn on the lights, please that all of you who have a disabled family member raise your hands, feel free to do it. Thank you very much. As in your case, today, in our country, there is a disabled person in 1 out of 5 homes. However, when we go out we don´t see them Many of you probably go to university and surely don´t have a classmate with any disability, or a disabled workmate in your workplace, or a professional in charge of the health of your children, or of their education. Where are the disabled people? They are still in their homes, waiting for a chance or an environment that makes their permanence and true integration easier. so that they can contribute with all the capabilities a disabled person may offer to construct this country. Not only a social, economic or cultural construction ... From their uniqueness and diversity. We have a huge unresolved issue with respect to this and this issue is in our hands. A spaceship won´t come down to turn everyone into open-minded people, interested in others. That´s an individual task. I am a building worker, but instead of working with bricks, I work with words. I spend my time building “cultural ramps” , that´s the way I like to refer to my job. I actually believe that we have a great opportunity ahead And we can´t miss it . In this 21st century, with so many advances, so much science and development we are losing appreciation for humanity in itself. There is little time left. I just would like to add that in this construction we need many hands This cannot be left up to a celestial entity. Something must happen... Something must happen so that every single child can go to school, any school, not a special one. Something must happen so that all young people can attend high school in the same conditions and everyone can get a job to avoid the unemployment levels shown in our country concerning disabled people within the economically active age group Something must happen and “that something” is in our hands... Then, I would like to invite all of you, in an event like this one: an event with the purpose of meeting, reflection and celebration I want to invite you to praise diversity. Which means nothing less than celebrate life in itself .Doesn´t it? To conclude, I would like that you follow me and close your eyes. Don´t cheat because I can watch you from here Close your eyes Let´s imagine, I´m going to describe something to you... She´s got dark hair with dark sparkling eyes. she´s a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother of two children, a hard worker, a professional, a citizen, a person interested in the construction of Argentina, in contributing with her abilities to the construction of this country. I´d like to introduce Laura, a woman full of prospects. She´s Laura. I simply would like to invite you, from now on, to undertake together with us to praise this new way of being in this world, and to make, from your position, a better country for everyone, WITH everyone placing all your talents at the disposal of integration. Thank you very much.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 45 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: Argentina
Language: Spanish (Spain)
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxBuenosAires
Director: TEDxBuenosAires
Views: 98
Posted by: marie.bona on Jul 12, 2010

Making the invisible visible - Haciendo visible lo invisible

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