Written by Dara Salama
In a literal sense, we are born to express ourselves. According to Maslow’s Pyramid of Human Needs, self-expression goes hand in hand with self-fulfillment. It’s an innate desire that’s born when we are born.
Now, imagine not receiving education, not being supplied with a system that aids you to read and write, let alone earn a bachelor’s degree or a high school diploma. The list goes on:
- Not being employed because society does not approve or recognize your form of self-expression.
- Not having money to fight for your need to learn and develop yourself in any aspect and eventually pay your bills.
- Not being able to get your day to day needs (like groceries, or home supplies) because you are not provided with a means of transportation that aids you. Car licences not offered for your type of communication, public transportation non-existent and completely ignorant of you.
- Not being able to receive proper treatment when ill or feeling unwell, because to a doctor you are incomprehensible and if to a certain degree you are understood, you massively risk wrong treatment.
- Not contributing to the political talk of your country or engaging in any decisions.
- Not being provided with assistance.
- society is constantly building walls between you and making you feel unwanted.
Then, imagine fighting and persevering through all this, so you proceed to this:
- An inclination towards an alternative form of self-expression; dancing, performing, drawing, painting, or carving.
- Spending what you have on developing and enhancing this form of expression you pick, but are met with no appreciation, no money, no recognition…. Like you don’t exist.
So you are momentarily defeated, but you begin again and repeat the cycle.
12 Million lives in Egypt go through this at any given moment. The deaf population in Egypt is marginalized and aching. In his programme, Kol yowm, Amr Adeeb aired some of their stories. They have their own struggles, but are trapped inside themselves in a life of turmoil because society doesn’t know or provide for the deaf. They are equally mentally capable or even brighter than many; their 4 senses are working even better than the rest of us. Their mind is as receptive as the rest of us, but society is constantly labelling them disabled and branding them as not fit.
Yes, that’s how insulting our ignorance is towards them.
And they are being mistreated by many of their fellow Egyptians and feel lost to struggle, because society does not assist them.
They deserve to live, learn, create and contribute to society just as much as each one of us does. Generations of them have pleaded and requested. We are light years late in giving them their rights. Society doesn’t progress unless it’s inclusive.
The deaf have needs and wants and they refuse to be doomed till death. We must be their bridges and voices, because after they able to express themselves to us, it may take us years to learn about their experiences of persistence, intelligence and self- awareness.
We can all help them.