Being needy and disabled after Sagamihara and why independence is a myth
(#CN_ableist_murder, #CN_eugenics, #CN_graphic_imagination)
The 26th of July left me with a lump in my throat, I hardly wrote about all the thoughts and feelings the ableist killings of disabled at Sagamihara in a care facility evoked in me. I only shared the blogposts of other disabled tweeps, added a few tweets and it was obvious that nondisabled people didn’t care and it is difficult for me to articulate these things knowing this discouraging fact: That even in the social justice/queerfeminist bubble little solidarity with disabled ppl exists.
“We are not like those!” is also a known narrative of feminism. It ends with protesting against being put into the same pathologizing (as feeble/weak/etc) category as some other people who are considered to belong there.
Back to Sagamihara: As I have a vivid imagination and little filter I saw in my mind disabled people waking up to their death. Waking up in the moment they get stabbed, maybe realizing that the killer is someone familiar, dying with the confusion what is actually happening. Horrific. “19 disabled people killed in their sleep” the media wrote, which of course sounds much more peaceful.
Maybe it is time to acknowledge that people who work in social and medical professions can be ableist, biased and influenced by eugenics. How many disabled people experience abuse/violence/power play in the relations with medical/care staff in institutions, or with relatives/partners they depend on?
Of course the victims of the ableist murder are not individually portrayed. So what is usually portrayed? The hobbies, the close relations and the character of victims. And this won’t work here. It is exactly this portrayal-narrative of “what/who is a loss?” that is a crucial problem. The murderer does not consider a life worth living when “…it is difficult for the person to carry out household and social activities”.
What if a person can’t keep up a hobby or social relations? Is this life meaningless? Or isn’t every life meaningful simply because we all can feel pain and joy, comfort and discomfort? Is the individual person not the only to answer for themselves if their own life is meaningful? Where does this arrogance, to judge another life as meaningful or not, come from?
The Nazis eliminated more than 70 000 disabled people during world war 2 with help of a programme called “Aktion T4”. They distributed posters which depicted disabled people as cost factors and damage for the welfare of the country. They took disabled children away from their families, put them in institutions, which later were “cleared”: Disabled people were murdered by injections or gassed. The first victim of involuntary euthanasia was a person diagnosed with “idiocy” (that fact is a pretty good reason to let go of “idiot” and related ableist slurs btw). “Those who do not work, shall not eat.” Everyone considered a burden by the Nazis” had to go”.
What do these gloomy times have to do with the presence, here and now, one might ask? And one might add that Sagamihara was a singular incident with only one perpetrator.
I think what worries me and other disabled people is that eugenicists narratives are still alive and powerful, eugenicists beliefs are shared even if most individuals might not be capable of performing such an act of hate as in Sagamihara. Eugenics are not gone from the presence. They show in socalled social politics, where people die, when they don’t get needed medical help and assistance funded, when benefits are cut and individuals are declared fit for work while they aren’t fit and deemed to die in neglect, by starvation, not surviving homelessness, by suiciding themselves.
Eugenics still exist, disabled people can be sterilized if their legal guardian decides that it seems to be necessary.
Eugenicists beliefs are traced in media narratives of alleged “mercy killings” that reinforce the idea that one “is better off dead than disabled”.
Somethings that helps to uphold eugenicists beliefs is the myth of independence. Only those who are fully independent are considered to lead a meaningful life. Those who depend on others are perceived as a burden. Actually no one is fully independent, but we all are existing within interdependent relations. Not only the unemployed individuals depend. The one who has got a job is dependent on the employer, the employer on their workers, a family member on the other family members, we are not free of needing acknowledgement and we all need the supplies for daily living. It is a big problem when you are expected and forced to give up autonomous decisions because you depend in some areas of life.
The process to be declared unfit for work lasted more than ten years in my case. It was always obvious that I can’t work fulltime with the condition of my spine and chronic pain, but after a violent experience and being diagnosed with PTSD I got the full contempt for being considered “useless+superfluous”.
A doctor who worked for the welfare department asked me: “When do you actually want to give society something back?”
Society is only meaningful when it is a solidary society. And it is the right for autonomous decisions of disabled people I strife and work for.
And for the freedom to define myself what is meaningful to me.
So please, nondisabled people out there: Don’t let us disabled people wake up to our own death.