Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Paralympic ambivalence

I blogged recently about the incongruous nature of the Paralympics.  And now that I've been to the stadium to watch (last Saturday evening),  it strikes me more forcefully than ever.  Just below us we were able to watch a shot put competition for female paraplegics. I can't pretend it was the most exciting live sport I've ever watched, but I was fascinated by the trouble that the officials went to in order to secure the athletes in position, out of their wheelchairs but fixed on a type of podium.  It must have taken a full five minutes for about 4 officials to change the dimensions of the straps holding the podium in place for the athlete and then to transfer them from their wheelchair into the throwing position.

Here  again was a wonderful example of the lengths people are willing to go to for their fellow human beings. It's the kind of thing that crosses your mind when multiple firemen are engaged to rescue a solitary person who is precariously placed in a possible suicide attempt, or the sheer and extraordinary effort that went to rescuingD the Chilean miners.

So what is incongruous? Well the same effort that is nowadays provided for the support and flourishing and indeed protection of the disabled is directed in quite the opposite direction for the baby yet to be born who also has disabilities. As I said in my last blog post, I don't want to be simplistic here, but it seems that disability brings out the best and the worse of human beings.
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