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I'm in the UK, why should Gallaudet affect me?

Several questions have been raised about the Gallaudet protests and why it should have any implication on you sitting in the UK. If we were go down that strand of thought, then the Middle East Crisis does not affect the world. We can safely ignore the human rights crisis in North Korea. We all know what happens in the Middle East, does have an impact on all of us and our future.

Within the UK we do not exist within a bubble, this is more evident being in a Deaf community, a community that transcends all borders. If international events took no importance, why do people, and perhaps you, attend international events such as WFD, Deafway, even Deaflympics?

One of the central arguments around this protest is around the lack of listening TO DEAF PEOPLE, and showing evidence of this by action speaks louder than words. This frequently happens in the UK too, as Deaf people, decisions are made without us and there is a distinct lack of consultation. To quote the words of the 1988 DPN Leaders in their current Manifesto, "[For] Thousands of years, we have been objectified, oppressed, discriminated against, trivialized, patronized, and dismissed."

Something we have all experienced, and it hits harder when it is closer to home, "The last place we expected prudential and stereotypical attitudes towards the Deaf community to prevent equity and justice would be at our own Gallaudet University."

Substitute the words Gallaudet University with a UK deaf organisation, and you will start to get what this protest is about at this stage.

Just to focus a bit on recent UK Deaf history, there has been a lack of interest in campaigning and many key activists cite the reason for this as down to lack of communication, cooperation and actually listening to us. Subsequently, we are faced with widespread apathy. The same key issues around communication, and listening bottom up exists within the UK.

To reverse this trend there needs to be fightback, and a reclaiming of the right to be listened to, which subsequently gives people the energy to actually fight the next battle.

Since the 1988 Deaf President Now protest, we have used this fight to give us confidence *here in the UK* to get on with campaigning for our own local issues. Again when the 2006 protest is over, we will look back as a defining point in our history (how many of you will actually quote it, as you did for the 1988 protest?), and as a turning point as far as change goes. To actually use this protest as a springboard, by showing support, can give us strength to go on to campaign about other things.

If you have ever quoted, or referred to the Deaf President Now protest in the past, in the context of campaigning, then events at Gallaudet affects YOU. You have already shown international events do affect you! The question is, if you are actually prepared to acknowledge this, and show your support?

Comments (9)

Terrific reading. The Deaf community is internationalist in its nature and we all need to support each other. It is very inspiring to know our Tommies cousins are supporting us.

Cheers from your Yank cousin

Heartfelt thanks from one of us Deaf Americans - we sure appreciate your support!

OK I can support the Deaf people internationally - that's not an issue.

The issue for me is that I've been searching high and low on WHY they are protesting? Is it simply because they don't like the woman? Is it because she's hearing? (no idea there) Is it because she isn't black? Is it because she is a woman? Is it...you get the idea.

That's my ONLY issue - WHY are they protesting? I've looked and I've not been successful in finding out WHY?

Suppose I saw a protest in London about human rights crisis in North Korea - I know WHY they are protesting and so I can join in.

Gallaudet protest - I don't know why so I can't support it until I find out why. However I do very much hope that these protestents get what they want and that the Deaf voice is heard. I think that's only reasonable no?

I think grumpy with due respect you erad to omany American blogs on this issue, comparing the illegal protest at Gallaudet to North Korea is stretching it a bit even for you ! Youneed to seperate the dedication you have for deaf rights from the real facts of Gallaudet, we can all support a valid campaign, this one isn't, anymore than me starting acampaign tpo ban sign users holding exec positions in our Universities. It is immoral and illegal abusage of deaf rights,calm down and read the real writing on the wall Deaf voices should be heard, but we should also LISTEN to what is being said too ! Didn't take these 'rights' [protestors a day, to turn on, and stab in the back the very first deaf president THEY elected, this is deaf student power ? this is not what our rights are about, or American ones either.

OUR deaf schools number 31, only ONE has a deaf head, shouldn't you be campaigning HERE ? ALL of them have hearing staff too ! Give this mad idea up of supporting yanks. They've made a mess of most places they have gone too, now you want them to mess up the deaf world too ?

MM can your ead? Can you analyse what you read? Can you digest information and form an opinion? Can you really?

Prove it!

I have been doing some more reading on the Gally Protests, and makes for some interesting reading.

There is an awful lot of information to disgest, and it is understandable why people would think, "Yeh, but what is it about?"

However, reading and re-reading, clarifies what the whole protest is about.

It revealed one morsel of information that seems lost in the reportage. Apparently, RACE played apart in the selection process.

Not a good look at all.

And MM, go and read the plethora of stuff that is out there before you spout off some more ill-informed and ill-formed opinions, and trivialise everything in the process.

Watch for more links in my blog www.radio666fm.com in the next day or so.

Cheers Grumpy!

This time it's personal, so what's new :) Presumably we read until we agree with this protest, not going to happen and this is wasted time, when let's face it, BSL activism here is dead, so dead it has to go to America to look for a lost cause when there are so many here. The ASL students STARTED this protest because they said Fernadez wasn't deaf enough THAT is recorded in every media coverage at day one, When the protestors saw how the media baulked at the obvious injustice of this, the protestors swirtched it to "Not qualfied enough". Of course Uni students are eminently qualified to know ! They've lost this protest get real. Blogs by activists cannot be taken, as valid, they are obvioiusly biased, after allthey are PROMOTING 5the campaign, they aren't going to say "Loook we're in charge, this is letting you know...", are they ? Sour grapes from deafies here ? because they haven't a cat in hell's chance of ever finding 10 deaf people to do the same. Didn't our own JGJones state that ?


"Deaf students at one of the world's only universities for the deaf Wednesday were nearing the end of a second week of blockades and hunger strikes aimed at forcing a new president to step down. The ballooning dispute focusses on whether a deaf woman who only learned sign language as an adult and can speak with her voice - the newly named president of Gallaudet University, Jane Fernandes - adequately represents their community. "

NOT a not deaf enough protest ? yeah right !!

Its obvious that MM is not well informed on the Gallaudet protest nor analytical enough to form an objective opinion. There are two sides of the coin here, the Gallaudet Administration and Coalition on the other. The Administration has an army of resources at its disposal which include the PR people and hired media consultants to present 'respectable' image and distort the message of the other party. Believe me, its happening and its a classic case of manipulation or so-called 'embedded reporting'. Sounds familiar? So, by believing what you read in the Washington Post and others papers is what exactly the Administration wants people to believe and sow confusion and disunity and thus water down the potential and core of the protest. Obviously MM is not aware of this?

Indeed, I would equally venture to say that there is certain degree of correlation with the issues in North Korea and Middle East...they all reflect the survival and co-habitation of the human species in the face of challenges, disagreements and crises. Isn't what is happening in Gallaudet a crisis within the Deaf community? Isn't what is happening in Gallaudet an engineered 'embedded regime'appointment? Yeah MM and others, if you don't support others in your hour of need, you won't be supported when your call comes....Whether in USA or UK or wherever, we should be concerned with the human rights and free enquiry of Deaf people and communities.

Perhaps Deaf leaders and communities right here in the UK would be emboldened to rise to the ocassion and rightfully ask, when is our call?

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