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Letter to the Italian Embassy in Dublin by Dr. John Bosco Conama

Here is a letter from Dr. John Bosco Conama, sent to the Italian Embassy in Dublin. Both in ISL:

And in English:

May 23, 2011.

L'Ambasciatore Valerio Augusto Astraldi,
Italian Ambassador to Ireland.
Italian Embassy in Dublin
63/65 Northumberland Road
Dublin 4

Re: Italian parliament’s proposal to rename LIS (Lingua dei Segni italiana Italian Sign Language) as LMG (language of mime and gesture).

Dear Ambassador,

I refer to the recent proposal by your national parliament to rename the LIS (Lingua del Segni italiana – Italian Sign Language) as the language of gesture and mime. It was reported on several online sites and a petition opposing to this proposal was set up for this effect.

While the proposal is the business of Italian society, its effects if carried out by your parliament can have wider effects on nations outside Italy. Hence I pen this letter to express my strong concern at this proposal and share concerns with the Italian Deaf community. The proposal is clearly a serious counter to years of research, which confirm that signed languages such as LIS are the genuine languages as spoken languages. The proposal can have unimagined negative effects on the well being of current and future generations of the Italian Deaf community.

The status of the community is frequently determined by the societal and political attitude towards their language. Degrading LIS would bring negative effects on the Italian Deaf community. Should a proposal be adopted, it would be seen as a negative reaction to the successful conclusion of UN’s convention on rights for disabled people which contains clauses recognising the rights of Deaf people to use their signed languages.

Your country holds an unenviable position where the infamous congress on Deaf education was held in Milan in 1880 and resolutions were passed at this congress calling for the regression of signed languages. These effects of these resolutions are still felt worldwide and this congress is a constant theme in Deaf and cultural studies worldwide. Surely, your country does not want to add on another notoriety to this unenviable position.

Personally, I have a strong affinity with the Italian things such as your culture, food, history and environment; I have visited your country few times and have a number of professional and personal contacts in Italy. I would be sorely disappointed if the proposal is carried by your parliament.

I beseech you to contact the appropriate authorities in Italy to highlight my concern and have the proposal reconsidered on account of research and possible negative effects on the Italian Deaf community. Please acknowledge the receipt of this letter and inform me of any positive development concerning the proposal.

Dr. John Bosco Conama

Cc: President of the Ente Nazionale per la protezione e l'assistenza dei Sordi –
Onlus (Italian National Association of the Deaf),
Via Gregorio VII n.120, 00165 Rome, Italy.

This might inspire you to write a letter to the Italian Embassy in your country. If you're in the UK, the e mail address is: ambasciata.londra (at) esteri.it

However, you need to hurry, this goes before the Italian parliament tomorrow (Tuesday 24 May 2011). Internationals outside Italy help by signing this petition and encouraging your contacts to do the same.

See also:
Italy might as well say: Deaf People use Monkey Language!
International Petition to Support Italy & UK Protest

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