Monday, July 02, 2012

Uppity Downs

At the National Disabled Teachers' Conference, Richard Rieser gave a
presentation on the views about disabled people typified by the
eugenicist movement supported by Darwin, Galton, Churchill and of
course ultimately by Hitler and the Third Reich.

He ended with a poem by Micheline Mason called Uppity Downs which puts
an alternative view.

I am glad to be able to report
To Messrs Darwin, Galton, Churchhill and Down
Hitler and the Third Reich
That your mission was a failure

Though you tried so hard to persuade us
With your learned accomplices
To believe in you nightmare
Requiring the extermination of the flawed,
The flawed have nonetheless flowered

Protected from your twisted plan
By unstoppable love,
Now released from the ghettos
People with Down Syndrome
And other endangered treasures
Are rising up all over the world
Getting uppity and visible

Artists and poets,
Actors and dancers
Some quiet and thoughtful,
Some noisy and fun,
A teacher, every one

You could say in fact
That your horrible experiment
Has not simply failed
But gloriously backfired!

Parents all fired up
With fierce and defensive love
For their targeted children
Have joined arms with the Flawed
And other progressive forces
To insist on inclusion for all
Replacing your elitist ideals
Of empire and Might –

Britain forever Ruling the Waves-
With a different dream
Taking hold in many places
Of a slower, more gentle world
In which being born human is enough
To evoke awe, wonder and respect
From each to all

The end of competition
The start of collaboration
A bottom-up revolution
Heralding a new world
In which it is safe for all of us
To be our selves


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