Monday, 3 September 2007

When is a Taliban Not a Taliban ?!

WHEN IT IS .... " the disability taliban ..."

Its Monday, a brain-befuddled drug down day. Not a day to go putting my nose out the door, over the parapet, into other peoples' business, or even to deal with my own affairs.
So, you would think a quiet meander through the emails would be safe. Photos from a friend; 'how are you' from others; some comments via blogger that I haven't so far been able to respond to, and the weekly update on local government matters from (which is where I get all my inside information) with a link to the Disability Rights Commission.
Gasped in astonishment when those words ~ "the disability taliban" ~ hit me in the eye. On the DRC's very own website.
(POSTSCRIPT: I can't give you the link to the relevant page on their web site for you to click on, as it is so long it messes up the template, so go to 3 w's and a dot followed by followed by a forward slash, then: journal_articles/journal_articles_august_2007.aspx)
Now I know that strictly translated the term 'taliban' means 'students of Islam', but the connotations gleaned from media coverage are a different story. And I know that the writer of the article in 'Modern Railways' who used such an inflammatory description (of those people with physical impairments who are impatient at having to wait until 2020 to get their wheelchair on a train), is probably an ignorant sexist racist misogynist disablist (allegedly) nerd, but even so, the DRC should know better.
So, I rang them. To check that what I had seen really did exist on their web site. That I wasn't over-reacting. That it was not the thing to do, really, was it, to put up that quote on their own website. Inflammatory, offensive, discriminatory, disablist.
Yup, it was a surprise to the lady on their helpline. Could I make a formal comment via their website complaints form please, so that they can investigate it.
Oh, all right then, here goes:
The DRC website page 'Journal Articles August 2007'. Under the DRC's heading 'Transport' the DRC web page refers to an article published by 'Modern Railways' august 2007 pp20-24 entitled 'New Train Tsunami Looms' and quotes on line four "... the disability taliban...".

I am offended by the connotation of taliban with the disability movement.
I 'googled' the term 'taliban' and was offered: " ... a fundamentalist militia" from wordnet.princeton, and"... made up of ardent obscurantists" (opposers of reform and enlightenment) from a Guardian newspaper article.
These descriptions largely support my, and I suspect other peoples', understanding of the term 'taliban' from media coverage. I am disabled and I try to counter disablism wherever I find it. I have two questions:
1. Do the DRC react to publications that use offensive language in describing the disability community. If this term had been used in any other media; such as during a televised discussion or news report, would it have been deemed offensive and discriminatory ?
2. Did the DRC not consider that it would be offensive to put that quotation from another source on their own website, thereby repeating and compounding the offence and seeming to leave it unchallenged as an acceptable usage of the term as a description of a particular interest group of people with impairments.

The use of the term 'taliban' as an adjective should be actively challenged by the DRC, not repeated on its own website.
Submit ? Click !

I then drew the covers back over my head and tried to go back to sleep.

I like a picture to lighten the gloom of this page, so to illustrate this I trawled the web for relevant pictures, but all that Google came up with was this:

I mean no offence to Islam, or students of Islam. Just sexist misogynists.



Blogger Ol Nobby said...

Thank you Sally.

Over the last few weeks a really rollicking good tale of adventure intrigue attempted murder and cover ups has been forming in my warped mind.

Actually it has been comming to together for quite a while but lately things have been falling into place nicely, even this morning a politician saying that since he criticised the NZ Government last week they have been making dark murmerings about his Tax dealings.

I complained and seems they attemtped rather keystone cops like to kill me well it makes a good tale!

So what to call such a book I wondered?
and rather than se the dark side, or deep concerns over WHEN IT IS .... " the disability taliban ..."

I find great humour, when such lables are attached to us. considering most of the disabled people I know in bein glabelled such watch out they soon will have LPG cyliders attached to their wheelchairs, only problem will be having the dexterity to get them there and push the button at the right moment!

So why should my story not be called "The Dissability Talleyban"

Which incorpates lots of things, counting, disability, bans and poked fun at the whole darn John Bull attitude.

I must to my blog and start!

Regards Pete

Monday, 3 September 2007 at 22:09:00 BST  
Blogger Sally said...

But take care Pete !

Monday, 3 September 2007 at 22:31:00 BST  
Blogger Casdok said...

Not quite sure what to say to that!!

Sunday, 16 September 2007 at 15:20:00 BST  
Blogger Sally said...

Hi Casdok,welcome to my blog !

I am still waiting for the DRC's comment. Will update then.

Sunday, 16 September 2007 at 17:32:00 BST  

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