My thoughts on social and scientific issues
Monday, August 23, 2004
  someone wrote a beatiful poem about me
Gregors Poem
If you can see him
he is
all trunk.
2 legs missing
all fingers
no thumbs,
He is not
wrists protruding from
elbowless arms -
a wheelchair of black leather
and dirty chrome.
No, if you can see him
he is
a bit unkempt.
And he is
a prophet.
And he is an
in an un-Jesuslike way) -
less black than Martin,
less handsome than Che,
less humble than Mahatma,
less eloquent than Marcos
but nonetheless
standing tall
(on those two feet he doesn’t have)
he is calling until his voice is hoarse.
He calls them
“My People”,
this silent holocaust.
My People: the various in body, diverse in mind -
all the uncommon forms of humankind
“My People “ he says
“are shut away in institutions: hospitals , psychiatric wards."
“My People are shut out of institutions, ,science, the media, law."
“My People” he says
“ are the poorest, the worst educated, the most oppressed”
and they are being killed daily – by pre natal screening , drugs and
And if you could see him
If you weren’t wondering where to look, anxious that he could be
“fixed “
If you were’t fidgeting embarrassed , wishing he didn’t exist.
If you could see him,
overflowing with pain,
you would see brown eyes widen, wetten , wince
and close again.
“My People” he says
“are defined daily by their defects,
by the condescension of strangers
and the exclusion of steps,
of doorways, of buses, of the internet.
My People are boxed
into a medical model
of Disease and Cure,
deformity, mutation
and “poor little johnny “
and bleeding hearts"
he starts to form a fist.
My People are being redefined as unwanted genes
on kinky chromosomes, fair game to be
edited out before birth.
I am an excuse for abortion.
I am the argument for euthanasia.
I am a societal burden , a monster
or worse.."
He halts, draw breath.
"Every day," he explains, "I am dealing with my own death
and that of My People:
continuosly redefined as not people,
dismembered from society
united by their diversity."
And if you could see him
Teasing , parenting or swinging himself through a window on his
strong arm,
Up all night in the bar,dissecting ethics, full of beery charm
If you can see him…
Ralph Ellison taught us that the black man is invisible in a society
that doesn’t want him there.
Well, he’s not half as invisible as a man in a wheelchair.
“My people are the ultimate physical bulwark
against conformity
And a creeping norm
that requires first two legs, then perfect skin,
A compliant mind, sculpted breasts, square chin
My people give humanity back its biodiversity
And you laugh at that notion
because you cannot see
The subtlety of the blind,
the strength of the dismembered
The cultures of the deaf ,
The fine elegance and beauty in the forms
Of My People, we
Who are after all just people
If only you weren’t so dis-able
To see.
Jim Thomas

Location: Calgary

I am a social Entrepreneur a social-Preneur. I am a thalidomider and a wheelchair user. I am a biochemist and a bioethicist. I am a scientist and an activist. I work on issues related to bioethics, health research, disabled and other marginalized people's and human rights, governance of science and technology and evaluation of new and emerging technologies. I am the founder of the International Centre for Bioethics, Culture and Disability and of the International Network on Bioethics and Disability. I believe that a wide open public debate on how the above issues affect society and marginalized groups is the only way to develop safeguards against abuse. I believe that so far marginalized groups are rarely heard in this debate. Therefore I try to increase the visibility of marginalized groups on governmental, academic, civil society, national and international level. I hope that the tools I offer (webpage, listserves, briefing papers, workshops, lectures and online courses) help people from marginalized groups to increase their knowledge and I hope my tools help others to obtain a more differentiated picture of people from marginalized groups and how the issues affect them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004 / Thursday, August 19, 2004 / Friday, August 20, 2004 / Saturday, August 21, 2004 / Sunday, August 22, 2004 / Monday, August 23, 2004 / Tuesday, August 24, 2004 / Thursday, September 02, 2004 / Saturday, September 04, 2004 / Wednesday, October 13, 2004 / Saturday, October 23, 2004 / Sunday, October 24, 2004 / Monday, October 25, 2004 / Tuesday, October 26, 2004 / Wednesday, October 27, 2004 / Sunday, October 31, 2004 / Monday, November 01, 2004 / Tuesday, November 02, 2004 / Saturday, November 06, 2004 / Sunday, November 07, 2004 / Monday, November 08, 2004 / Tuesday, November 09, 2004 / Wednesday, November 10, 2004 / Thursday, November 11, 2004 / Sunday, November 14, 2004 / Monday, November 22, 2004 / Tuesday, November 23, 2004 / Sunday, November 28, 2004 / Monday, November 29, 2004 / Tuesday, November 30, 2004 / Thursday, December 02, 2004 / Sunday, December 05, 2004 / Wednesday, December 08, 2004 / Friday, December 17, 2004 / Friday, January 07, 2005 / Sunday, February 13, 2005 / Monday, February 14, 2005 / Tuesday, February 15, 2005 / Wednesday, March 30, 2005 / Saturday, August 13, 2005 / Tuesday, August 16, 2005 /

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