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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dangerous People

I just read a great three part column in the NewStatesMan by Victoria Brignell. Brignell writes a regular feature entitled "Crip's Column". I have read Brignell's columns once a while but am not a regular reader. I was very impressed with her three most recent three articles that "gives an account of the three most dangerous--yes dangerous--disabled people of all time". Her first two choices were what one would expect. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda, came in third. Second place went to Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany from 1888 who played a major role in World War I and contributed to the deaths of about 6 to 8 million people. The man that came in first was Thomas Midgley. This selection stumped me. Why was Midgeley chosen #1. He was a chemist that invented leaded gasoline. After this invention he worked on cooling system in fridges. Apparently the first fridges had chemicals that were flammable and lethal if they leaked inside the fridge. Midgely invented chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. In the 1970s it was discovered these CFCs were destroying the crucial ozone layer and are now banned.

While I think Midgely is an unfair choice, the idea of who was the most dangerous disabled person was an interesting idea. Brignell, notes, and I agree, "bad" people are often more interesting than "good" people. Yet, I prefer to think about all those unknown disabled people that have enhanced the quality of my life. I wish these people, i.e. a man such as Edward Roberts, were well-known. Everyone knows FDR was disabled and far too many people remember Christopher Reeve. Both these men were anti-heroes to me. FDR was a complicated ambitious man that hid his disability to further his political career and quest for power. Reeve was so focused (or self absorbed) in his quest for a cure to spinal cord injury he distanced himself from other disabled people and in so doing set back disability rights by more than decade. In short, I want to know more about all those faceless and unknown men and women that advanced disability rights that do not appear in history books. I want to know what they thought and wonder how hard their lives may have been. Part of my wonderment stems from Obama's inaugural speech in which he mentioned segregation was common sixty years ago. This has in turn led me to wonder what will the life of disabled people be like in sixty years? Will access be common? Will stigma still be attached to physical and cognitive disabilities?


FridaWrites said...

Goebbels reminds me of Hitler's own self-hatred, but I still can't fathom his part in the T4 program (well, anyone's really, but given his disability). Didn't he worry someone would catch on to his own disability and use it against him?

Something that hasn't crossed my mind before is what the regime planned to do with its own injured soldiers after the war.

I read more about the T4 program last week--it made me weep.

hpainting said... does a very good job of highlighting unsung individuals with disabilities and their histories and contributions.

william Peace said...

Frida, The Halocaust truly freaks me out. I went to the Halocaust museum in Washington DC but had to leave after ten minutes because I was so upset. I had bad dreams for weeks afterwards. I cannot begin to fathom how humans could do this. I doubt many people know about the T4 program. Like you, reading about this dark period in history makes me cry. I have no idea what the German's planned to do with disabled soldiers. This is a darn good question.

Hpainting, You are correct the Temple Disability Studies blog does a great job highlighting unsung people with disabilities. One of these days I am going to make a list of the 100 most important disabled people.

Ironsides said...

Sally Rogow is a researcher at UBC in Vancouver, and she published the above account on the Holocaust, including Operation T4!

william Peace said...

Ironsides, Thanks for the reference to Sally M. Rogow's article. The article reinforces the fact that WWII was a total war in every sense of the term. All of Germany and the United States for that matter was dedicated to the war effort.

FridaWrites said...

Thanks for the article, Ironsides--I will be reading it shortly.

Alison Hymes said...

is the URL to a tour taken by disability activists of the sites where T-4 occured in Germany with commentary on their experiences.

Ironsides said...

Alison, the url is to the research paper.

Alison Hymes said...

Thank you for catching that Ironsides, here is the direct URL to the tour--scroll down to the bottom of the page to continue the tour--it's in green if you aren't using a screen reader.

KataHrafnsdottir said...

I am crying now, because, I didn't even know about the T4 program until today. I knew a bit, that Hitler killed disabled people, mixed race people etc, but I was unaware there was a special initiative JUST for us. This frightens me, because, it is being forgotten and it is not taught. I did not know Goebbels was disabled or Kaiser Wilhelm either. I feel sick.

Why wasn't this taught in school? I know Hitler was a house painter but, that was really all my school system taught about the atrocities. Hitler painted houses and killed the Jews.

Also, why is inventing leaded gas evil? Is this something else my educational system failed to instill in me? Fear of gasoline?

Ironsides said...

The Scribes and Pharisees are the offial sources of the Ministry of Education (which includes the world's mainstream media) today, as they were in Jesus' day.

The irreligious Jews (Zionist terrorists) and the orthodox religious Jews are two different classes of Jewish people.

The secular Zionists and bankers control and finance everything, including both sides of every war.

They only will tolerate history which says, Hitler was a dictator and tyrant who wanted to exterminate every last Jew in the world.

The story used to be that approximately 600,000 Jews were exterminated, and finally the story went up to 2 million and even 6 million Jews.

One claimed-to-be Holocaust survivor contacted a BBS system operator one time in 1995, to cut me off the Internet, because I dared emphasize in an IRC channel that Disabled People were the first ones targeted by Hitler for two years before the Jews and anybody else.

Exactly why is it that public schools don't teach history in the right chronology? My only conclusion is, the great gods of knowldege do it for their globalist benefit.

In two hundred years the Scribes and Pharisees, and the money-changers have built industries, world infra-structures which are now developing the third-world, global trade and political organizations, and military forces.

The Zionist globalists want the whole world to revolve around Israel, and sympathy for the Devil helped their cause in a big way.

They don't want too many people to understand that even Adolf Hitler was a Jew! He also suffered from Epilepsy, and was a homosexual.

Why he later included homosexuals in the list of disposables, is because he was attracted only to macho men who could fight and win wars.--He hated femanine men!

My whole spin on euthanasia since Holland legalized in in 2002, is that it's just a revival of the Holocaust. As long as the Holocaust doesn't rock-the-boat for Israel--big deal!

KataHrafnsdottir said...


I just learned something else. I never knew Hitler was a homosexual and that he was afraid of his own disability.

Not only do I agree that the culture of "Self assisted Suicide" is murder/genocide/Wrongwrongwrong but, I am confounded by the way the culture shapes disabled people and shames us.

Thank you for answering my question. I understand that with this knowledge, that some of the greatest villains in history were disabled, puts the disabled community at risk for villainization such as occured as soon as Dick Cheney needed a wheelchair but I do not like the notion that they might be refraining from actually teaching history properly in school to protect the disabled. That is where my mind went as soon as I read your words.

How can we fight this? How can we try and wrest control back? The skewed view of the holocaust hurts the Jewish community just as much as it does the gays, disabled, and anyone else that was targeted.