In these about three months of “lockdown”, I preferred to keep silent, at least on Move@bility. I used to tell myself: “What would it make talking about freedom of movement, at a time when everyone is required to stay home, giving up his freedom of movement due to a pandemic?”. These have been complex and tough times, both physically and psychologically speaking, for lots of reasons, for me as for everyone, in different ways and for different reasons. That was exactly the reason why I was afraid that spaces (this website, but also its social extensions) I had designed as places of confrontations, reflection and “positive” mobilization in order to create together a barrier-free world, somehow, could turn into another “sfogatoio”, like so many others, not just online. But now that Italy has officially entered the Phase-2, maybe we can also restart talking about topics that, in these months, have certainly remained under-the-radar.
For instance, who decreeded the lockdown thought about ensuring, sometimes with some issues (mostly at the beginning), the supply of food and medicines to elderly or disabled people who couldn’t go out or had ended up without the support of relatives or friends who didn’t live with them. But what about non-pharmacological therapies? Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other specific treatments that cannot always be used at home or, however, require the active presence of other people (therapists, for instance). For many people, including me, such therapies are really “life-saving“. Yet, the answer we used to get was always the same: we can’t, you have to wait.
The story was (and still is) the same (and, in some ways, with even more huge implications in the medium-long time) for students with severe disabilities who, when education turned into distant learning, have often been, in fact, deprived of a fundamental constitutional right. Not to mention that, for many of them, school wasn’t just an opportunity to learn, but also a place where they could socialize with their peers. Have you heard about it in decrees, TV news, long in-depth analysis about the topic of the moment? Have you read about it on newspaperts or “non-industry” websites? As for myself, almost never.
On the other hand, something that’s been mentioned for the entire lockdown and still is a (far too) “trend topic” is the renowned “social distancing“. Since I’ve been working with words for years, this expression gave me goose bumps (in a negative way) since the very first time I heard it. Ok, in order to minimize the spreading of a particulary aggressive and- under many respects-still unknown virus, it’s advisable to keep a certain physical distance from other people. But the concept of “social distancing” goes well beyond the simple physical distance, linking it to the idea that we have to keep away from other people even emotionally speaking.
For my part, I think this vision can be very risky, for everyone in general, but particularly for those who even before the pandemic and the lockdown used to feel (and, in fact, often was) “socially distant” from others, due to architectonical and cultural barriers. On the contrary, I think that, now more than ever, we need to stay “socially close“, even though (temporary) physically distant. I hope the “new normal” that we’re going to build together won’t forget to pay attention to involve from the very beginning, and as active protagonists, also people with a disability. Of course, it’s also up to us not to be forgotten and get ready and personally involved, throwing in and actively committed, each one according to his own possibilities and capacities.
That’s the only way we can really claim “everything is gonna be fine“. Enjoy your restart!