Saturday, 7 February 2009

Sing Language Users: Another Linguistic Minority Group in Bangladesh

February 1, 2009, on the occasion of inauguration of month-long Book Fair in the month of language, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declares state recognition of Bangla Sign Language. The decision of the government of Bangladesh to promote sign language calls for a change. Lets' try to change our language as well. Sign language users are a linguistic minority community, just like other linguistic minority groups of the world, e.g., in Bangladesh there are many Adibashi communities with their own language. Now, the question is where do you want to focus: IMPAIRMENT or DISCRIMINATION? The story of sufferings and discrimination is similar to all the linguistic minority groups all around the world. It is the domination of majority Bangalees (who fought for their own language!) that caused most of the sufferings in the lives of other linguistic minority groups. Sign language users do fall under those groups, but unfortunately, because of the dominant notion of 'verbal language' itself, the issue remained out of focus. This intolerant hearing world is responsible for most of their sufferings! And even from 'disability movement', we have been promoting a set of clinical language, which we still intend to perpetuate! Let there be the language that promotes human dignity of sign language users, who have been there before the decision... neglected, ignored! Deaf community of the world calls for a change in the social mindset and dominant attitude. Lets' focus on the issues of discrimination and injustice, not on 'impairment' anymore. That is the political positioning of CRPD as well. Let our position be political, not clinical anymore! YES FOR BANGLA SIGN LANGUAGE!

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