I knew in the beginning that our battle with Autism in France would be tough. Never had I imagined that some of the most prominent politicians would shock me with such flippant, and degrading comments regarding this handicap that affects millions of families the world over.
My title and opening paragraph refers to recent remarks made by Christine Lagarde. For a petite background allow me to elucidate. She is the current Minister of Economic Affairs, Industry and Employment of France and, in 2008 was ranked the 14th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine. Quite the C.V. don't you think? So what does she blurt during an interview on the radio whilst talking about a French businessman? She said "Mr Proglio is intelligent, he is not an Autist"
Having that power and influence does not excuse her from making remarks in a derogatory fashion towards any person with a handicap. I will slate anyone who attempts to do so because, politician or not, people like her will never know the struggle of everyday life with an Autistic child.
So Alicia starts getting the Autistic support community involved and gets the pot stirred up real good on Face book etc. and Madame Lagarde gets bombarded with e-mails ripping her a new one. Job done, case closed???? Not quite.
French Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche was the next one, just a week later, to stroll down the catwalk of ignorance. Reading an article in the Guardian on-line (click here for link) he was having a swing at the Tories saying they were "castrating" Britain's position within the EU by adopting an "autistic" approach that would take Britain off the radar. The political argument is not in question here. The language used is exactly the argument. This is also a snippet from the Guardian article "Giving vent to frustration across the EU, which has so far only been expressed in private, Lellouche – who said he was reflecting Nicolas Sarkozy's "sadness and regret" – accused William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, of a "bizarre autism" in their discussions. Later in the day he backtracked in comments to the BBC, saying by "pathetic" he had meant "sad," that he didn't realise autistic could be offensive in English, and that he thought his comments had been off the record. NOT OFFENSIVE! It's disgusting no matter what tongue it is uttered in. Here for full article from ebusiness.
Now Mr Sarkozy I have a demand, an televised apology from both of them and action taken. How can we teach our son Autism is not to be treated as an insult? What are other parents going to tell their kids? its OK to insult a human being like this. This disgusting episode needs sorting because when my daughter gets bullied, or my son gets in a playground fight defending his sister, its our family that will have to worry and soldier on. We have enough to deal with as it is regarding the financial burdens and psychological battles we fight everyday. So get your act together and learn how to run your country. Because in my opinion you wouldn't run a bath.
I am currently flat out training for the 10k "Cross de la Sabliere" next Sunday. I'll blog more on that during the week (when my blood has cooled)
See you round the bend.