7 people, living with an intellectual disability, speak
On the occasion of the M’Arche for the 50 years of the brotherhood of L’Arche, Jean Vanier shared with us :
When I started L’Arche, I realized that people with an intellectual disability were hidden away, locked up, pushed aside and humiliated. They were not recognized as human beings. Today there has perhaps been a little progress. However, there are still many of these men and women who are marginalized and locked away without any means of human growth or any possibility of taking their place in society. Sadly, some are even killed before their birth.
These men and women need above all to be recognized as important because each one has something unique to bring to society. They can all teach us the nature of true fraternity, simplicity, gratuitous relationships, welcome and goodness. They have the ability to transform those who accept to enter into relationship with them.
To enter into relationship with them is what the video « Same but not the same shared» offers us. In it, 7 people living with intellectual disabilities speak frankly, responding to questions that everyone asks themselves about «difference» and «normality», about the challenges of living with a disability, about their desire to live as everyone else does, about their need to feel useful, about their willingness to learn, and finally about the importance of love.
Subtitles in French, English and Spanish are available by clicking the icon «cc» at the bottom right of the video screen.
These personal accounts, full of wisdom and depth, transform our mindset and invite us to discover all human beings. Thanks to David, Gisèle, Emmanuel, Marie-Josée, Paul, Marie-Pierre, and Vincent for your reflections, your sense of humour, your spontaneity and your wisdom! I hope that many will take this opportunity to dialogue with you about «difference» and «normality», through the site Samebutnothesame-Shares.
Patrice Paradis, Director of the L’Arche community Mauricie in Trois-Rivières, introduces us to the spirit of the making of the video:
We should have made this long ago. Caution, the fear of hurting? I ignore them. What should we ask them? Who they are. What they want. Give them the space to affirm their faith in themselves, their joy in living. This is nothing in comparison to the debt which we owe them. The debt of pardon which they offer us each time we jabber about them being different.
From the depth, they have something to give back. It has nothing to do with the level of intelligence. Depth is achieved through hard won experience. That is something that nobody would dare to pretend that they have not experienced.
When we spoke with Gisèle about participating in this film, a sparkle instantly appeared in her eyes. Initially, Gisèle does not seem very lively. Her speech is slow, trembling and her feet drag as she walks. One often has the impression that her attention is trapped in a sort of cloud, which only she can see.
However, Gisèle does not show all that bubbles up inside her. Gisèle is lit up. She is thirsty for life, she wants to meet others and has a great need to express herself. All that is required is the opportunity for her to warm up, someone to part her walls and start to behold all the beauty of this passionate woman.
We had to limit the speakers to 7 people, but hundreds of others await their turns. People with no voice and no fame. Our work is to give them, for a brief moment, a little boost, a sense of notoriety. In this way the Pauls, Marie- Josées, or Emmanuels can say that which nobody else is able to with the same frankness and simplicity. So that the Marie-Pierres, Vincents, or Davids impress us again without even needing to open their mouth.
This is a magnificent gift. It combines the candour of children with experience. This film is there to listen to the beauty of the words sometimes a little mispronounced, the silences, the noises, the laughter…
We wish that for you this encounter may help you to appreciate difference. Also that it may be an opportunity to become more sociable yourself, and to feel as one with all human beings, all fragile and all strong when we are together.