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Letter addressed to all candidates during the 2022 presidential campaign in France.
February 8, 2022

Disability 2022, free the French miraculous 

The disabled person, that afflicted person who cannot live «with us», allows the useful fiction of a world populated by «normal». Between great sportsmen and artists, a population is asked to ask for the right to circulate, to work, to exist. The disability policy observatory calls for an urgent normative metamorphosis of French institutions supported by a public policy for all. Here is the letter to the candidates for the 2022 French presidential election. 

Dear candidate, dear candidate, dear French political parties, 

We live, sometimes work, and consume as we can in different circumstances, in different places. We attend school or other «schools» in parallel with the common law.

It is not good for democracy and it is not an acceptable way of life, even if some can afford it. Democracy is not a concept of perfect equality, but it fundamentally requires that we as citizens share a common life. What counts in a society that no longer separates and can enrich the principle of citizenship is that people of different social levels, with different habits, with bodies or brains that work differently can cross each other, at school first. And what is commonly referred to as disability is one of these differences, and it is the ordinary course of our lives that allows such a crossing, because it is what allows us to learn from these differences and respect for their existence.


In France, legislative, legal and organizational measures stem from a medico-social vision and not from a model that respects fundamental rights. The latter is however largely integrated into the regulations of other countries, European by the way, while it is prevented in our country. At the international level, the UN has been calling since 2017 for France to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families, and to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, which aims to facilitate access for the blind, visually impaired and people with other reading disabilities. France is also asked to withdraw its interpretative declaration of Articles 15 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which calls into question the concept of consent, endorsing medical treatment of disabilities. He is accused of fetal genetic screening for Down syndrome and autism. Discrimination and violence in French practices have been identified as harming people with disabilities.

At the national level, the renewed refusal to deconjugualize the adult disability allowance in 2021 is an affront, but make no mistake, its stagnant amount below the poverty line is the real scandal. Moreover, disability and unemployment should be in the same place in Petit Robert, as they are synonymous. Twice as much unemployment for those who are able to work and event operations in companies, on the part of a state considered paternalistic by the UN, when it comes to respecting the right to work of individuals.

The same goes for the mass processing of children and adult files by departmental houses, criticized by the Court of Auditors in 2019, and whose powers of social life or death depend on local policies that make families falter in poverty or allow them to survive. The DREES in 2020 reported in this regard, that faced with the inertia of disability policies, families sacrifice the career of a parent, the mother most of the time, and that no compensation was provided for this purpose, plunging families into persistent economic fragility.  That being said, it may not be much in terms of accessibility that lags on public transport, and finally refused during the last five years, with the Elan law that lowers the quotas from 100% to 10% housing that meets all disability standards, and then the last deterioration of the conditioned reimbursement of a wheelchair, in 2021. 

Nothing exists in legislation to provide access to private transport, nothing from French companies, «French tech», the automotive sector in particular, and other sectors that could improve the daily lives of millions of people by offering a range of adapted vehicles for example. 
Millions of people with disabilities, not to mention their supporting families, also have disabilities. A consensus gives the figure of 12 million, but since 2008 INSEE has not set aside any budget for a specific demographic study. My request for a meeting with his manager in 2021 remained unanswered. Public policy that is not based on any demographic study is a terrible gap. 


But this is without counting on the case of the French school, desperately particular as it excludes, stigmatizes, since since its existence separates the «ordinary» from the «specialized», thus ignoring in fact the human natural differences and the need to see them, to associate with them and therefore to understand them. A French school that welcomes children with the help of precarious workers, in a childcare mechanic, under the pretext of a lack of resources where it is the teaching profession that is to be redefined. A school that brings future adults on the parallel path: the medical-educational institute, then the adapted company to the death. A school that kills potential, rejects the abnormal, creates ULIS and ghettos of the disabled. A school unworthy of human rights.

“Inclusion”. We are far from the excellence we claim to have. Worse, we waste it by dogmatism and we remain in denial. Sometimes you just have to cross the border and look elsewhere to easily find a better life.  Moreover, the French sometimes go into exile, a flight slowed down by the current government, without any alternative being even thought of. When the Italians allowed a pair in classes to welcome all the children of the country to school, when Sweden has abolished the IME institutes since 1950, when they help the disabled to become entrepreneurs by financing them, and when everywhere in Europe and in the world, accessibility is obvious, in France, we create an advertising spot to «change eyes». 




I repeat, dear candidates, we become handicapped by an environment that denies us. And rather than insulting French society with empathy and «look», which in reality feed the mythology of impossibility and impediment attached to the notion of disability, France has the means more than any other nation to become an example and initiate a transition that can inspire the world. It is a normative metamorphosis of this environment that we must think, full and effective, which passes through the application of existing laws first. Disability, that stone that blocks standardization, that hinders the norm as a social standard, leads to denial or acceptance, reflecting what it means to live together in a society. 


Recognition of a social group belonging to the nation or dehumanization and sheltering: here comes the test of reality. 

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