Absence of sign language in election campaigns befuddles the disabled
KUWAIT: As parliamentary candidates across the nation scramble to woo voters just a week away from elections on November 26, there is a segment of society these hopefuls might have forgotten about, the deaf-mute.
Though highly overlooked, it would only bode well for a candidate to have this segment of the population on his or her side. With lofty promises and catchy slogans being an inextricable part of many of this year’s election campaigns, the absence of sign language is easily palpable as candidates step up election rhetoric as we near Election Day.
Moreover, the deaf-mute are left to question whether the parliamentary candidates have failed to take them into consideration, which risks alienating a segment that could prove decisive in determining the outcome of this election, in the event of a close race in any of the electoral constituencies.
In an attempt to find out if the absence of sign language has caused this segment of the population to stand aloof as it relates to the upcoming elections, KUNA interviewed Jaber Al-Kanderi, a member of this community and an official at the Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Confederation (APDSC). “Most, if not all of the candidates have failed to include sign language as part of their election campaigns,” Kandari said, jotting down his words on a piece of paper.
Meanwhile, when asked which one of the candidates he can most relate to, Kanderi, who is mute, is visibly “indifferent.” “This election to me is no different than any of the past ones,” he quipped. “I haven’t been to any of these election seminars because I would not have a clue what the candidate is trying to convey to the voters.”
An avid gym-goer, Kanderi spoke of how helpful social media has been to familiarize the deaf-mute community with all of the latest election happenings and the different ideologies of the candidates contesting the elections. “The meteoric growth of social media has certainly paid ultimate dividends for us,” he said.
Furthermore, the APDSC official described himself as a fervent social media user, noting that most candidates promulgate their thoughts and goals on their Twitter accounts. “I have come across many Twitter accounts belonging to some of the prominent names in this year’s election,” he said, adding that with the growth of social media, candidates can communicate with the electorate online.
“Turning out for these seminars is not necessary nowadays,” Kanderi said, noting that the process of getting acquainted with all of the candidates and their campaigns is only a click away. With results expected in a week’s time, Kanderi noted that social media is sure to be teeming with the announcement of the winners. “I will stay connected,” he said. —KUNA
Jaber Al-Kanderi, an official at the Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Confederation (APDSC)