Ab­sence of sign lan­guage in elec­tion cam­paigns be­fud­dles the dis­abled

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

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)

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