National Association of Parents of Autistic People
Eluana died one year ago. At the same time, the furore created by people who had turned her suffering into a media circus in the name of two interpretations of freedom and human life, also died down.
On the one hand, there were those who argued that each human being should be free to dispose of her/his life, rejecting any form of persistent, ‘heroic’ therapeutic intervention and reclaiming the right to bring to an end a life which is no longer dignified.
On the other hand, there were those who denied that right, in the name of a sacredness of life, even when it can no longer be called human.
The contrast, then, was between freedom and imposition.
Some people offered to look after Eluana, thus forcing her to accept a kind of life which she herself, having witnessed it in a friend of hers, had expressly asked not to be subjected to, should fate have placed her in the same situation.
One year down the track, a young man would like to sell one of his kidneys. He needs money for the treatment of his father’s motor-neurone disease, as his father wants to live. And where are all those who, only last year, extolled human life and its sacredness? Where are the good nuns who had offered to look after Eluana to force her to live? Now we have a man who wants to live, and no-one is helping him. The Italian Parliament is not rushing to his assistance, nor to the assistance of all the disabled people who, in spite of everything, would like to live. No furore for him, for them or their families: only a life lived among a thousand problems, day in day out, with the feeling of being a dead weight on a society which only concerns itself with their plight when there are noble words to be uttered.
Some motor-neurone sufferers are on a hunger strike, in order to draw the attention of a public opinion which always has something else to think about. No letters from the Prime Minister to them, nor from anyone else; not even an increase in the pitiful pension awarded to them and their carers, who must be available on a full-time basis to look after them. Well, what do we expect! In this country, we come to blows over an embryo, yet avert our eyes from so many human beings who live and suffer in circumstances that should embarrass anyone who considers themselves members of a civilized community.
Feb 13, 2010