“Embracing Uniqueness: How Diversity Enriches Our Humanity”

September 8, 2023
Dr. Esraa El Bably

I still remember my excitement when I first saw a world globe, you know, the one you find in libraries and book stores. You touch it and it spins, displaying the different continents, oceans and seas; each has a different shape. Their colors vary between blue, yellow, green. The oceans are distinguished by deep blue, seas by its lighter shades, and rivers by even more lighter shades. The yellow marks the deserts, green the forests, and white the snowy regions.

For a moment, you wonder about this breathtaking artwork. If God desired uniformity in the universe, everything would have been created in the same color and shape, but differences were intended, to help us recognize what sets things apart and to appreciate the beauty around us.

God didn’t create us identical; each of us is unique in color and features, a masterpiece in their own way, even our fingerprints differ. Regrettably, we’ve lost this beauty when we started categorizing people.

Those who lost their hearing were labeled deaf, those who lost a limb were labeled disabled, and those who lose their sight were labeled blind. We confine them to limited spaces, believing in their incapacity instead of recognizing their humanity. We’ve denied them the right to live a normal life from the very start.

Let me tell you, I’ve seen dreams come true. I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in the International Leadership Program in the United States. Over there, I discovered that having a disability doesn’t prevent you from enjoying your full rights. Everything is accessible, All the sidewalks are marked with large Braille dots for the visually impaired. All traffic lights are equipped with audible signals to help them cross the streets independently.

Yes, they walk alone without needing a guide.

As for myself, I was sitting there at the first day of our meetings, terrified , thinking that I would not be able to lip-read in such a large group, but it was heart warming to find that I was provided with a voice to text transcription and translation device that alleviated my fear, allowing me to interact smoothly without any fear or anxiety. I found myself engaged in all the discussions and conversations, expressing my opinions comfortably, as if the barrier had disappeared. And I, like everyone else, was able to enjoy the full participation and the right to hear and be heard.

I still remember my beautiful friend, Manal Al-Barqawi, recording with her camera how life is possible without intermediaries. How you can grant yourself, by yourself, a fulfilling life and choices.

Some might find me exaggerating when I say “humanity has won”. Indeed, it triumphed by granting me the full right to coexist. It was the dream of full accessibility! The most important lesson was learning how we can live under one roof with equal rights, duties, and obligations. The word “human” stems from “humanity.” Even those with all their senses intact have specific needs that, when met, enhance their productivity and contribution. They feel secure and complete when they find what they’re looking for, and in return they become more giving.

As for us, we’ve been alone in a battle of acceptance. Starting from school to university, to society, to those around us, to dealing with all aspects of life, we’ve been classified according to varying degrees of incapacity, different disabilities, different labels. I’m not sure why we have been classified in such a way.

In the end, I find myself fighting different battles in every aspect of life. Battles to tell everyone that I have rights, to prove my ability to coexist, to let everyone know that I’m human without classification—just human. It is easier said than done, unfortunately, it is incredibly challenging!

All I hope for is that we become alike… alike in our differences.

In the end, our differences enhances our uniqueness. Our differences complete us!

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