Friday, February 29, 2008

The Saga Continues...

Remember the two women with Down's Syndrome who were used as 'suicide', or perhaps more accurately, homicide, bombers earlier this month?

Well, it's now being reported that although the two women had undergone psychiatric treatment for depression or schizophrenia, there is no indication they had Down syndrome as Iraqi and U.S. officials initially had claimed.

So, what are we to make of this? Ashley's mom at Pipecleaner Dreams wonders why ... why 'they' feel it's necessary to distinguish whether the women had Down's Syndrome or were mentally ill.

I tend to half agree with her ... half because while it's really irrelevant to the context of this story it does seem to tie into another issue I had picked up on in that previous post; namely, whether it matters whether we distinguish between individuals who are mentally ill and mentally challenged. Or whether we can lump them all together. In our semantics. And, by extension, in our thinking.

But I also picked up another interesting tidbit in this latest story:
On Tuesday, the Iraqi Interior Ministry ordered police to begin rounding up beggars, homeless and mentally disabled people from the streets of Baghdad and other cities to prevent insurgents from using them as bombers.

The people detained in the Baghdad sweep will be handed over to social welfare institutions and psychiatric hospitals that can provide shelter and care for them, according to the ministry.
Rounding up the homeless and mentally disabled from the streets? Like animals, perhaps? Ah well, at least they will be handled over to "social welfare institutions" that will take good care of them, right?
It is not clear, however, that such people would be safe in psychiatric hospitals. American and Iraqi troops recently detained the acting director of the al-Rashad psychiatric hospital in eastern Baghdad on suspicion of helping supply patient information to al-Qaida in Iraq.
Ah yes, you do recall the tale of the noble hospital administrator , don't you? Fine, upstanding compassion professional that he is. His specialty is supplying vulnerable individuals to al-Qaida, apparently.

And so the saga continues.

All the makings of a movie of the week, don't you think? Explosions, the callous senseless killing of innocent men, women and children ... the dregs of society, I mean those mentally challenged, err, mentally ill, whatever the hell you call them, women .. the incompetent government ... the overbearing military [just because, you now, they are the military] ... the evil hospital administrator ... and for the final scene, the police rounding up the beggars, homeless and mentally challenged ill from the streets to protect the city.

They say war is hell. Far be it from me to disagree. But I suppose it's safe to speculate that may be even more true when you happen to be among the most vulnerable members of society.

H/T to Pipecleaner Dreams

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