Last Saturday, in Orvieto, at the Council Hall, I presented the eighth stage of my world swim tour.
For this opportunity, I would like to thank Mayor Antonio Concina, Vice Mayor Roberta Tardani, my dear friend Felice Zazzaretta, and the President of the UISP Orvieto Fabrizia Mencarelli, who welcomed me with great affection, in a wonderful town that is now also becoming my town for the solidarity and support that I have found there.
I also want to thank my colleague and friend Michael Lenton, prof. Adelio Salsano and the Australian Deputy Ambassador Douglas Tappert, for joining in the project that is so dear to me: “Swimming in the Seas of the Globe”, for a world without barriers and borders.
The life of the disabled, our life, unlike what you are often led to believe, is neither meaningless nor without purpose. The difficulties we encounter in facing our daily issues are often enlarged by cultural misunderstanding, which influences the relations between disabled and able-bodied, creating gaps that prevent integration. Young people with disabilities, in particular, in addition to the practical problems arising from their specific problems, also find themselves dealing with a huge psychological entanglement that is typical of adolescence. This condition is amplified by the inability to manage diversity, which is seen as an unfair and painful impediment against living a full and joyful life.
In Italy, today, in order to fight mistrust and marginalization, it is essential for everyone to provide their skills and expertise, and to commit to drive the political forces towards a different approach and response to the decline of human relationships. We all need to to understand that disability can not completely vanish but it can become, in some cases, much more manageable, with the enormous progress made by scientific research and technological development.
The field of prosthetics is making great strides – just think of bioprosthesis that, replacing the traditional and invasive metal implants, open new perspectives in surgery – and every month there is some fantastic accomplishment to be announced. The latest innovation in the field of neuroprosthetics comes from the United States, by the team of researchers from the Center for Neuroengineering at Duke University, who announced that they have developed the first brain-machine interface that can restore mobility in paralyzed patients.
I fight in order for the technological breakthroughs to become accessible to as many people as possible, to heal the suffering and enable people with disabilities to fully exploit the capabilities and skills they possess. To be able to contribute to their society and to work, ultimately becoming first-class citizens like everyone else.
Next week I will travel to Australia, I am sure that in this distant country, as in Africa, New Zealand, the United States and everywhere else I went, I will find a warm welcome, solidarity and, above all, I will find an opportunity to scream, stroke after stroke, for the need for justice and equality.
All the best