As part of the (Release Your Thought with Your Pen) campaign, the Qatari Forum for Authors broadcasted on Sunday evening in its YouTube channel a special writing session for people with special needs. During the session, Mr. Hussien Khalil, legal researcher specialized in the field of people with visual disability in Qatar, was hosted and the session was moderated by writer Mukhtar Khawaja, member of the Qatari Forum for Authors.
At the beginning of the session, Mr. Hussein defined visual disability as total or partial disability in vision, whether due to an accident, inheritance or chronic illness, etc. He confirmed that the blind is not that who suffers from ordinary weakness of vision, but rather that lack of vision which forces him to have surgical operations or to use special tools for reading and writing.
Mr. Hussein called on the blind to acquire culture and knowledge as much as possible anywhere and in all fields. He further confirmed that the blind could successfully acquire many theoretical knowledge and experience, rely on hearing to overcome visual disability and succeed in various fields. He added that the blind could make use of that knowledge even in his/her private life so as not to be exploited.
He confirmed that there are many blind people who have succeeded in entering and excelling in challenging fields, even in technological development and programming. He also quoted the writer Taha Hussein, who succeeded in overcoming his disability and assumed the position of minister in the Egyptian government and his brothers who are suffering from the same disability yet have succeeded in completing their higher education and hold prominent positions. He considered culture as the way by which to participate effectively in building the society, whether in teaching or sociology, etc.
In the same context, he confirmed that the State became aware of the importance of education and participation in society and this led it to be part of many global agreements to protect blinds rights. He also expressed his pride and happiness as the State of Qatar took the initiative to ratify international conventions and to make conventions enforced by law including the Marrakesh convention and that of people with disability, which includes rights of access, qualification, and integration which are rights that enable the blind to play a role in the field of culture.
He praised the efforts made by the Qatar National Library, which enabled all the blind to have access to digital works through special accounts created for them.
The Director of Qatar’s Foundation for Visual Disability explained some terminology related to the blind including having access, which he said is the guarantee of the blind’s right to participate in all fields of life and to have access to government institutions and cultural sources. He indicated that in order to succeed in this process, efforts of each of the blind and the state must integrate through legislation, facilitation of proceedings, authors and publishing houses who should understand that the blind are an important segment of society and reading needs to be facilitated for them whether in audio versions or braille language. He further indicated that it is possible to protect intellectual rights of authors and this is no longer an obstacle to them specially with new techniques. He further confirmed that many of the blind are keen to educate themselves but they need more resources and references to guide them.