[AI] The blind diplomat

Dr. Vipin Malhotra malhotravipin at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 9 09:10:23 EDT 2007

The very basis are mythical!
There are instances where blind persons have married
not only once but so 
many times.
Its an issue of attraction  not of accessibility!
Atleast I never faced such 
dearth in my life, whether the occasion is of getting
married or making girl 
With love and regards,

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "rajesh asudani" <rajeshasudani at rbi.org.in>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2007 3:07 PM
Subject: Re: [AI] The blind diplomat

> Yes, I do also inclined to hold the same opinion,
even David Blunket seems
> not to have married!
> Exclusion is ubiqutous.
> Rajesh
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "dr.u.n.sinha narain" <drunsinha at gmail.com>
> To: "Geetha Shamanna" <geetha at millernorbert.de>;
> <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
> Sent: Monday, July 09, 2007 1:28 AM
> Subject: Re: [AI] The blind diplomat
>>i met mr. rabby. i saw his capacities, when i met
him in lucknow.
>> since he is transferred from india, i could not
contact him, as i do
>> not have his e mail now. my questionis the gentle
man is so qualified
>> but why he has not married? is it general blind
problem everywhere?
>> regards
>> drun
>> On 7/8/07, Geetha Shamanna
<geetha at millernorbert.de> wrote:
>>>      The Saturday Profile
>>>                  A U.S. Diplomat With an
Extraordinary Global View
>>>      By [4]MARC LACEY
>>>      PORT OF SPAIN, [5]Trinidad
>>>      AS chief of the political section at the
American Embassy here for
>>> the
>>>      last two years, Avraham Rabby has had the job
of surveying 
>>> Trinidads
>>>      political landscape for Washington.
>>>      The fact that he has not actually seen the
Caribbean island or any
>>> of
>>>      the places on five continents where he has
been posted has not
>>> stymied
>>>      him.
>>>      I necessarily listen more than a sighted
person would, he said. If
>>> Im
>>>      walking along a street, I can tell there is a
building next to me
>>>      because of the echoes of my feet or my cane.
A blind person sees 
>>> the
>>>      world differently from a sighted person. Our
impressions are no 
>>> less
>>>      valid.
>>>      Mr. Rabby, who lost his sight at the age of 8
because of detached
>>>      retinas, is the State Departments first blind
diplomat. It is an
>>>      achievement he fought for in the 1980s,
passing three written
>>> entrance
>>>      exams and two oral exercises along the way.
But even then, the 
>>> State
>>>      Department barred him from the diplomatic
>>>      You dont ask a blind person to drive a bus or
be a bank teller,
>>> George
>>>      S. Vest, who was the personnel director for
the Foreign Service,
>>>      explained in a 1988 interview. There are jobs
which are dangerous 
>>> or
>>>      unsuitable for them. And in the Foreign
Service, were full of jobs
>>>      like that.
>>>      The department contended that diplomats,
blind ones included, had 
>>> to
>>>      be able to work anywhere in the world and to
work with confidential
>>>      documents without any outside aid. In
addition, State Department
>>>      officials said, diplomats had to be able to
pick up on nonverbal
>>> cues,
>>>      such as winks or nods, which can sometimes
have more meaning than
>>> the
>>>      words being uttered.
>>>      But Mr. Rabby illustrated another essential
quality of diplomats:
>>>      perseverance. No international treaty has
ever been decided on the
>>>      basis of a wink or a nod, he retorted, after
hiring a lawyer and
>>>      challenging the State Departments policy,
which dated from the 18th
>>>      century.
>>>      Aiding Mr. Rabbys effort was a federal law
barring the government
>>> from
>>>      disqualifying prospective employees because
of disabilities.
>>>      Eventually, after the news media and Congress
found out about his
>>>      case, the State Department reversed course.
The new policy would
>>>      consider disabled diplomats on a case-by-case
basis. Mr. Rabby
>>> became
>>>      case No. 1.
>>>      In 1990, he was off to London, where he was
posted at the embassy
>>>      there as a junior political officer. He moved
next to Pretoria,
>>> South
>>>      Africa, where [6]Nelson Mandela had just been
freed from prison and
>>>      where Mr. Rabby witnessed the countrys first
free elections. It was
>>>      one of the most stimulating experiences in my
life, he said, noting
>>>      that he was one of the embassys election
>>>      People ask me how I can assess a political
rally if I cant see it,
>>> he
>>>      said. I tell them that I listen to the crowd
and to the speakers.
>>> You
>>>      can sense what is going on.
>>>      He spent time in Washington at the State
Departments Bureau of 
>>> Human
>>>      Rights, and in postings in Lima and New
Delhi. During a stint at 
>>> the
>>>      United States Mission to the [7]United
Nations, he helped write
>>>      resolutions dealing with literacy, global
health and the rights of
>>> the
>>>      disabled.
>>>      His final posting he retired at the end of
June at the mandatory
>>>      retirement age of 65 was to Port of Spain,
where he became an 
>>> expert
>>>      in Trinidads political system, which has long
been divided between
>>>      parties, one predominantly Afro-Trinidadian
and one
>>> Indo-Trinidadian.
>>>      When journalists descended on Trinidad
recently in search of
>>>      information on the suspected plot to set off
a bomb at a fuel line
>>> at
>>>      Kennedy International Airport that was traced
back to this 
>>> Caribbean
>>>      island, he became one of the officials to
talk to.
>>>      A diplomat does a lot of writing, a lot of
reading, a lot of
>>> thinking,
>>>      a lot of talking and has to attend a lot of
meetings, he said.
>>> Thanks
>>>      to technological advances and a full-time
assistant, Mr. Rabby 
>>> could
>>>      do all of those things too.
>>>      He wrote his cables to Washington using a
machine that wrote in
>>>      Braille. He then read them back to his
assistant, Rhonda Singh, who
>>>      typed them up. He also had a computer with a
speech program that
>>>      allowed him to listen to his e-mail messages.
>>>      As for tracking news developments, Ms. Singh,
an American citizen
>>> who
>>>      lives in Trinidad, read him the local papers.
I was basically his
>>>      eyes, she said.
>>>      BORN in Israel, Mr. Rabby, who is known as
Rami, was sent to live
>>> with
>>>      an aunt in England at the age of 10 because
his parents believed
>>> there
>>>      were better schools for the blind there. A
Hebrew speaker, he
>>> quickly
>>>      mastered English at Worcester College for
Blind Boys.
>>>      I remember the headmaster used to go out and
speak to groups about
>>> the
>>>      school, and he used to say that we teach our
boys to stand on their
>>>      own two feet and, if necessary, to step on
yours too, Mr. Rabby
>>>      recalled.
>>>      He went off to Oxford, where he studied
French and Spanish. Finding
>>> a
>>>      job after college proved a challenge. Time
and time again I met
>>>      recruiters who felt that a blind person could
not work in
>>> management,
>>>      he said in the British accent that he has
never lost.
>>>      Eventually, he joined Ford Motor Company in
Britain, where he 
>>> worked
>>>      in human resources. After about a year, he
moved to the United
>>> States
>>>      and earned an M.B.A. at the [8]University of
>>>      After graduation in 1969, he sought out a
management training
>>> program,
>>>      but had few offers after dozens and dozens,
if not hundreds of
>>>      interviews.
>>>      He finally landed a job with a management
consulting firm, Hewitt
>>>      Associates, and later moved to Citibank. He
also spent time as an
>>>      independent consultant, writing a number of
employment guides,
>>>      including one giving advice to blind job
>>>      One of my problems in my working life, after
a few years I get a 
>>> bit
>>>      tired of what I am doing and I want to
change, said Mr. Rabby, who
>>>      became an American citizen in 1980.
>>>      It was while living in New York that he
decided to make the jump
>>> into
>>>      international relations, a longtime interest.
The State Departments
>>>      regular rotations of its diplomats proved a
perfect fit.
>>>      His fight to join the Foreign Service has
helped others along the
>>> way.
>>>      There are now four blind Foreign Service
officers stationed around
>>> the
>>>      globe, the State Department said, among about
170 disabled Foreign
>>>      Service employees overseas.
>>>      MR. RABBY said blind Foreign Service officers
had recently been
>>>      restricted from adjudicating visa
applications because of their
>>>      inability to verify photographs and
signatures of applications.
>>>      Mr. Rabby, who attributes the decision to the
>>> restrictions
>>>      after the Sept. 11 attacks, said he did visa
work at the start of
>>> his
>>>      career in London, with the assistance of a
reader, who verified
>>>      documents for him. He asked the questions and
assessed the
>>> responses.
>>>      The State Department is not yet completely on
the side of the
>>> angels,
>>>      he said. A State Department official disputed
that there was a
>>> policy
>>>      in place restricting the assignments of blind
diplomats. Decisions
>>> on
>>>      assigning personnel, the official said, are
made on a case-by-case
>>>      basis in accordance with the law.
>>>      Even before Mr. Rabby headed out into the
world as a diplomat, he
>>> was
>>>      already testifying before Congress on his
quest for the job. He 
>>> said
>>>      back then that he did not want to be put in a
pigeonhole as a blind
>>>      diplomat.
>>>      Blind people are as different from one
another as sighted people, 
>>> he
>>>      told members of the House Foreign Affairs and
Civil Service
>>> Committees
>>>      in 1989. There is no such thing as a category
labeled, blind.
>>>      Prior Beharry contributed reporting.
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