[AI] The blind diplomat

Rohit Trivedi rohit63 at msn.com
Mon Jul 9 13:07:48 EDT 2007


Isn't it off topic?
Rohit
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Atul R Sahay" <arsahay at accessindia.org.in>
To: <malhotravipin at yahoo.com>; <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2007 7:18 PM
Subject: Re: [AI] The blind diplomat


>A correlation between marriage and blindness?
> I read in statistics once that we can show some correlation enen by 
> plotting
> our shoe size with IQ. It doesn't mean "cause and effect relationship" by
> any stretch of imagination.
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Dr. Vipin Malhotra" <malhotravipin at yahoo.com>
> To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
> Sent: Monday, July 09, 2007 6:40 PM
> Subject: Re: [AI] The blind diplomat
>
>
>> 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
>> friends.
>> With love and regards,
>> Vip
>>
>> ----- 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
>> corps.
>>>>>
>>>>>      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
>> observers.
>>>>>
>>>>>      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
>> Chicago.
>>>>>
>>>>>      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
>> seekers.
>>>>>
>>>>>      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
>> increased
>>>>> 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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