Words are important.
The way in which we talk and express ourselves, whether consciously or not, is closely related to the way we think: the choice of a particular phrase when talking to others or when defining something is not mere form. On the one hand, it’s certainly true that politically correct dominates modern language – to the point that it often feels like a “shortcut”, a way to avoid hurting anyone but without proper perception or understanding of the sensitive matters involved. On the other, there are instances in which a specific expression or choice of words provide the perfect synthesis of the entire thought process, and may even completely change the perspective of an individual or a society as a whole.
Dubai is no stranger to such linguistic revolutions: the latest one comes, as is usually the case, from His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. In the course of his presentation of the latest national strategy, The National Policy for Empowering People with Special Needs, with specific new interventions in the areas of healthcare and rehabilitation, integrated education, employment, protection from abuse and discrimination to assist “special needs” individuals in fully expressing their own potential, he has introduced a very important and significant phrase to refer to “special needs” individuals: the DETERMINED ONES. The choice of highlighting one specific trait, determination, i.e. the combination of clear thinking, awareness, courage, perseverance, humility, and the strength to get up again each and every time, is the mark of those who do not falter in the face of physical and emotional challenges.
Whenever we say “the determined ones”, we are part of a true revolution, not only in terms of language but most of all in the way of thinking: because these people set the example for all, and represent a model to follow, an encouragement for mutual support of everyone’s potential, without prejudices or arbitrary exclusions, to live life to the fullest, together.
Words are important but, most important of all, in this case these are not mere words.
– Marilena Falcone