Main Article Content
Visual Disability, Egyptian Families, Personal Narrative
This paper explores my personal narrative as a young adult woman in my mid-twenties with a visual disability. I describe my experiences and how disability generally is perceived in the Egyptian culture, in particular within the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christian community in the United States. The aim of this paper is to illuminate the impact of comments, gestures and overall treatment from this community’s people on its members with disabilities. The actions of close family members throughout various rites of passage at different stages of life is another central theme of this paper, for it highlights the impact of acceptance, overprotection, exposure, and independence on the daily life experiences of a person with a disability. I discuss how my values and assumptions as a person with a disability can sometimes conflict and other times coincide with those of my immediate, extended and religious families. While this paper explores the narrative of one individual, it has the potential to challenge people’s stereotypes and behaviors which may subsequently impact the lives of people with disabilities. As human beings, people with disabilities are all a part of various “families” whether religious, biological, or the (dis)ability-related communities. Overall, this paper explores my personal narrative, given the interaction of multiple components of identity—gender, race, age, religion and disability.
Retrieved from http://commentmideast.com/2010/08/arab-disabled-and-invisble/
Ashoka Arab World (2010). Ahmed el maraghy. Retrieved from
Charlton, J. I. (1998). Nothing about us without us: Disability oppression and empowerment. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Glossary of Eye Terminology (2007). Retrieved from http://www.eyeglossary.net/#N
Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. Inc.
Goodley, D. (2001). ‘Learning difficulties’, the social model of disability and impairment: Challenging epistemologies, Disability & Society, 16 (2), 207–231. Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Ibrahim, G. E. (1932). Work among the blind in Egypt. Moslem World, 22, (pp. 276-282).
Johnstone, C. J. (2004). Disability and identity: Personal constructions and formalized supports. Disability Studies Quarterly, 24(4), Society for Disability Studies.
Shakespeare, T. (1998). Disability, identity and difference. In C. Barnes and G. Mercer (1996). Exploring the divide, (pp. 94–113), Leeds: The Disability Press.
Research. Retrieved from Casey Eye Institute Web site:
The Holy Bible. New King James Version, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Wendell, S. (2006). Towards a feminist theory of disability. In L. J. Davis (Ed.), The Disabilities Studies Reader, (pp. 243-456). New York, N.Y.: Taylor and Francis Group LLC.
National Eye Institute (2008). Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Retrieved from National Eye Institute Web site: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/rop/