Thursday, October 2, 2008


The National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico will be picketing the opening day release of the movie "Blindness" on Friday, October 3 at Century Rio 24, 4901 Pan American West Freeway NE. The first showing of the film is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and will be picketed.

The movie "Blindness" depicts the inhabitants of an unnamed city who suddenly go blind. Fearing that the blindness is contagious, the government quarantines the blinded citizens in an abandoned asylum, where moral, social, and hygienic standards quickly deteriorate and the blind extort valuables, food, and sex from one another. The movie is based on a novel by Portuguese author José Saramago.

"The National Federation of the Blind, is constantly working on changing what it means to be blind and allaying public fears about the loss of sight. We are protesting the way blind people are portrayed in the movie. We know that with appropriate training and education, blind people can and do live normal and independent lives," said Christine Hall, President of the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico.

Greg Trapp, Executive Director of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind, said the protest is necessary.

"While I am disturbed by the offensive depiction of blindness, I am especially concerned that this movie will be distributed to nations where these depictions will be seen as reality, and not merely Hollywood fantasy. There are nations where the blind are the target of insidious discrimination and even violence. This movie will encourage such discrimination and violence. In some third world societies where blindness is thought to be a curse, This is not harmless entertainment," declared Trapp.

"As a broadcaster and journalist I have a long record of opposing censorship," said Art Schreiber, Chair of the Commission for the Blind, and longtime broadcaster. "I am also opposed to movie portrayals that foster negative images of minorities and persons with disabilities. This movie crosses the line from legitimate entertainment to something that is clearly inappropriate. This movie would never be produced if these images were based on a physical characteristic other than blindness," said Schreiber.

"It saddens me that Disney has released a movie that is so degrading to blind people," remarked Tonia Trapp, President of the Albuquerque Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind.

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