Not worthy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 November, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 November, 1995, 12:00am

FIONNUALA McHugh's article about the Hansen's disease (HD) patients of Coloane (Sunday Morning Post Magazine, October 1) reveals not only her ignorance of the disease but also her lack of compassion for those who happen to suffer from it.

It is a classic example of doublespeak, whereby she denounces the stigma that HD patients have suffered over the centuries, but employs the kind of language in her article that in all probability will contribute to its perpetuation.

Thus, the word 'leper' occurs no less than 11 times, along with 'disfiguring, scourge, isolated, shunned, loathsome, fingers snapped off, eats away, outcast, scorned, diseased, wither, withered, disjointed, deformed, leprous, scurf, gnarled, twisted.' This kind of sensationalist pandering to prejudice is not worthy of a newspaper such as yours.

However, what is particularly lamentable is that such journalism will only make it more difficult for HD patients to be accepted back into the communities from which they should never have been ejected in the first place.