What Really Counts


Dietrich Fischer – TRANSCEND Media Service

Nine physically and mentally disabled contestants at a Special Olympics assembled at the starting line for the 100-meter dash. As they heard the gunshot, they all began to move as rapidly as they could, not really in a dash, but with joy to try to be the first to reach the finish line and win.

But one boy stumbled, fell down and began to cry. The others heard him and stopped. Then they all turned back. One girl with Down Syndrome kissed the boy and said,

“This will make it better.”

Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood up and cheered for ten minutes, some with watery eyes.

And we keep calling them ‘disabled’.


Dietrich Fischer (1941-2015) from Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. Fischer was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University 1986-88, has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities, and been a consultant to the United Nations. He was co-founder, with Johan Galtung, of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment in 1993.

Excerpted from Dietrich Fischer’s Stories to Inspire You – TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 Jun 2021.

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