The Crisis in Ukraine and People with Disabilities
Synopsis: Editorial regarding persons with disabilities and the current political crisis in the Ukraine.1
Author: Disabled World Contact: google.com/+ThomasWeissDWwriter
Main DigestThe world today has around 1 Billion people who experience some form of disability. The nation of Ukraine is not unlike every other nation around the world, it has people who experience forms of disabilities as well. One of the issues people with disabilities in Ukraine experience is, not surprisingly, employment. Another issue they have to deal with is architecture that is aging and not accessible.
A country in Eastern Europe. Ukraine borders Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. Crimea is under de facto control by Russia, which claims sovereignty over it.
Russia has stated that it is concerned about the well-being of citizens within the nation of Ukraine. To express its concern over the safety and well-being of people living in Ukraine, Russia has chosen to use military force to take over Crimea, and position around 100,000 soldiers, tanks, special forces, and assorted military hardware all along the border with Ukraine. The financial costs to pursue this military objective, for whatever reason, must be massive.
Mr. Putin, the leader of Russia, has made no statement whatsoever that I have been able to find concerning the well-being of People with Disabilities living in either Ukraine or Crimea. Instead of spending money to improve access to public buildings in the nation of Ukraine, Mr. Putin has chosen to spend large amounts of money on tanks, guns, soldiers, and military activities. He has chosen to place additional burdens on the population of Russia, to include People with Disabilities there, because of his military financial expenditures and the sanctions placed on Russia because of his actions.
Chart showing costs of military hardware in relation to the cost of an apartment building
America is no innocent lamb - simply look at Iraq and Afghanistan. The results are horrendous, with vast numbers of civilians and soldiers experiencing new disabilities due to military actions taken. The financial costs for America's military actions in these nations has already reached stacks of cash that this writer is unable to realistically imagine.
While I cannot speak for the nation of Russia and the People with Disabilities present in the nation, information regarding the nation of Ukraine that Russia is concerned about presents an upsetting image. In Ukraine, approximately two-thirds of people who are of working age and experience of form of disability are unemployed. Stigma and discrimination surrounding people who experience disabilities is a legacy of the former Soviet system and People with Disabilities as a population are segregated from society. Often times, they have limited access to both social services and employment.
Not much can be done with the architectural wonders that are 200 years old in a number of cities in Ukraine to make them accessible. Yet more than one activist has asked why new buildings cannot be built, or why entrances remain disability-unfriendly. People wonder why doors have not been made 20 centimeters wider to allow wheelchair access, or why there are so few restrooms that are accessible.
Chart showing cost of the U.S. defense budget in relation to other costs
While people who experience forms of disabilities face numerous challenges not only in Ukraine, but in Russia, America, and other nations - the leaders of these same nations eye each other with suspicion and move heavy-duty military hardware and soldiers around at enormous costs. Instead of spending incredible amounts of money on soldiers and military hardware, why don't they spend this money on something constructive such as employing People with Disabilities, or making societies more accessible
One person, Parubiy, stated that the world may see a large attack on Ukraine by the Russian military any day now. For some reason it would not be all that surprising. Governments nowadays seem to enjoy flexing their military muscle, especially the United States of America. As a civilian and a person with disabilities, it is nearly impossible for me to watch this military muscle flexing without wondering just how government leaders can look at themselves in the mirror and face their own lack of moral and ethical standing in the world.
Government leaders who are unable to ensure the safety and well-being of the seniors, children, people with disabilities and veterans with disabilities within their own nations before spending vast sums of money on military efforts are government leaders unworthy of their positions in this writer's opinion. It is stunning that such leaders dare to call their soldiers, 'peacekeeping forces,' at any point in time. Governments around the world today appear to have plenty of money to spend on military hardware and actions, yet cannot find the money to ensure the well-being of the citizens within their own borders; quite a statement.
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