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Crippen looks at the reality of access in Afghanistan / 30 September 2009

Crippen cartoon depicting access in war torn Afghanistan

Crippen's Afghan access cartoon

Zoom in to this image and read text description

I recently received a message from Fahim Khairy who writes about the conditions for Disabled people in Afghanistan.

“In the third world countries, as example in Afghanistan where I came from, the word disability has a very different meaning. People have unlike perceptions about it and always see it in more negative light.

“The day when an Afghan is hit by a rocket and falls down bleeding, people will immediately forget that situation and say the person is under God’s punishment. Although God did not fire that rocket so it’s the person’s fate receiving the punishment through God’s will for his or her bad actions. It’s the culture. Unfortunately, it's not easy to change.

“When I travelled to Afghanistan after seven years I anticipated seeing everybody enjoying the new democratic regime however I disappointedly found out the opposite.

“I really wondered why I couldn’t see wheelchairs in the streets, markets or any part of the cities despite the fact that there were millions of disabled people living in the country. It was clear that lack of accessibility ruthlessly forced every wheelchair use to stay at home.

“Being in a wheelchair in Afghanistan at every new and old building, the person needs to be carried by four or five people, in order to get up the stairs. I almost forgot being a disabled person after starting a new life in America although as soon as I arrived at Kabul Airport, I suddenly realized that I am a needy person. Now I have to look for others sorrowfully to help me get up any staircases.

“How can we fight this misery when no disabled person is able to come out from his or her home and moreover discuss the matters with leaders and politicians? I assume that if every disabled Afghan had a computer, a power wheelchair like me, they conclusively would stand next to me to fight for a change.

“I had the opportunity that allowed me to educate myself learning a new language and the use of technology. I have been learning English since I came to the US in 2003. I certainly believe that if we had these opportunities in Afghanistan, every disabled Afghan would be able to live a life without affliction and poverty.”

You can find out more about Fahim and his involvement with other Afghan Disabled people on his Facebook site

Keywords: access issues,other cultures

Comments

Crippen

/
7 October 2009

Hi Sanda, we call them 'dropped curbs' over here in the UK - some being more dropped than others unfortunately!

sanda

/
5 October 2009

PS (CFS/ME is the "ps disease"; I named it)

I like the cartoon. Like minds across the water: a pal of mine,(she's) now deceased, had done a cartoon with holes, no board, where folks, wheelchair users, fell in...

Curb cuts in Manhattan are bad...how are they in London? (Curb cut is cement ramp on

a street corner to get your wheelchair off the sidewalk so you can cross the street.)

There are 80,000 wheelchair users in NYC.

sanda

/
5 October 2009

In NYC, people are a little more "quiet" about the "God's curse" part. Whenever someone tells me they've been someplace where I haven't been or know about in NYC, I ask "Is it wheelchair accessible?". Too often, the person (including my spouse) hasn't really noticed (he has to go back and report, chuckle and if it's not, no money of ours goes into the store and he complains to management). Sometimes the observation by the nondisabled, nonwheelchair user is flat wrong (pun intended).

It is very upsetting that the countries of the US and NATO are making more people with disabilities via war/occupation.

(I keep asking, Afghanistan is part of North Atlantic area?) (A joke, but real.)

I heard, on the radio, a man who worked for 10 years in China and mentioned (in the 1990s) that people with disabilities could not go to college (the Chinese said they didn't want "ugliness" in the colleges). He was a credible business person who'd written a book and I don't think he invented that.

It's a 50-50 gamble to find a wheelchair accessible synagogue or church in NYC, even though for events to which the public is invited, are supposed to be wheelchair accessible. (I don't know about mosques.) The US ADA Americans With Disabilities Act exempts private groups from having wheelchair access -which means it's voluntary.

And, finally, about 78% of disabled people who can work, in the US, are unemployed because they can't find jobs.

Transportation is difficult, also. I was shocked when I met a wheelchair user in front of a history synagogue (we both stopped to look at the building) in midtown, who was from London and we chatted, she saying she gets money from the English gov't for a car for being disabled. You are ahead of us in many ways, but I know my disabling illness,

ME or CFS/ME is not well respected here or in England.

Crippen

/
2 October 2009

On behalf of Fahim, the team at DAO and myself, thanks Marisha X

Marisha Bonar

/
1 October 2009

Such an eye-opener piece of writing from Fahim Khairy.....Really makes me think about Disablity from another perspective.

Fantastic Cartoon to illustrate this,

Thank you so very much to both of you, Fahim Khairy and Crippen Disabled Cartoonist,

Have a Nice Day,

Marisha =^.^=

.....and so well done to DAO for publishing yet again such a powerful Article