Radical rebels’ impact on Syria’s disabled: ‘nobody ever thought about future’ – activist


Radical rebels in Syria are ruining the lives of Syria’s disabled who have been left behind in Syria’s turmoil and in some cases forgotten by the masses. “Nobody ever thought about [the] future, how we will build this country again,” Chavia Ali, chairwoman for the Cultural Forum for People with Special Needs in Syria, proclaimed to the Voice of Russia. While regions are being torn up with landmines and bullets, Syria’s handicapped population is increasing due to the war and relentless battles breaking out in the Middle Eastern country.

The Cultural Forum for People with Special Needs in Syria is an organization that is striving to revive itself all throughout Syria with its main mission being to help those who were born disabled or have become that way. Parents are given ample education on how they should care for their disabled child, with extra attention given to females with special needs.

“It’s very difficult to think that your baby will never see,” Chavia Ali explained to the Voice of Russia, then asked, “How can you help him to be in a good situation in the future and have a good learning and teaching?” With proper planning and an educational goal set in place for the young child with a disability, the minor could grow up in a sound learning environment.

“We have a lot of problem with rights, they are not so applicable. We got a lot of programs but it was always less than we expected to do.”

As raising a disabled child is a full time job that the entire family needs to attend to, not only should the mother but the father should also be accepting of this unfortunate situation and plan his kid’s future in order for them to have an easier life. Although the organization for the disabled in Syria has pushed for change to happen for almost a decade, the war has only caused an unmovable roadblock in its plan to help those who are looking for assistance.

“We have a lot of problem with rights, they are not so applicable. We got a lot of programs but it was always less than we expected to do,” Ali explained in reference to past efforts at making Syria’s disabled not just mobile, but motivated to get out and about. The policy may be in black and white for disabled individuals of the conflicted nation, but without any action it is just a concept that has promise with very little pull or power for that matter.

Since the war, the disabled have been in the crossfire. “People who need to breathe with a battery-powered machine, there is no electricity to charge its battery,” Ali noted. When bombs go off in or near buildings, people naturally flee from the scene to get out of harm’s way though many of times the disabled are unable to move from their residence, forcing them to stay trapped until help arrives or worse silence surrounds them as everybody has already vacated the premises.

In Ali’s case, she had no other choice but leave her neighborhood two years ago, as her place of residence was very close to a political military school in Syria, making it an instant hotspot for danger. “I remember the last day I was in Aleppo…there was just bombing everywhere and a helicopter shooting something down,” the chairwoman recalled of the horrible last moments before fleeing from her home with the help of her uncle, mother, brother, and sister.

Not too long ago, a huge explosion leveled a hotel in an old neighborhood of Aleppo. Accounts’ regarding the event, as mentioned by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has noted that the rebels belonging to the group the Islamic Front militia set off huge explosives in the tunnel they dug out beneath the ravaged hotel by use of a remote control. The Independent reported that water had been cut off to select parts of Aleppo and rebel members had taken responsibility for this cruel act. Instead of just cutting off the supply to the government controlled regions of Aleppo as they had initially wished to, women and children in their own areas were severely affected. These two most recent incidents are just snippets of the dozens and more likely hundreds of malicious acts the rebels have forced the Syrian population to endure and nobody is feeling it worse than those who are partially paralyzed or handicapped to some degree. With lack of secure housing and basic necessities unavailable like water, it puts a damper on the essential habits many of Syria’s disabled need, such as daily bathing and hygienic routines they are told to keep up with.

“They didn’t know if their fathers are from the military side or the civil or if they are from the revolutionists’ side they just know we have children with a lot of bad situations and they need help.”

Though, the Cultural Forum for People with Special Needs in Syria which is a non-profit, pro-activist organization is only ready and willing to help those in need, the group will take in any disabled victim of the war, no matter what side they belong to and only see the person’s need for help, not their political association. In one instance 11 children were injured in some way due to the war and were coming to Aleppo in a big car with four of them being brothers and sisters. “They didn’t know if their fathers are from the military side or the civil or if they are from the revolutionists’ side they just know we have children with a lot of bad situations and they need help,” Ali explained to the Voice of Russia.

Rough estimates are starting to emerge over just how many have become handicapped to some capacity due to the parking lots and schools being overtaken as base camps for rebels and battlefields for soldiers. Before the war threw itself up onto Syria like a colossal wave, around two million people were considered handicapped in Syria, according to Chavia Ali, however now that number has doubled, but it may have tripled in size.

Between those stuck in refugee camps and innocent bystanders in Syria, around five to six million are feared to be handicapped in some way. “Every day we find people who lose one leg or one hand, they lose the ability of moving from one accident or from a bombing or even a shooting,” Ali said. The unfortunate truth is that with so many foreign fighters in Syria, it is hard to tell who is responsible for destroying the nation that was once so majestic.

Double disabilities are now considered to be far more common in the war-torn nation. A blind person may lose their leg to a bombing attack or a person in a wheelchair may become even less mobile than before, due to an ambush in their neighborhood. What does need to happen cannot because all plans toward progression have been stuck in neutral. Uncontrollable rebels, perhaps not even from Syria, have been tearing up the terrain which has only caused mounting conflict in the nation that has been at war for entirely too long.

Outsiders not directly involved with Syria may wonder how they might be able to help out those disabled victims in need of dire assistance. “I think I can advise everyone [to] do what he thinks he can do,” Ali said, who manages the organization’s Facebook and Twitter account. In order for the disabled to gain better programs and resources inside the nation of over 22 million occupants as of July 2013, as stated by indexmundi.com, the war will need to come to a stop. Chavia Ali welcomes support— for at the end of the day, it is all about the handicapped people who so desperately need the right available tools in order to live a normal life or as close to it as possible.

“There is a longer list of people with multiple disabilities,” Ali said, stating that the list is longer than it ever has been and reassured the Voice of Russia that everyone who has gone through the war is more than likely suffering from at least one disability. It is in great hopes that the up and coming election on June 3 election will suffice a positive outcome, especially for the disabled individuals struggling to make it day-by-day. Right now it remains unclear as to what reforms will be made should the people vote to keep President Al-Assad keep in office.


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