Living disabled means living a life of involuntary self-advocacy, fighting for inclusion and respect, and educating the community on your needs in the best of times. But in war, disabled people experience more than the violation of rights. Disabled people are at the mercy of statistics while violence rains down in the form of systematic destruction. Bombs destroy homes and roads needed to seek shelter. Loss of electricity means loss of medical equipment needed to survive. Loss of water and food sources means certain death. Communication blackouts mean disabled people are not expected to survive to call for help.
We’re reminded about the injustice war and genocidal destruction creates for people with disabilities. Currently, nearly 52% of Palestinians with disabilities who live in the Gaza Strip are losing more than their right to live. They are losing their right to remain integrated in their communities, their right to evacuate to safety, make choices for themselves, and the right to plan their futures. For decades, heavy restrictions from Israel and Egypt have curbed access to assistive technology, accessibility, and healthcare. Planned power outages have stolen their right to freedoms gained via elevators, life-saving medical devices, charged mobility aids, and even “light to use sign language with others.”
The attacks on the region not only harm disabled Palestinians but bring more people into the disability community, compounding the devastating effect on the citizenry. The result is a feeling of hopelessness with no ability to plan for the future.
At Able SC, we condemn the devastating bombardment causing the brutality that people with disabilities are facing. We also condemn the targeted kidnapping and killing of Israeli people with disabilities during the October 7th attack. We condemn the systematic attempt to destroy people both through physical brutality and psychologically forced hopelessness.
Alongside many disabled peers, we call for action from our Government. We call for a ceasefire. We call for a reallocation of taxpayer-funded aid from funding this atrocity to humanitarian support in the name of peace. We call on our disabled community and allies to speak up for the disabled community currently experiencing war and help ensure their lives are not overlooked.