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Disabled man in metro

  • Sep. 15th, 2008 at 9:32 PM

Disabled man in metro

The other day I was standing in the Metro in Skt. Petersburg. I get on the train along with a bunch of other people. Suddenly I hear someone shouting below me. I looked down and see a disabled man. His legs cut from the knees down, he’s standing on duck tape wrapped around the lower part of what’s left of his leg. He shouts through the train, urging people to help a disabled man. No one in the train even moves. It felt as is this man only existed in my head.
I was very shocked by this. I am not from Russia and I must admit that I have never seen such a disabled man as well as such ignorance. What I am looking for is an answer or at least a point of view of a Russian person. Why did those people react like that? Is this normal or was it an extreme exception.
But first I would like to tell what some of my friends had to say about this subject.
I told them about the story and the reaction from them wasn’t very remarkable. One of them started telling me about how such people are on every street corner and people are used to it. Then she moved on, telling me how those invalids should get a job as there are plenty of jobs like for example sitting in a booth like for example the ones in the metro. As she said: All they have to do there is sit down and watch! She wrapped up by saying that she “kinda” feels bad. I didn’t buy or agree with any of this and told her so. She then tells me one last reason. In Russia, she told, there are many invalids and in the Soviet Union the state would hide them as they disrupted the picture of the perfect society. Now when they’re let out people don’t care and they ignore them. Even though I don’t quite completely understand why that is a reason for people to ignore such disabled I think this is for me a more plausible explanation.
I ask some of the other friends what they would do. One said that he doesn’t care and that the state should provide for them. Therefore it is not his problem. Another told me that it depended on the mood on that day whether he would give disabled person money or not.
Now as I see it all these answers are bullshit (pardon my language). First of all I don’t see disabled people on every street corner. I see beggars but not someone which is so extremely and obviously in need.
Secondly, yes of course the government should take care of these people. But since it is obviously not is it then not okay to give disabled a few coins?
Thirdly, I don’t think it’s all that easy to get a job for such a disabled man. Of course he could sit in a booth and do nothing but this is a very primitive and black and white way of thinking. Things are a bit more complicated. Employers might not want to hire these people. These people also have to get from and to the job and I bet there are other problems related to this as well which I simply can’t think of as I have never been in that situation.
My last argument is that a few kopeks or a ruble wouldn’t hurt or turn the whole economy upside down for the people who have jobs and have a standard income. If many people however contribute it might help the disabled quite a lot.
Furthermore, human compassion should make all of the things irrelevant.
I musts stress that I am not talking about beggars who might not really be poor or alcoholics who’ll go out and drink up the money. I am talking about a man with no legs, trying to make his way through the train on what’s left of his limbs and probably doing so the whole day each day. This was not a story I heard, this was something I saw with my own eyes. It couldn’t get more real.
I want to know why things are like that and what you think about this. What would you do and why? And how come people reacted like that in the train. Is this normal and if so then why?



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