Friday, January 22, 2010

Sri Lankan Disabled Soldiers Dance Swan Lake In Wheelchairs

Here are some beautiful photos of disabled Sri Lankan soldiers dancing Swan Lake in wheelchairs. One reason that performance is remarkable is that in many countries people with disabilties have few rights or opportunities. In some developing countries disabled people have little access to the rest of the world. Disabled people are sometimes locked away or left to resort to begging in order to survive.

An article from Mencafep Sri Lanka gives an idea of what it is like to be disabled in Sri Lanka:

"Some children are hidden away in family dwellings, sometimes in appalling conditions, that not even animals would be kept in. MENCAFEP is aware of cases that involve the death of severely disabled babies, soon after birth, being killed or abandoned and left to die. Within Sri Lankan culture families of disabled children, especially the mother and the child are seen to have done something wrong in a previous life. This ‘wrong doing’ is the cause of the disability; therefore in the traditional way of life sympathy and understanding are at times rare commodities within the Sri Lankan social order. In some cases families of disabled children can be ostracised from their communities."

In contrast to this mentality, the beautifully choragraphed perfomance showed in the photos seems remarkable. According to the CNN I-report which accompanied the photos, when it opened the cast and the show was smaller. But the reception was so positive, the performance has been growing.

It is not hard to understand why. Looks very beautiful. Hopefully these performances are more than just another cultural event for Sri Lanka.