A war of words broke out between a MEP and a government Minister, both from New Democracy, due to a statement about disabilities. It was Minister for Rural Development, Makis Voridis, who insulted people with disabilities when he commented on the controversial silly walks event during the 28. October parade.
“One can talk, discuss with 16 year olds, they are not handicapped,” Voridis said in live panel on Skai TV on Wednesday.
Voridis’ comparison triggered an outrage first on social media.
MEP Stelios Kympouropoulos, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy since he was a child, called on the Minister to withdraw and correct his “unacceptable, offensive and abusive statement.”
Voridis’ statement “touches the limits of hate speech,” Kympouropoulos said in a lengthy post on social media.
“People with disabilities in our country are excluded in many cases and are confronted with a series of stereotypes. They do not even need the politicians’ unacceptable statements to make their everyday lives more difficult,” the MEP wrote.
Among others, he criticized the other panelists for not reacting to Voridis statements.
Voridis did not change anything on his statement, on the contrary he made it worse.
In a post on social media, Voridis claimed that there was an effort to “distort” what he said.
The Minister claimed that he was referring to disabilities that impede the intellect and responsibility. He added that “unfortunately there are such disabilities and it is quite obvious that I was referring to them.”
So, according to the unbelievable Minister of ours, Kympouropoulos should not react because he has a “physical disability ” and not a “mental” one?
The President of the Association of People with Disabilities called on the Prime Minister to call to order Makis Voridis saying his statements were “diminishing and offensive.”
Stressing that Voridis’ statements “are in sharp contrast to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the Legislation against Racism,” President Ioannis Vardakastanis ironically commented to reporters “One cannot talk also with Mr Voridis and he is not disabled.”
Does this mean that the Minister, who is also a lawyer, would correct his statement and eventually apologize if any one with a “mental disability” would sue him?
What is interesting is that not a single politician, general secretary or whoever from New Democracy dared to criticize Minister Voridis. The otherwise very talkative and sharp-tongued ND officials kept a deafening silence.
PS Using any form of “disability” is derogatory and discriminating and one of the worst forms of racism.
The problem with racists is that they are not aware of their racism. They light-heated attack and diminish everybody who is different in any way. Until the time comes when they suddenly find themselves with a disable child in their arms or have to take care of a disable partner or parents. Then they have a chance to review – if ever.
There is a definite need for a BIG training session for these ma*a*s.
Do you mean ma*a*es?
If so, I agree with you.