Disabled people all over the world are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. “And Now Here We Are” is a comic by
about the experiences of disabled people in the UK. I first saw Sam Tweet Sam Schäfer this series on Twitter on February 20, 2021 and am so pleased to be able to publish a version of it here.
Content notes: ableism, austerity, grief, pain, death, dying, poverty, suffering, eugenics.
Panel 0: Title panel for a comic called “And now here we are” by Sam Schafer. The title is nicely written out by hand, and even though it’s not in this image, it’s important to know that Sam Schafer is very very handsome and strong.
Panel 1: A grayscale drawing of a jumble of headstones sits beneath the caption “Today I am reminded how inaccessible a lot of graveyards are.”
Panel 2: “Today we were told that 60% of Covid deaths in the UK were disabled people,” This is accompanied by a large, floral, memorial portrait for the international accessibility symbol.
Panel 3: “We died the same way many of us lived: in hospital, isolated, stuck indoors, financially struggling, isolated.” Each point is illustrated with an empty hospital bed, a silhouette sat in a jar, a closed door, a broken sad and very adorable piggy bank with little coins in it, and nothing.
Panel 4: “In 1995 we had to tie ourselves to buses and trains and be violently removed for the Conservative Government to listen to us.” A cartoon of a famous image from the protests where a man on crutches and a woman on a mobility scooter have handcuffed themselves to the number 42 bus from Stockport.
Panel 5: A version of the UN Human Right’s logo but with the laurels forming the furious brows of a frowny face beneath which is the caption “in 2019 the UN said the Conservatives’ policy of austerity was a violation of our human rights.”
Panel 6: “They have maintained that people who are about to die are fit to work. Make no mistake they want us dead,” This is illustrated with the tree logo of the Conservative Party with a skull in the center
Panel 7: “But it’s not just them…”
Panel 8: “Everyday I see comments from people saying we shouldn’t be given the vaccine:” A series of social media icons and newspapers spout the phrases “they will only get ill again anyway”, “they’re not as productive to the economy”, and “prioritising them over me is discrimination.”
Panel 9: “Everyday I see people breaking guidelines and taking risks because they will recover. We will not.” A white outlined drawing of a group of maskless people having a party against a black charcoal background.
Panel 10: “Everyday I see people wishing for things to go back to normal. Back to the way things were. Where we were still suffering and dying.” A pair of crutches lay abandoned beneath a rainbow and sunshine.
Panel 11: “There is hope things can change: flexible hours, sympathetic employers, more respect for social care.” These points are illustrated with a twisted up clock, a pair of open hands, and a big pile of money because carers should be paid more already goddamnit.
Panel 12: “But this is only being discussed now because able-bodied people are having to deal with what we always have.” An able-bodied person in a cotton face mask is juxtaposed with a disabled person in a medical grade oxygen mask.
Panel 13: “And that these accommodations are now being given (at least to some extent) shows they always could have been. You just didn’t want to help us.”
Panel 14: ” And now here we are.” Back at the graveyard.
Sam Schäfer is a blind, queer, comedy writer & cartoonist from the UK. Yes, they have very poor eyesight, yes their hair is a constant mess, and yes their diet is literal trash, but they are not just a raccoon in human clothes and you certainly can’t prove that enough to kick them out of this Burger King.
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