I was browsing through the morning paper when an ad drew my attention. “Te vaak met je ouders naar de huisarts geweest?” (“Have you been to the doctor with your parents too many times?”) It appeared to be a public campaign promoting Dutch language as a connecting factor for all people living in the Netherlands. My neighbour often uses her five- and eight-years-old daughters to translate things for her. She has two little Turkish-Dutch-Turkish interpreters at her disposal. The ad was targeting children whose parents don’t speak enough Dutch to function independently in all aspects of their everyday life.
Once again I thought of the difference between Netherlands and Ukraine. Ukraine still believes in evolution, survival of the fittest. No arrangements for wheelchairs on the streets and public buildings. No walking paths and ticking traffic lights for the blind. Deaf are aliens. So are foreigners who don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian. Public campaigns to encourage people to be nice to each other? You must be kidding! The state doesn’t have the money for that. All the money goes to organising of numerous elections. And in the meanwhile – billboards that are not occupied by somebody’s election campaign are most likely to carry alcohol or tobacco advertisements.