Anglo-European Chauvinism in Dealing with Ukrainian Refugees

African students await evacuation from Ukraine.

During the debate on the UN General Assembly resolution concerning Ukraine, representatives from the Caribbean and Africa spoke to the unjust treatment of Ukrainian refugees of African origin. The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, for example, expressed dismay that people of African descent are being singled out unfairly as the refugee crisis unfolds, calling for equal, fair treatment of all peoples. South Africa's representative urged European countries to take steps to end the current situation where African nationals and people of African descent at the borders of Ukraine were not allowed to cross and move to safety. For example, African migrants and students in Ukraine were prohibited from boarding trains and buses that could take them to safety. A group of Jamaican students was forced to walk 20 kilometres when they were forced off of a bus en route to Poland.

Margaret Kimberley, in a March 2 article in Black Agenda Report, brought out the racism and chauvinism being promoted by the U.S. and Europe.

"By now everyone knows that Ukraine's flag is blue and yellow. It is impossible to miss as the Empire State Building in New York, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris have all been bathed in those colors. Nearly every city and town across the United States has followed suit and politicians ranging from local legislators to members of congress shout 'Stand with Ukraine!' at every opportunity," she wrote. Ukrainian flags were also prevalent at Biden's State of the Union speech.

She continued, "Ukraine is upheld as a bastion of 'civilization' which is supposed to put it off limits for war and suffering. The quiet part is now being spoken out loud. We are told that Ukrainians are more deserving of concern because they are Europeans.

"Ukraine's deputy chief prosecutor said as much in a BBC interview. 'It is very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed...' He wasn't alone in his assessment. An NBC reporter was asked why Poland was willing to admit Ukrainians even as it turned away other refugees. 'Just to put it bluntly, these are not refugees from Syria, these are refugees from neighbouring Ukraine. That, quite frankly, is part of it. These are Christians, they are white, they're ... um... very similar to the people that live in Poland.'

"CBS followed suit, ‘This isn't a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan who has seen conflict rage for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European -- I have to choose those words carefully -- city where you wouldn't expect that or hope that it was going to happen.'"

She brings out that war and privation worldwide are a direct result of U.S./NATO actions. It is the U.S./NATO aggression that destroyed the nation of Libya, that has attempted to do the same in Syria, that waged war against Iraq and Afghanistan, that foments war across African countries with U.S., French and British troops all there. The U.S. and NATO cause suffering and justify it by saying the people of Africa, Asia and Latin America are "uncivilized" with no rights that need to be respected.

A study by the Watson Institute of Brown University showed that more than 38 million people in North Africa, Western and Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa have been displaced by the U.S. and its allies since 2001. The humanitarian disasters begun years ago are ongoing, as Ukraine, Afghanistan, Haiti and many other countries show. The U.S. imposes wars of aggression, sanctions, destroys economies, unleashes chaos, robs assets and then punishes the many refugees its actions created. All of it causes more suffering and death as nations are robbed of the ability to care for their people. 

Who is civilized and who is not?

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 3 - March 6, 2022

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