European borders are open, but not for Africans. White folks in Ukraine are blocking Black people from getting on trains, dragging Black people off buses, denying shelter to Black people in freezing temperatures, and holding Black students at gunpoint. The mainstream media, however, is not talking about this. We have seen lately how worldwide individuals, countries and NGO organisations are coming together to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people against Vladimir Putin led Russian aggression. As the whole world is collectively praying and coming together for the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian people are leaving Africans to die.
Amidst the present humanitarian tragedy, many viral videos have shown clearly how the Ukrainian people and security agents locked arms to prevent Africans from boarding trains that could take them to safety. It is infuriating, hurtful, and saddening because the entire world supports fighting for freedom. Ukrainians and Polish authorities are busy doing the opposite when it comes to Africans. Several videos depict how Africans are stranded and left sitting at the border in freezing temperatures.
What do we name it – when you systematically separate people according to their origin or descent? When black people and “foreigners” are checked on the streets and squares more often than others? When children from other countries basically have worse chances at school? Ah, here is the answer: European-style Christian charity!
Many European journalists, analysts, and reporters commenting on Ukraine´s events have failed to understand that any human can descend so low to animalistic tendencies irrespective of origin or social status. These commentators say: “This is not a developing Third World nation. I am sorry. It is emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed, children being killed every day with Putin’s missiles”. These people are saying that they cannot understand why Palestinians are in their situation; They are saying that they cannot understand why Central Americans, Mexicans, Africans or why anybody who is not white is in any situation similar to the current Ukrainian situation. Furthermore, what that means is that they do not consider anyone who is not white civilised.
If we analyse what happened in the last refugee crisis in Europe in 2013, along with other EU countries that were very hesitant to accept refugees, a new, different, but unfair position is now present. If put bluntly, this new unfair treatment could be summarised as “these are not refugees from Syria. These are refugees from neighbouring Ukraine. Through these actions, these people are saying war and crisis are normal to non-Europeans. The happenings and differential treatment of the refugees in the EU, Poland and Ukraine have shown that Europeans are charlatans who change their so-called democratic and human rights rules according to their whims and caprices.
Ruthless exclusion – When it comes to refugees in Europe, all humans are not equal. It is even more apparent how mercilessly refugees from other regions of the world continue to be marginalised in Europe. On the Greek islands, boat people are stuck in internment camps. This time around, the people from Ukraine was not excluded but warmly received and welcomed. Even after the Balkan route hurdle was overcome in autumn 2015, they were welcomed with batons and barbed wire in Hungary. In 2022, refugee Ukrainians will be allowed to travel by train for free in Hungary. In Calais, France, food is forbidden to wandering refugees. On Poland’s eastern border, facilities to forcibly repel non-European migrants remain intact.
According to the UN’s International Organisation for Migration, more than 2,700 migrants died last year on flight routes in and out of Europe: It did not take Russian artillery or a war of aggression. It was simply the everyday life of European politics. How good that this everyday life no longer applies to the people from Ukraine. How devastating for everyone else. Unfortunately, no lessons have been learned from history.
However, the same old contempt for humanity, the same arrogance and primitive hatred and racial discrimination are unfortunately flaring up again at the moment.