Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, hugging children in one arms and personal effects in the other, were warmly welcomed by the leaders of next to countries like Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania. However, while hospitality is appreciated, it has also underlined the seriousness double-standard in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, especially Syrians.
Syrian refugee Ahmad al-Hariri, who fled the war in son country for neighboring Lebanon 10 years ago, spent the last decade hoping in vain to escape has a new the life in Europe.
Watch European nations open their arms to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in less than a week, father of three can’t help but compare their fates.
“We wonder why Ukrainians were welcome in all countries while we Syrian refugees are still in tents and remain under the snow, facing dead and no one look for us?” he told Reuters. in a refugee center where 25 families are accommodated on the edge of the Mediterranean city of Sidon.
In the Arabic worldwhere 12 millions Syrians have been uprooted by war, critics ranging from al-Hariri to activists and cartoonists contrast the Western response to the refugee crisis triggered by Russia invasion of Ukraine with the way Europe has sought to hold back Syrian refugees and others in 2015.
Some recalled images of refugees walking for days in harsh weatheror lose lives in perilous sea crossings as they attempted to cross the borders of Europe.
Monday, four days after Russia launched son attackThe European Union said at least 400,000 refugees had entered the bloc from Ukraine, which has land borders with four EU states.
From millions more are expected and the EU is preparing measures that would offer temporary residence permits as well as access at work and social well-being – a quick opening of its doors at odds with his response to the wars in Syria and elsewhere.
In early 2021, 10 years after the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, EU states took in 1 million Syrian refugees and asylum seekers, of that Germany alone took more than half. More of they arrived before a 2016 deal in that the EU has paid billions of euros for Turkey will continue to host 3.7 millions of Syrians.
This time, the welcome was immediate.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister described Ukrainians as smart, educated and highly qualified, stating: “They are Europeans whose airport has been just bombarded, who are under fire.” Bulgaria said it help everyone comes from Ukraine, where there are about 250,000 ethnic Bulgarians.
Last year 3,800 Syrians wanted protection in Bulgaria and 1,850 were granted refugee or humanitarian status. Syrians say most refugees do not pass via Bulgaria to the wealthiest European states.
the Polish government which suffered heavy international critical last year for to push back against a vague of immigrants crossing over from Belarus, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, welcomed those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
In Hungary, which built a barrier along its southern border to prevent a repeat of the influx of 2015 of people from the Middle East and Asia, arrival of refugees from neighboring Ukraine triggered an outpouring of support and offers of transportation, short-term housing, clothing and food.
Some of the language from these leaders has been disturbing to Arab migrants and hurtful.
Hungary and Poland, for example, both say that refugees from the Middle East who arrive at their borders have already crusader other safe countries who have a duty to provide shelter.
“These are not the refugees we are used to…these people are Europeans,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov told reporters earlier this week. of the Ukrainians. “These people are intelligent, they are educated people…. That is not here vague of refugees to which we are accustomed, people we were not sure on their identity, people with unclear past, who could even have been terrorists…”
“In other words,” he added”there is no longer a single European country that is afraid of the current vague of refugees.”
Change in Your of some of Europe’s most extreme anti-migration leaders went on strike – from ‘We’re not going to let anyone into “We let everyone in.”
These comments were made just three months apart by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In the first, in In December, it addressed migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa. In the second this week, he addressed people from Ukraine.
Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister also defended the different approaches. “I must refuse to make comparisons between those fleeing war and those trying to enter the country illegally,” he told a United Nations meeting. in Geneva.
The reception was facilitated by the fact that Ukraine is home has a grand ethnic hungarian community.
Ties like these have led some western journalists to suggest that the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine is different from crises in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, because Europeans could identify more closer to the victims. Their comments sparked a vague of conviction on social media accusing the West of bias. clips of the reports were widely publicized and heavily criticized across the region.
“A refugee is a refugee”
Syrian journalist Okba Mohammad says this statement “mixes racism and Islamophobia”.
Mohammad fled his hometown of Dara in Syria in 2018. He Lives Now in Spain, and with other Syrian refugees founded first bilingual magazine in Arabic and Spanish. He described a meaning of “deja vu” as he followed events in Ukraine. He also had taken shelter underground to protect himself from Russian bombs. He also fought for board a crowded bus to flee his city. He also was separated from son family At the border.
“A refugee is a refugee, whether European, African or Asian,” Mohammad said.
Some journalists are also criticized for descriptive of Ukrainian refugees. “These are prosperous middle classes people”said an Al-Jazeera English TV presenter.
“These are obviously not refugees trying to get away from the areas in Middle East … in North Africa. They are watching like any European family what you would do live next increased to.”
The channel issued an apology saying the comments were insensitive and irresponsible.
A television journalist on we network CBS describes Kyiv as a “relatively civilized, relatively European” city, in unlike other war zones. Others said Ukraine was different because those fleeing were middle class or watched Netflix.
CBS reporter Charlie D’Agata apologized, saying he tried to convey the magnitude of the dispute. CBS did not immediately respond to a request for further away comment.
Nadim Houry, executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative, parties said of the media coverage were disturbing and revealed “the ignorance of refugees from elsewhere of the world who also have the same aspirations as the Ukrainians.”
Timetables and others critics also say that some governments are showing double standards on the issue of volunteers who want for fight in Ukraine against Russian forces.
Liz Truss, British Foreign Secretary on Sunday backed President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for people for join a international force for fight Russian troops. “Absolutely. If people want for support this struggleI would like support let them do this,” she told BBC television.
In contrast, British police have warned Britons traveling to Syria to help fight Bashar Assad’s regime eight years ago they could be arrested on their return, saying that they can constitute a security risk UK
The British Foreign Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Truss remarks. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the situation was different for fighters who joined groups like Daesh in Syria, but that the government would discourage people to go to Ukraine.
As more and more people rushed to flee Ukraine, several reports emerged of non-white residents, including Nigerians, Indians and Lebanese, stranded at borders. Unlike Ukrainians, many non-Europeans need visas to enter neighboring countries countries. Embassies around world strived to help their citizens in pass through.
Shared videos on social media under the hashtag #AfricansinUkraine allegedly showed African students prevented from boarding trains out of Ukraine, to make space for Ukrainians.
The African Union in Nairobi said on Monday everyone has the right to cross international borders to escape conflict. The mainland body says “reports that Africans are celibate out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be outrageously racist and in infringe of international law.”
He urged all countries for “show the same empathy and support to all people fleeing war despite their racial identity.
Polish Ambassador to the UN Krzysztof Szczerski told the General Assembly on Monday that the affirmations of race- or discrimination based on religion at the Polish border are “a complete lie and a terrible insult to us.”
“Immigrants of all countries who suffered Russian aggression or whose life is in danger risk may seek refuge in my country,” he said.
Szczerski said people of some 125 nationalities had been admitted to Poland on Monday morning from Ukraine including Ukrainian, Uzbek, Nigerian, Indian, Moroccan, Pakistani, Afghan, Belarusian, Algerian people and more. At totalhe said, 300,000 people arrived during the crisis.
When over a million people spent in Europe in 2015, support for refugees fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were relatively high at first. There was also moments of hostility – as when a Hungarian camera the operator was filmed kicking and possibly tripping migrants along the country’s border with Serbia.
Some say Arabic countries should have done more for support the military struggle against Assad, who grew up out of widespread popular demonstrations against him in 2011, and helped refugees more. In addition to Syria’s neighbours, Jordan and Lebanon, Arab countries countries took in some of those displaced by war people.
“We don’t blame the European countrieswe blame the Arab countries”, said Ali Khlaif, alive in a tent camp near the town in northwestern Syria of Azaz. “European countries welcome those of their people. We blame our Arab brothers, not others.”