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Racism: Rearing its head in conflict

By Mumtaz Moosa-Saley

As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia escalates, the world watches as many are forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in other countries willing to accept them.

Nobody wants to be a refugee, and no person wants to leave their country unless they face untold injustice, oppression, poverty, or better circumstances. The ideal is that when people faced with such situations arrive at the borders of other countries, they should be given asylum and care.

However, that is the ideal as we have been exposed to several scenes of racist and discriminatory behaviour by countries in Europe and biased reporting from journalists as the conflict unfolds and affects that world in many ways.

As hordes, locals and foreigners try to escape the escalating conflict, reports and video footage expose the rife racism being unleashed at neighbouring countries’ stations and even borders. First-hand accounts reveal the humiliation and pain experienced by those on the receiving end as soldiers allow Ukrainians first, then Indians, and only then people of other races.

In scenes reminiscent of Nazi prison camps, armed men are seen using whips to push back people of colour to allow the white people to enter the busses and trains first. Countries like Poland will only accept Ukrainians, which has literally left all others out in the cold.

On the heels of the rather telling videos comes the social media stories of first-hand accounts of these events. If that wasn’t enough, journalists have fallen into the trap of throwing objectivity to the wind during their reporting. The present narrative exposes the clear bias and discrimination and white supremacy and privilege.

I support those who are forced to face hardship, loss of their homes, livelihoods and even face death, like the people of Ukraine, presently. However, I  firmly believe that no one on earth should have to face racism in such times, and sadly the world has proven that everyone else who is not fair-skinned is seen as a third-class citizen no matter where they come from.



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