Ukraine crisis exposes Europe’s racist bent

Thursday, March 10th, 2022 00:29 | By
Firefighters work on an inferno after bombings on the eastern Ukraine town of Chuguiv. AFP

Racial discrimination is a vice that the West has managed to hide or disguise for a long time. It is also a reality that Western countries strive not to focus on as a major tenet of their oft touted respect for human rights, knowing very well that they live in a glass house.

Indeed, racial discrimination in Ukraine at this time when the country is crying out to the rest of the world for protection against Russia, is the last story that they would have wished exposed.

It is also ironical for Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to appeal to people of goodwill worldwide to join Ukrainians in fighting for democracy, amid the blatant acts witnessed by the international community against non-White immigrants, particularly Blacks and Arabs.

Instances of blacks being turned back, stopped or detained at Ukrainian border points as ‘Whites’ were allowed passage is unforgivable. Some patriotic and courageous African leaders rose up to the occasion. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari spoke for the rest of Africa when he condemned the racial profiling maltreatment of Africans desperate to leave Ukraine.

Significantly, he noted that the blocking of Africans at the border was against the United Nations Convention that gave everyone the right of passage to safety during wars.

An official of the South African foreign office also voiced the country’s protest. Even more farcical were some White interviewees in Western media who decried the death of Ukrainians in the war, saying that the scenes were reminiscent of war in countries like Syria.  Now, we all know that the West has the longest history of deadly wars among all the world’s societies. In fact, the West’s meddling is solely to blame for starting the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war.

Racial discrimination in Ukraine has proved, yet again, that the colonial mentality never left Europeans, and they still believe that the African is a lesser being. That is why when push comes to shove, like the way it has in Ukraine, they can easily be sacrificed if a choice has to be made between them and the ‘Whites’.    Conversely, in the ongoing crisis, the hearts of ordinary non-Europeans, particularly Africans, is with Russia, as Ukraine loses the propaganda war. Africans have recalled their history and noted that Russia actually helped in the fight for independence against the European powers in several countries.

Writing in “InDepthNews”, Kester Klomegah notes that “Russia not only supported African countries in liberating themselves from the yoke of colonialism and attaining political independence but also facilitated in the UN General Assembly adopting in 1960 the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.”

The Russo-Ukraine saga also rekindles bitter memories of the way Europeans treated Africans during the Second World War. While the blacks contributed immensely in fighting their colonial masters against themselves, Europeans persisted with their racist perceptions and failed to treat Africans as equal beings amid their sterling performance.

It is also the reason that Blacks and even Hispanics in the United States  still suffer from racial discrimination; a fact that was laid bare for the whole world in the racially skewed response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The two races bore the brunt of the crisis in both medical and economic terms.

The killing of Blacks by White policemen has also reached pandemic levels in the US, as symbolised by the unjustified killing of Black American George Floyd in May 2020. Either by design or by default, blacks bear the burden of nearly all vices in White societies.

Africans should seek partners who value and respect them. Blacks must also stand by their genuine partners and those who have stood by them regardless of others’ prejudiced opinions.  The Ukraine saga has shown that it will take more generations for Europeans to accept Africans.

— The writer comments on international affairs

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