Saturday, March 25

Blond hair and blue eyes, article by Joan Cañete

The first refugee camp I visited It was erected on the border of Chaman, in the south between Afghanistan and Pakistan (between Quetta and Kandahar), in the midst of the US war in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks. It was a big city of tents with the UN symbol in the middle of the desert, infested with flies. My photos from that coverage show barefoot children, bonfires of burning garbage, a lot of dust, long lines to collect food and water rations. The photos, imperfect, do not reach where memory does reach: the heat, the quiet conversations, the stern looks and a smell that I later rediscovered in other places: in the camps on the border between Iraq and Jordan, in the ruins of the razed to the ground in Jenin in the West Bank, in the permanent camps in southern Lebanon, in the bullet-riddled UNRWA buildings south of Rafah in Gaza. It is the smell of fear, poverty and uncertainty. It is the smell of a dark present and a future that only looks worse.

I sense that same aura in the images of the refugees that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has generated. It is estimated that more than three million Ukrainians have left the country, a refugee crisis so fast that it is unparalleled. To compare: at the end of 2020, some 2.6 million refugees lived in EU countries due to armed conflicts, according to data from the Union itself. The “avalanche” (to use the terminology of the extreme right) unleashed by the Syrian, Afghan and war conflict refugees in Africa was less than the number of people displaced by the war in Ukraine in just a few weeks.

Also Read  25 Ukrainians open the San Gil de Plasencia hostel provided by Placeat as temporary accommodation

a european affair

It is hard to argue that the Ukrainian refugees are being treated much better by Europe than the Syrians, Afghans and Sub-Saharans. That the reason is that it is blonde and blue-eyed people It is a simplification, but it is clear that the Ukraine crisis is perceived in Europe as its own affair while the Syrian crisis, for example, was never seen that way. Not only by governments, but also by the population, No convoys of taxis and buses were chartered to Lesbos to pick up refugees. The ‘us’ and the ‘them’, the color of the skin and the God to whom one prays are filters that modulate solidarity. Ukrainian refugees do not find barbed wire or concertinas, but hugs and blankets; they don’t risk their lives fleeing and they don’t go bankrupt on the journey. As there are no restrictions, as the doors are open, there are no mafias. Ukrainian children break our hearts by fleeing the war with their stuffed animals and they do not appear dead on our beaches.

Why? It certainly helps that from the beginning the European population has not received any dissonant messages. With one voice, the population has been told that this is a war on European soil, a war that affects us directly and that, to a certain extent, is directed against us. Therefore, helping refugees is helping ourselves. Syria, Afghanistan and Africa are not perceived from Europe as something of their own. There is, of course, a trace of racism (the blonde hair and blue eyes) but political unanimity and an unambiguous message are very important. We therefore draw a conclusion: the reception of refugees is not a problem of means, quantity or integration; it is a matter of will.

Also Read  ¿Sabías que la mozzarella que comes lleva titanio y las natillas, petróleo?

poor refugees

Related news

For now, this will favors European countries complying in an exemplary manner with the obligation to offer asylum. But it is important to be vigilant, because this fact may change if the war drags on. Racism is undoubtedly a reason that hampers the reception of refugees. But it should not be forgotten that the class is also. Syrian refugees are Arab, Muslim and poor. Today, the economic aspect does not influence the good treatment given to Ukrainian refugees. But in a scenario of inflation, high energy prices and supply problems like the one that some advance, solidarity can falter and be threatened, because the poor are the perfect scapegoats, even if they are blond and blue-eyed.

It is therefore time to take advantage of this political and social unanimity regarding the good treatment that Ukrainian refugees deserve to help cement the values ​​of solidarity and the obligation to offer asylum to those who flee from war and misery. The denunciation of double standards and hypocrisy by itself is sterile.he; It is time to enunciate rather than denounce, build consensus rather than become strong in one’s own ideological niches. The good treatment of the Ukrainian refugees is an opportunity for the refugees who will come after them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *