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If only all refugees were treated like Ukrainians

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New Frame, March 2022

It was inevitable that when brown-skinned Afghan refugees fleeing war were turned away from European borders over the past few years, the callous actions of these governments would come back to haunt them. A whopping one million people fled Ukraine from Russia’s violent invasion in the span of only a week. They are being welcomed – as refugees should be – into neighbouring nations, inviting accusations of racist double standards.

Poland offers the most egregious example of national racism. Its government, whose nation borders Ukraine, has warmly welcomed traumatised Ukrainians just months after turning away Afghans. If these optics weren’t bad enough, Polish nationalists have sought out Black people who are among the refugees fleeing Ukraine and violently attacked them. According to The Guardian, “three Indians were beaten up by a group of five men, leaving one of them hospitalised”. Africans studying in Ukraine joined the exodus after Russia’s invasion and have been stopped at the Polish border. Poland might as well erect a giant sign on its border declaring “whites only”.

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