Suzanne Harrington: All people fleeing war deserve help, no matter what they look like

Suzanne Harrington: All people fleeing war deserve help, no matter what they look like

As we watch helplessly the horror being meted out on ordinary people by a dictator-led military, have you noticed how this atrocity in Ukraine is being reported?

The Telegraph calls it “an attack on civilisation itself.” Its journalist writes, “They seem so like us….[Ukrainian] people watch Netflix and have Instagram accounts….War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations. It can happen to anyone.”

Then there’s CBS’s senior foreign correspondent, saying how “This isn’t a place like Iraq or Afghanistan…. [Kyiv] is a relatively civilised, relatively European city where you wouldn’t expect this to happen.”

On France’s BFM TV news channel, a journalist reminds us that “We’re not talking here about Syrians fleeing the bombing….we’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives.”

An ITV journalist says how “This is not a developing, third world nation. This is Europe!” And Al Jazeera says : “Looking at them, the way they are dressed, these are prosperous middle class people. They are not obviously refugees looking to get away from areas in the Middle East that are still in a big state of war.”

Hang on a sec. This is what an ‘obvious refugee’ looks like: frightened, fleeing, exhausted, terrified for their children, hungry, desperate for a safe place to sleep, to shower, to regroup. Trapped in the permanent present, unable to plan, all power and agency stripped away. Possibly grieving. Traumatised, in shock. Everything lost. Connections, culture, roots, status – all ripped up and ripped out.

Whether a refugee drives the same car as ‘us’ or rides a donkey, whether they have an Etsy shop and an Airbnb account or have never heard of Etsy and Airbnb, the forced displacement experience is universal. Utterly shattering.

Yet the reporting of the terrorising of Ukrainian people has been so openly racist towards those suffering in other war zones beyond Ukraine that the US-based Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association issued a statement, condemning and reject

Read More

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.