Author Topic: Ukraine  (Read 7913 times)


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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #240 on: April 09, 2022, 10:13:35 pm »

of equal concern, the activists said, are revelations that Black students and residents have been the targets of racism and discrimination even as more than a million people have fled the approaching Russian military juggernaut.

“I found out about this a couple of days ago, but I knew well in advance that there were Black migrants and students from around the world there. Was I surprised? No, of course not,” said Gassama, UndocuBlack’s national director of policy and advocacy. “It’s so unfortunate, so disappointing, but Black people tend to bear the brunt of cruelty. I have heard that it’s not Polish border guards but Ukrainian border patrols doing this.”

“People are fleeing a war but still find time to be racist,” Gassama said.
under the hashtag #AfricansinUkraine, social media sites, news outlets and other entities have been deluged with personal stories via videos, cellphone footage and interviews with Black Africans, Black Ukrainians and international students from Nigeria, Ghana, India, Morocco showing the racism, discrimination and hostility they’ve faced. They spoke of the double standard of white Ukrainians getting preference over Black, South Asian and Mediterranean people and their studied pushback against the perpetrators.

Black and brown men and women have been forced off trains and buses, others have been verbally and physically abused and still more have been refused entry in Poland by Ukrainian security forces and border guards.

Foreign students tell of having walked scores and sometimes hundreds of miles from where they were living to try to reach the border after being turned away at train stations, bus depots checkpoints and at border crossings. Some say they were forced either out of lines or told to go to the back after being told that only white Ukrainians would be accommodated.

There are also scattered stories of Black people being beaten and threatened with weapons and refused entry into Poland by border guards. And all of this has been playing out in the midst, not just of a bloody conflict, but also freezing winter weather with the Black students and residents enduring winter temperatures with little or no food, water or blankets.

Representatives of civil rights organizations, civil society, professionals and others disgusted with what they’ve seen have been vocal in their opposition and have responded by starting crowdfunding projects on Instagram and other social media to support beleaguered students. Students are stranded in Ukraine because flights out of the country are grounded, leaving African governments unable to fly students from their countries out of the war zone.

France, 24, said some Africans have left Ukraine. A reporter spoke to several students last month at Lviv train station in western Ukraine who explained that they were turned back by Ukrainian border guards while attempting to cross into Poland.

“They stopped us at the border and told us that Blacks were not allowed. But we could see white people going through,” said Moustapha Bagui Sylla, a student from Guinea.
“I was so disheartened as I watched the newsreel and heard the voice of one young woman saying that they came into Ukraine, accepted and were granted homes and jobs. But since the conflict started, they noticed a marked difference such as having to wait in tough, stressful and demanding conditions,” said Turner, a pastor at Victory of Praise Church in Stockton, California. “Darker complected people have been treated differently. When the person being interviewed explained what was going on, the interviewer just said thanks and didn’t pursue it.”

“It’s a worldwide crisis but we always seem to be the underdog, are expendable, Turner continued. “We can’t just be myopic about what’s going on here. We have to avoid distractions and turn this into a fight of Black bodies globally.”

The issue is so concerning that the African Union, the NAACP, a coalition of Black lawyers led by Ben Crump and the United Nations have each commented on and condemned the treatment meted out to these international students. Crump and his colleagues filed an urgent appeal to the United Nations last month on behalf of African refugees facing racial discrimination in Ukraine and Poland.

Meanwhile, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said on Twitter that his organization is working with the Congressional Black Caucus, civil rights organizations, and international partner organizations “to ensure the safety of Africans seeking refuge amid the crisis in Ukraine.”

A wide cross-section of critics has vociferously condemned the blatant racism, demanding that border guards and security forces respect the human rights of Black and brown people be respected and give students safe passage without the specter of a racist double standard determining who gets into another country hanging over the process.