Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Through their eyes

March 18, 2022 by  
Filed under Extra

How the war in Ukraine is affecting Black people fleeing a deadly conflict

By Kimberly Bailey Tureaud

We have all seen the sad images out of Ukraine that have resulted from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s evil invasion. His monstrous dictatorship is using deadly force and war crimes against civilians to take a nation from the Ukrainian people. The strength shown by Ukraine is remarkable, as everyday people have taken to the streets to save their country. Even though this war seems so far away from us, we should all remember that crimes against humanity hurt us all. 

Looking at how many Ukrainian people are trying to escape, images and stories are emerging that show how Black people are also affected by this horrific war. Social media has provided rare glimpses of the faces and culture of Blacks who are trying to escape the war. Many Black people in Ukraine are from Morocco, Nigeria and Egypt — and 20% are Black students in the country for higher education and medical school training. 

In order to bring awareness to the state of Black people in Ukraine, some African activists have started their own media outreach showing how Black people seem to be ignored and mistreated upon their escape from war in Ukraine. They have started the hashtag #AfricansinUkraine to bring awareness to the issue of racism and discrimination. Videos and images are posted to show how Black African citizens are being denied evacuation from Ukraine. 

Some Black people in Ukraine have reported via social media that they are being denied seats on trains and buses leaving the country because of the color of their skin and nationality. While those who are native Ukrainian or of lighter complexion are being accommodated with transportation to escape the war. 

With the harsh cold weather and a massive exodus out of Ukraine, Black people are reportedly being told to wait to board trains and buses or totally denied access to leave — while others are allowed exit via available transportation. 

It is reported that over a million people have fled Ukraine thus far and there is not any new accounting of how many Black people have been able to leave without interference, denial, and mistreatment. The African Union (AU) has released a statement stating that the chairs of the AU are “disturbed” by the reports of discrimination. “Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach of International Law,” the statement reads. “In this regard, the Chairpersons urge all countries to respect International law and show empathy and support to all people fleeing the war notwithstanding their racial identity.”

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