London: (By Hannah Chowdhry) Disturbing news of blatant racism faced by black and Asian people seeking a way out of Ukraine while the nation is beset with war, have been confirmed by the United Nations (UN).
Many of the black and Indian people who were being discriminated against were studying medicine in Ukrainian Universities, were they found the cost of education was less expensive than other European Nations.
The BBC covered one woman’s plight who explained that she was told that ‘Black people can walk’.
In her description you can hear that not everyone held the same racist position. Apparently one traffic warden advised the woman to rest after noticing her tired appearance. But when officials and people in authority are openly racist not caring that the world is watching them it is a cause for concern.
The videos we have shared evidence the fact that even men in military uniforms are enacting the racist treatment against the black and Asian community. For all intents and purposes it seems that their actions have been approved by senior officials, as they brazenly, provide extremely prejudicial segregation on the entrance to trains, buses and at the Polish Borders.
A mother of a 9-month old baby has declared that she was moved away from the entrance of a train at gunpoint, illustrating a base level hatred for blacks. Especially when you consider her vulnerability and the use of such excessive force. Read Daily Telegraph (here)
In an interview 4 days earlier Victoria Orakpo a Nigerian Medical student spoke of her love for Ukraine. Though she expressed her fears for her safety and anxiety that flights out were being stopped due to closure of airspace, she said:
“I really hope Ukraine stabilises because this has been my home for seven years.
“I love this country so much, it’s given me so much…” Watch her full interview (here).
So the experience of black people has not been all bad and we must be wary not to shun a whole society for the actions of some of their people. Our support for Ukraine through this oppression from Russia must not waiver. If anything the support of wider nations, will hopefully help change the minds of those contaminated with racism.
The Nigerian Government has responded to reports of racism and after first condemning the displayed prejudice they have been pragmatic about helping their citizens.
Letter telling Nigerians how and where to get support in leaving Ukraine and heading to Poland.
Apparently the main concerns have been border officials at Poland and Ukraine, whereas Romania has been much more hospital to the international BAME community.
India too have been providing support to their Citizens:
The Democratic Republic of Congo Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula has confirmed through Twitter, that he will meet with the Polish ambassador to help citizens travel across the border.
Translation: The Gov Rep is following the tragedy experienced by the Compatriots in Ukraine and deplores it. We have contacted UNHCR and OIM for assistance. I will receive tomorrow Tuesday 1/3, Ambassador Poland in the DRC for access authorization on their territory and wait for the needs of our Embassy.
Pakistan has had a lot of success with the evacuation of their citizens from Ukraine, details can be found(here). The sterling work is believed to be a consequence of the professionalism of Noel Israel Khokhar, the highest ranking Christian serving officer in the Pakistan Army and Pakistani Ambassador to the Ukraine.
Ukraine has a history of racism at football grounds. In 2013 had to play a football match behind closed doors, for displaying neo-nazi banners, making monkey noises and Nazi salutes at a San Marino match (click here).
Only two years (2015) later during a match against Chelsea FC, fans from Dynamo Kiev brutally beat several black fans and a few white fans who were trying to protect them. Read more (here).
The phenomenon of racism at football grounds is global but particularly so in Eastern Europe. England Fans will no doubt recall the shocking treatment of black players by fans of Hungary only last year (click here).
England has it’s own problems with racism in football however and the disgusting treatment of three young players after England lost to Italy in the European Championships last, is still a national shame. Read more (here).
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“We continue to stand with people of Ukraine against the unrighteous Russian invasion.
“But the displayed racism is an abhorrent act that reminds us of the ongoing social injustice that Black and Asian communities face.
“Even in the midst of war, darker skin pigmentation ensures people will suffer more.”
“The disproportionate treatment of black and Asian people at the Ukraine-Polish is a poor indictment on both nations.
“How would Martin Luther King feel today knowing his speech at Washington is needed by the world now, as much as it was when he was challenging for equality.”
You can watch Rev Martin Luther Kings address (here). We encourage you all to do so.
British Asian Christian Association, is seeking to help the many Black and Indian refugees who we fear will receive an uneven treatment in Poland. Once trustees have decided on what help we can provide we will share details on our website.