• Much of Europe, Australia, and the West as a whole are showing their support for Ukrainians.
  • Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine sparked international outrage.
  • Double standards have been alleged for using their media channels.
  • “With all regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, this isn’t a region where violence has been burning for decades.”
  • “These are not individuals trying to get away from parts of the country in North Africa, they look like any European family that you would live next door.”
  • “They are individuals with blonde hair and blue eyes.”
  • Ukrainians are the victims but the Rest? They are pretending.

The Conflict in Ukraine

Much of Europe, Australia, and the West as a whole are showing their support for Ukrainians as the Russian assault of Ukraine enters its fourth day. After months of massive military buildup along the border, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his soldiers into Ukraine on Thursday, marking the start of the conflict.

Protests against the occupation should be treated with seriousness regardless of which country they represent.

Casualties and Dislocations

According to Ukraine’s health minister, the invasion has already claimed the lives of 198 Ukrainians, three of whom were children. More than 360,000 Ukrainians have left the nation, according to the United Nations, with the bulk of them walking across the frontier into Poland.

An International Outrage

Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine sparked international outrage, instant sanctions from the United States and other nations attacking Russian banks, oil refineries, and military exports by the UN Security Council, and lengthy emergency discussions.

Double Standards

Many people on social media have expressed their disbelief that such a worldwide reaction, which involves Russia’s exclusion from certain cultural activities and the labelling of it as an outcast in sports, has occurred so quickly.

Double standards have been alleged for using their media channels to both applaud Ukraine’s military struggle against Russian forces and to express their sorrow at how such a war could occur in a “civilised” country.

Violence in a “Sophisticated Society”

“With all regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, this isn’t a region where violence has been burning for decades,” CBS News senior reporter Charlie D’Agata said in Kyiv on Friday. A “sophisticated, reasonably European—I have to select those adjectives cautiously, too—the city where you wouldn’t anticipate it or wish for it.”

Comments made by him on social media have been received with mockery and outrage, with many highlighting how his views have led to the further dehumanisation of persons who are not white or European.

A just response.

In the aftermath of the incident, D’Agata apologised, claiming that he spoke: “in a manner I regret”.

People with Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes

Former Ukrainian deputy general prosecutor David Sakvarelidze was interviewed by the BBC on Saturday. This is “extremely traumatic for me since I witness European individuals with blonde hair and blue eyes being slain every day,” Sakvarelidze added.

“I comprehend and, of course, appreciate the sentiment,” the BBC anchor said.

European Family that You Would Live Next Door to

Peter Dobbie, an Al Jazeera English host, described Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict as “thriving, middle-class people” who “are not refugees attempting to get away from regions in the Middle East that are still in a big military conflict; these are not individuals trying to get away from parts of the country in North Africa, they look like any European family that you would live next door”

As a result, the media network issued an apology, claiming the statements were “inappropriate, offensive, and irresponsible”.

“Al Jazeera English is devoted to fairness, diversity, and competence in all of its work,” the network states. “Disciplinary actions” would be taken against those responsible, the company stated in an announcement.

Ukrainian Freedom Fighters and Palestinian Terrorists

One social media user observed, “Amazing major Western media offers lovely coverage of citizens fighting occupation by creating Molotov cocktails. For example, “if they were dark people doing the same in Yemen or Palestine, they would be considered terrorists worthy of US-Israeli and US-Saudi drone attack.

This isn’t about Syrian refugees escaping the bombardment of the government-supported by Putin, but rather Europeans escaping in vehicles that look like ours to save their lives,” journalist Philippe Corbe remarked on France’s most popular cable news programme, BFM TV.

Skin is a Passport

An essay by British writer Daniel Hannan in The Telegraph, in which he said that conflict no longer occurs among “impoverished and distant communities,” was widely criticised online.

Open borders for Ukrainian refugees are also supported by European politicians, who use terms like “intellectuals” and “European” — a far cry from the scare tactics employed by governments against African, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian migrants and refugees.

One Twitter user put it this way: “Skin is a passport… epidermal citizenship.”

Refugees from the Middle East vs Refugees from Ukraine

French National Assembly member Jean-Louis Bourlanges said that the Ukrainian migrants would be “an immigration of outstanding quality, intellectuals, one that we will be able to benefit from.”

There is a widespread forgetting of previous wars in Europe, such as Bosnia in the 1990s and Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s until 1998, due to liberal media portrayal of it as Europe’s biggest security problem since WWII ended. In the post-World War II period, Europe outsourced several conflicts to nations that had previously been colonised by Europe.

“No Nation has Gone Through This Before”

Some observers have given high acclaim to Ukraine’s resiliency and defence skills, suggesting that no other nation or people have gone through anything like this before.

Crowdsourcing and setting up online contributions to finance Kyiv’s military without incurring any government response or termination of their financial accounts have been criticised by critics as hypocritical.

Parallels Between Russian Occupation and Israeli Occupation

It’s not lost on social media that Russia should be barred from cultural and sports events, but other occupying entities should not be.

Many parallels were made between the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign promoted by Western governments as anti-semitic and the removal of Moscow from Eurovision and the elimination of the Champions League final held in St. Petersburg, respectively.

Ukrainians have been Welcomed but the Rest?

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has approved a sports ban on Russia, but he has criticised a boycott of the Sydney Cultural Festival last month over its sponsorship by the Israeli embassy.

Claudia Webbe, a British member of parliament, tweeted that the people who genuinely care about Ukrainians are the ones who will welcome all refugees with open arms.

“The rest?” she posted, “Well, they’re pretending.”

(Al-Jazeera, 2022)


Al-Jazeera. (2022, Feburary 27). Al Jazeera News. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/27/western-media-coverage-ukraine-russia-invasion-criticism

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