Noten 32 t/m 36/Oekraine


“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

― Malcolm X






2 MARCH 2022

Racist language in the coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have viewers switching off, writes veteran former BBC journalist Marcus Ryder

We need a media we can trust – this is particularly important in times of war.

In recent days, I have been worried that some of the media coverage of the Ukraine war is actively undermining that trust in established media organisations, especially among people of colour and certain marginalised sections of the audience.

I will explain why I am so worried, but first I need to state two facts. Firstly, that war reporting is one of the toughest assignments any journalist will have during their careers, and that many journalists covering the conflict in Ukraine are doing an incredibly important job under incredibly difficult conditions. Secondly, that we are not human if we do not have sympathy for the victims of the terrible war that is currently being waged by Russia against the people of Ukraine.

These two facts may seem so obvious and self-evident that they need not be stated, but I am about to criticise one important aspect of that excellent journalism, and discuss the sympathy we should all have for victims of war.

In understanding how journalists report conflicts, we must separate the relative ‘importance’ and global strategic significance of a war from the degree of sympathy we should have for its victims.

Journalists and news editors have to make tough editorial decisions about the relative importance of different conflicts around the world almost every day. Some conflicts may lead the news agenda, others will hardly be covered, and then there are a few – such as the current war in Ukraine – that may receive wall-to-wall 24-hour coverage.

I fully understand why a war involving a superpower (Russia) on European soil may be deemed (rightly or wrongly) more significant than other conflicts.

But the fact that a conflict may be thought of as relatively more important because it is taking place on European soil should not be confused with the idea that we should be more sympathetic to the victims of a conflict because they are European.

Unfortunately, too many journalists appear to have conflated these two issues.

News reports that try to increase an audience’s emotional connection to European victims by drawing comparisons to how the victims are people “just like us”, when this type of comparison hasn’t been used when reporting other conflicts, sends out the signal that we should value them more because they are European. 

Journalism that draws comparisons to how similar the civilian Ukrainian victims are to British victims of the Second World War (during the Blitz) when similar comparisons have not been made to civilian victims of bombings in other parts of the world sends out a similar message.

Stories that directly highlight that this conflict is more dramatic because “Ukraine is not a ‘Third World’ country” can feel like a ‘dog whistle’, with “not a ‘Third World’ country” really meaning ‘white’. Similar points have not been made when reporting on any of the numerous African, Asian and South American countries that sit above Ukraine’s 133rd global ranking in terms of GDP per capita.

These are all real examples of what journalists have said over the past few days.

This all matters not simply because journalists should adhere to principles of equality and anti-racism, but – possibly more importantly – because statements like these undermine the very trust people of colour have in mainstream news outlets and, in turn, increases the probability they will turn to other news sources.

How can people of colour have trust in the editorial judgements of a newsroom that actively seems not to value their lives to the same extent as they value white European lives?

This obviously does not just have consequences for news reporting about Ukraine, but it may have the knock-on effect of causing people to question the fundamental news values of media organisations and all the stories they cover.

Finally, there is one very large, and obvious, issue that casts a long shadow in all our discussions on how the British media report global conflicts. Only around 0.2% of British journalists are Black. When it comes to the ethnic backgrounds of UK foreign correspondents, figures are scant – but anecdotally the picture appears to be even less diverse.

In the three examples I cited, and there are many more being highlighted across social media, all of the journalists I have seen – directly or indirectly, consciously or subconsciously – placing a higher value on European lives are white.

Until we have a more representative media that can change the culture of how stories are framed and reported, I believe newsrooms will continue to make these mistakes.

Let us hope for a speedy and peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine and let us hope for a more representative media that values all lives equally.





27 FEBRUARY 2022

As conflict rages on in Ukraine, some Western media pundits are employing racist tropes to express sorrow over “blue-eyed” and “blondes” getting killed in a European country that is so unlike “Iraq and Afghanistan.”

CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata, who was broadcasting live from Kiev on Friday, expressed shock that war was unfolding in Eastern Europe, suggesting that Ukraine was more “civilized” than Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States and its allies have left a trail of death and destruction.

Ukraine “isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades,” he said, adding, “This is a relatively civilized, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully, too — city, where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”

An analyst appearing on BBC also said the Ukraine matter “is very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed.”

“It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed,” he said. 

The expression of shock and dismay comes as these pundits mostly kept silent as the US and its NATO allies invaded Iraq and Afghanistan under false pretexts in the early 2000s.

The war and occupation in those countries resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and the displacement of millions of others. 



”Sub-Saharan African countries already host more than 26 percent of the world’s refugee population. Most of the refugees come from neighboring countries, and some have lived in camps and foreign countries for decades. There are still Burundians living in Tanzania who fled their country’s civil war in the 1990s, and multiple generations of Somalis who reside in Kenyan refugee camps such as Dadaab”




This commentary was originally published in Lawfare on September 16, 2021.

In the final days of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a handful of African governments raised their hands to host Afghan refugees. Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, and the self-declared independent state of Somaliland offered to welcome anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand refugees into their country. These African governments—in stark contrast to some European countries that quickly shut their doors to displaced Afghans—see a moral imperative to respond. They also spy an opportunity to extract geopolitical concessions from the international community.

The offer of assistance from African nations should be welcomed, appreciated, and understood from humanitarian and geopolitical perspectives. In 2020, only 22,770 refugees were resettled globally, a record low. Even before the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, an estimated 1.44 million forcibly displaced persons were in need of urgent assistance at the start of 2021. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans—or more—will likely be forced to leave home in the months to come at a time when barriers to their movements are at an all-time high. For many, escaping the Taliban is a question of life or death. Long-term solutions for Afghan refugees unable or unwilling to return home for the foreseeable future will be needed; but whether achieved in Karachi or Kigali, safety and security are their primary short-term concerns.

Sub-Saharan African countries already host more than 26 percent of the world’s refugee population. Most of the refugees come from neighboring countries, and some have lived in camps and foreign countries for decades. There are still Burundians living in Tanzania who fled their country’s civil war in the 1990s, and multiple generations of Somalis who reside in Kenyan refugee camps such as Dadaab. And it is not always displaced Africans: war-torn Somalia is home to 6,800 Yemenis and over 700 Syrians. The reasons why many African countries continue to bear the costs of hosting so many refugees are complex, often borne out of a sense of moral responsibility, the echoes of historical national traumas, and the allure of geopolitical opportunism. In the case of the Afghan refugees, all three factors are at play.

Rwanda and Uganda, who have accepted 250 and 2,000 refugees, respectively, have similar motivations to accede to U.S. requests to host the refugees. Uganda’s Foreign Ministry cited its “long history and tradition” of offering sanctuary to displaced persons. In The Conversationresearcher Evan Easton-Calabria notes that Uganda started hosting Polish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1940s and subsequently has welcomed Burundians, Congolese, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Rwandans, South Sudanese, and Sudanese. Known for its pioneering efforts to give access to education, land ownership, and other rights to refugees, Uganda hosts almost 1.5 million refugees, the fourth-largest refugee population in the world and the largest in Africa. Rwanda has hosted refugees for two decades, and many of its leaders, including President Paul Kagame, grew up in camps in neighboring countries. While Uganda’s refugee intake is larger, Rwanda’s traumatic history—including an ethnic pogrom in 1959, a civil war in the 1990s, and the genocide in 1994—is undoubtedly a reason why it has opened its doors to the globally downtrodden.

These principled drivers, however, only partly explain Ugandan and Rwandan enthusiasm for opening their doors to the Afghans. Uganda receives more foreign assistance than its neighbors in large part because of its approach to hosting forcibly displaced people, funds that have benefited refugees and host communities alike in a country with regular economic challenges. Both countries face growing international criticism for their antidemocratic rule and human rights records and probably view their acceptance of Afghan refugees as an opportunity to soften their international images and dissuade foreign partners from imposing sanctions or other punitive measures.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, presided over a 2020 election so discredited that the United States refrained from even deploying an observation team. President Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan has tweeted about Uganda’s poor human rights record and the State Department imposed visa sanctions this year. Museveni, as he has with his peacekeeping and counterterrorism contributions, almost certainly hopes that hosting Afghan refugees might spare him from further negative geopolitical repercussions. While Rwanda’s Kagame is less exposed than his former comrade-in-arms Museveni, he has been under international scrutiny for his arrest of Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina and a recent exposé about the murder of a former Rwandan intelligence chief in South Africa. In the past, he has threatened to evict refugees if the international community criticizes his country’s activities, demonstrating his willingness to use perceived generosity as a geopolitical tool. Kagame may expect his offer to shelter Afghan schoolgirls, as well as faculty and staff of the country’s only boarding school for girls, the School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA), as insurance ahead of more international condemnation.

Somaliland and Sudan have a different calculus than Rwanda and Uganda, seeking U.S. affirmation rather than acquiescence. Somaliland, a former British colony that joined Italian-administered Somalia as an independent state in 1960, also has endured horrors of war. Even before Somalia’s disintegration in the 1990s, Somalilanders suffered through what some call the “Hargeisa Holocaust,” when about 90 percent of their capital city was destroyed and an estimated 200,000 people were killed between 1987 and 1989. Somaliland, which declared its independence in 1991, presumably sees a parallel between its own hardships and Afghanistan’s. A Somaliland foreign ministry spokesperson last month confirmed that his government had discussed temporarily hosting Afghan refugees with U.S. officials. Sudan also has experienced the devastation of conflict and hardships of Islamic fundamentalist rule. It fought a decades-long civil war and the previous regime once sheltered Osama Bin Laden and carried out a genocide in Darfur. Sudan hosts the world’s sixth-largest contingent of refugees: around one million people from Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, as well as Syria. Though details are scarce, the Sudanese government did express a willingness to host “a limited group of Afghans . . . for a known period.”

Beyond humanitarianism, Somaliland and Sudan have additional motivations to accept Afghan refugees. Somaliland, which is not recognized by a single government, wants to show it is a responsible actor globally. Its foreign minister acknowledged that hosting refugees “shows that Somaliland is a credible state that has a stake in international affairs.” The Somaliland government seemingly wants to use its hosting of refugees to continue to build its case—alongside its record of stability and free and fair elections—for international recognition. Sudan, in contrast, wants to rehabilitate its reputation as an international pariah state and cement U.S. support for its democratic transition. Following the overthrow of dictator Omar al-Bashir in April 2018, the new government—a mix of military and civilian leaders—has assiduously worked to win U.S. backing, even hosting USAID administrator Samantha Power in one of her first overseas visits. It normalized relations with Israel, banned female genital mutilation, canceled the death penalty as apostasy, and agreed to settle claims by victims of the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen. Several of these steps were required by the United States to lift the State Sponsor of Terrorism designation and restore the country’s access to international lending institutions. While there is no immediate ask by Khartoum in return for welcoming the Afghan refugees, it is almost certainly another measure to keep it in Washington’s good graces.

The U.S. government should praise and warmly receive these countries’ offers to host Afghan refugees. The need, of course, is great. Over 123,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan in the weeks before U.S. withdrawal on September 1; though exact figures are unavailable, it is safe to say at least half of those evacuated were Afghan citizens currently awaiting processing and added to an already huge number of people globally in need of resettlement. It is part of this long line that the Afghans in Africa find themselves. Though out of immediate danger from the Taliban, their future remains unclear. African leaders speak of temporarily hosting Afghans while asylum claims are processed in the United States and elsewhere beyond the continent. Given the thorough background check and vetting procedures before admittance into the United States, though, the “temporary” hosting provided by Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, and Somaliland could last for months, if not years.

As the United States continues to urge these and other African countries to host Afghans, it should provide necessary assistance to the refugees and their host communities as long as required, especially if there are distinct cultural, religious, or other accommodations necessary to provide protection and support to these recently displaced and vulnerable Afghans. U.S. diplomats should also be prepared to manage inevitable geopolitical requests. Despite the generosity of African nations, these requests should be carefully adjudicated, avoiding all appearance of quid pro quo for accepting refugees and providing humanitarian assistance. U.S. focus should be on providing assistance to refugees and their host communities while working expeditiously to permanently resettle Afghans to third countries. While difficult, it is not impossible to resolve tough trade-offs between refugee assistance needs and broader human rights and democracy objectives in the region.

Rwanda, Uganda, Somaliland, and Sudan have a history of generosity toward displaced persons and refugees and should be appreciated for their willingness to host vulnerable Afghans, no matter the reason. It is important—and possible—for policymakers to support these good deeds without compromising or adjusting other priorities.

Judd Devermont is director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. Erol Yayboke is a senior fellow with the International Security Program and director of the Project on Fragility and Mobility at CSIS.

Commentary is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).



Ben het met de strekking van onderstaand artikel wel eens wat universele menselijke handelingen betreft, maar dat geldt NIET

voorde handelingen van de OVERHEID of de EU

Bijv het verschil in behandeling door de OVERHEID of de EU,

toen het de  Midden Oosterse vluchtelingen aan de grens tussen Polen en

Belarus betrof

En de regio is niet heel Europa, maar de buurlanden van Oekraiene



22 MAART 2022

Het is niet vreemd dat Nederlanders zich meer verwant voelen met vluchtelingen van dichtbij. Dat schrijft Gert Jan Geling, docent integrale veiligheidskunde aan de Haagse Hogeschool.

De oorlog in Oekraïne heeft ervoor gezorgd dat we in Nederland, net als in de ons omringende landen, in de ban zijn van een vluchtelingencrisis. Het is voor de eerste keer sinds de Syrische vluchtelingencrisis in 2015 dat Europa geconfronteerd wordt met een vluchtelingenstroom van deze proporties, met naar schatting 3 miljoen Oekraïners die al op de vlucht zijn. Een deel hiervan wordt nu al in Nederland en andere Europese landen opgevangen, maar een groot deel van deze vluchtelingen moet nog komen.

In de samenleving leeft brede steun voor deze opvang. Nederlanders zetten massaal initiatieven op om Oekraïners op te halen en hier op te vangen. Het enthousiasme is groot. Volgens sommige critici staat dit in schril contrast met hoe we in 2015 Syriërs hier opvingen, of meer recentelijk de Afghanen. Er wordt een dubbele maat vastgesteld. We zouden eigenlijk alleen vluchtelingen willen opvangen die net als wij ‘blond haar en blauwe ogen’ hebben, en bijvoorbeeld moslims zouden we proberen zoveel mogelijk te weren. Ook in deze krant (Trouw, 14 maart) viel te lezen dat we de Oekraïners vooral graag opvangen omdat ze op ons lijken.

Nu zit daar zeker iets in, maar valt er ook wel wat op aan te merken. Want is het wel zo dat we vanwege racisme en islamofobie proberen om Syriërs en Afghanen zoveel mogelijk buiten Europa op te vangen, en hier weg te houden, terwijl we wel graag Oekraïners zien komen? Een dergelijke kijk op de keuzes die we maken in de opvang van vluchtelingen lijkt nogal simplistisch. Zo hebben we bijvoorbeeld in 2015 en 2016 toch ruim honderdduizend Syriërs opgevangen. En we vangen ook al decennialang Afghaanse vluchtelingen op. Toch zijn er ook wel degelijk verschillen in de reacties op deze vluchtelingenstromen, maar ook goede redenen op basis waarvan we de verschillen in reacties op de huidige en de Syrische vluchtelingenstroom uit 2015 kunnen verklaren.

Het sleutelbegrip hierbij is opvang in de regio. Dit is al decennialang het Europese uitgangspunt bij de opvang van vluchtelingen. Toen in de jaren negentig van de vorige eeuw de oorlog in het voormalige Joegoslavië uitbrak, waren wij zelf de regio, en vingen wij deze vluchtelingenstroom ook op. Nu is dat hetzelfde met Oekraïne. De buurlanden van Oekraïne, dat is de EU, wijzelf dus. Het is niet meer dan logisch dat we als EU ook onze verantwoordelijkheid nemen voor de opvang uit onze buurlanden.

En hoe je het ook wendt of keert, Syrië en Afghanistan zijn bijvoorbeeld veel minder onze regio – of zelfs helemaal niet – dan Oekraïne of de westelijke Balkan.

Gemeenschappelijke vijand

En natuurlijk speelt het element mee dat we ons verbonden voelen met de Oekraïners. Nederlanders ervaren een bepaalde culturele verbondenheid als Europeanen met andere Europeanen. En daarnaast is er ook een sterke identificatie met het conflict tegen de gemeenschappelijke vijand, Vladimir Poetin, en de sympathie die daaruit voortvloeit voor de Oekraïners die deze strijd aangaan. Identificeren we ons dan niet met bijvoorbeeld Syriërs of Afghanen? Er was recent veel steun voor de opvang van Afghanen die ons in Afghanistan geholpen hadden, dat waren ook ‘onze mensen’. En ook bij aanvang van de Syrische vluchtelingencrisis was aanvankelijk veel sympathie voor Syrische vluchtelingen en hun strijd tegen Assad.

Dit gold ook voor bijvoorbeeld Syrië en de omringende landen. In de eerste jaren van de oorlog daar was er in landen als Turkije, Libanon en Jordanië brede steun voor grootschalige opvang van Syrische vluchtelingen. Moslims wereldwijd zetten initiatieven op om Syriërs te helpen. Omdat zij zich met deze groep konden identificeren, maar ook omdat zij de strijd tegen Assad steunden. De steun voor opvang in de buurlanden nam pas af nadat duidelijk werd dat het conflict zou blijven voortduren, en er geen uitzicht was op terugkeer.

Oftewel: steun voor de opvang van de vluchtelingen in een land omdat men zich met deze groep kan identificeren is een praktijk die voor vrijwel de hele wereld opgaat. Het is de reden waarom Colombia zijn grenzen openzet voor Venezolanen. En Oeganda voor vluchtelingen uit omringende Afrikaanse landen.

Opvang in de regio, door landen waarvan de bevolking zich sterk verbonden voelt met de groep vluchtelingen en het conflict dat speelt, dat is wereldwijd de realiteit. Dit verklaart ook waarom Nederlanders nu zo breed de opvang van Oekraïners steunen.

De vraag blijft echter: zal deze steun zo groot blijven wanneer de oorlog in Oekraïne blijft voortduren, en als duidelijk wordt dat het grootste deel van de vluchtelingenstroom nog moet komen? Blijven we hier dan ook voor openstaan, of gaan we dan een nieuwe variant op de Turkije-deal meemaken?

Dubbele standaard?

Het antwoord op deze vraag kunnen we nog niet geven. Maar een andere vraag die deze vluchtelingencrisis oproept is of we voortaan niet alle groepen vluchtelingen zo zouden moeten opvangen als de Oekraïners. In een ideale wereld zouden we dit doen, maar in de huidige realiteit kunnen we hier in Europa niet alle tientallen miljoenen vluchtelingen ter wereld opvangen. Opvang in de regio moet ons uitgangspunt blijven, en daarin nemen we nu onze verantwoordelijkheid.

Zij die menen hier een dubbele standaard in te zien zouden er goed aan doen naar de balk in hun eigen oog te kijken. De Rohingya in Myanmar bijvoorbeeld laten we gewoon stikken. Dat is zelfs voor de meest vurige bepleiters van meer opvang van meer vluchtelingen een ver-van-mijn-bed-show. Maar ook wanneer er een vluchtelingencrisis speelt aan de andere kant van ons koninkrijk, wanneer Venezolanen op de vlucht slaan naar Curaçao, horen we er hier vrijwel niemand over. Oftewel: we maken als land hoe dan ook keuzes in wie we hier wel, en wie we hier niet opvangen. Dat is geen racisme of hypocrisie, maar simpelweg de wereldwijde realiteit die dan niet altijd eerlijk mag zijn, maar wel heel goed te verklaren is.





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