The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Refugees from Ukraine and War Propaganda

Mar 14, 2022

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is causing a human catastrophe, like the U.S.’s brutal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan did before. According to the United Nations, two weeks after the war had started, the refugees from Ukraine exceeded 2.6 million and might reach more than four million in a few weeks.

The United Nations declared this refugee crisis the largest in a century. But this is not true. The brutal civil war in Syria, which the U.S. helped fuel, created over 6.6 million refugees out of a population of 22 million. Most Ukrainian refugees are, according to the press, receiving a warm welcome in other European countries, unlike so many other refugees.

In comments made by the press, the chauvinism and racism against refugees from other countries affected by war, prominently Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, is glaring.

CBS correspondent Charlie D’Agata, for example, stated on February 25th that Ukraine “isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European—I have to choose those words carefully, too—city, one where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen."

On France’s BFM TV, journalist Phillipe Corbé said: “We’re not talking here about Syrians fleeing the bombing of the Syrian regime backed by Putin. We’re talking about Europeans [i.e., Ukrainians] leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives.

In a British newspaper, The Telegraph, Daniel Hannan wrote on February 26: “They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking. Ukraine is a European country. Its people watch Netflix and have Instagram accounts, vote in free elections and read uncensored newspapers. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations.”

Heads of states have also made similar types of comments. In Austria, Chancellor Karl Nehammer declared: “… of course we will take in refugees, if necessary. It’s different in Ukraine than in countries like Afghanistan. We’re talking about neighborhood help.”

These disgusting remarks illustrate the racism and nationalism that are used to divide the working class; to make us turn our backs on each other and weaken our mutual power. All refugees, Ukrainian, Syrian, Afghani, Iraqi, should be welcomed and treated with respect.