DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The sight of a mass flight leaving Ukraine resonated deeply in the Middle East on Saturday, with many taking to social media to express their sympathy and have mercy on the plight of people now forced to flee their homes amid a Russian military invasion.
But in a region stricken by seemingly endless wars, sympathy is tinged with bitterness from some seeing European nations take a more benevolent stance toward Ukrainians than in years past. recent for Arab and Muslim migrants trying desperately to get to safety. of the coasts of Europe.
Photos of devastated cities from Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen circulating onlinewith memes and comments accusing Western democracies of inciting violence and destabilizing these countries while shirking responsibility and applying double standards, especially in their treatment of people. refugee.
As neighboring European countries quickly opened their borders to tens of thousands of Ukrainians, many social media users were quick to point out that refugees from the Middle East had faced a harsher reception. how.
“Imagine the human faces of Ukrainian refugees seen on MENA refugees as well,” tweeted Lina Zhaim, a communications director from Lebanon, referring to the Middle East and North Africa region. “Imagine sovereignty and dignity as human rights not bound by race or nationality.”
Many commentators acknowledge that some European countries have been generous in resettling Middle Eastern migrants. A wave of asylum seekers from the wars in Syria and Iraq reached Europe in 2015 and 2016, and the European Union took in more than a million refugees in that two-year period, most of them Syrians, in large numbers Germans.
But Arab critics say migrants from Muslim and Arab countries are often seen as a threat, rejected and sometimes faced with force and violence when they try to enter Europe. Europe.
“What is happening in Ukraine is extremely tragic and tragic,” said Rana Khoury, a Syrian-American postdoctoral fellow who focuses on war and displacement studies at Princeton University. painful to follow. “But like many others, I also see how these countries have created a lot of obstacles for refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East to open their borders to Ukrainians.”
In November, Polish security forces hit migrants from the Middle East and Afghanistan with batons as they tried to cross the border.
In contrast, refugees arriving from Ukraine at the Polish border in the past few days have greeted with smiles, hot drinks and transported to the station.
Ayman Mohyeldin, an Egyptian-American TV presenter on MSNBC with hundreds of thousands of social media followers, said in a Twitter post, “So what you’re saying is Europe know how to humanely and compassionately welcome the sudden and large number of refugees escaping the war? ”
Unlike Middle Eastern migrants, Ukrainians are allowed to enter European Union countries without a visa. And almost a million people already live in Poland.
Ms. Khoury, while acknowledging the generosity of some European countries such as Germany in accepting Middle Eastern migrants, said she saw a clear bias.
“There are justifications that somehow war and violence are endemic to the Middle East in ways that are not European,” she said, adding that the countries The Middle East and Africa have much less capacity to take in “more refugees than all the time.”
Many Syrians who oppose the government of President Bashar al-Assad watch the invasion of Ukraine with particular interest, having experienced a Russian military intervention in their country, destroying towns and cities. streets and displaced large numbers of people.
Understanding Russia’s Attack on Ukraine
What is the root cause of this invasion? Russia considers Ukraine to be inside its natural sphere of influence, and it became irritated by Ukraine’s proximity to the West and the prospect of it joining NATO or the European Union. Although Ukraine is also not included in this category, it receives financial and military aid from the United States and Europe.
Some people posted pictures on social media of vehicles fleeing an advance by Russian-backed Syrian forces two years ago alongside photos of vehicles fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
More than 5.6 million Syrian refugees still in the Middle East, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Of those who had reached Europe, the most effective was forced to find their way, crossing the Mediterranean in flimsy boats that sometimes sank, killing their passengers.
Once in Europe, many people noticed that countries sought to close their borders.
During the 10 years of war in Syria, the United States took in about 22,000 Syrian refugees.
Jomana Qaddour, a senior fellow at the Syria-focused Atlantic Council, said there was a tendency to blame Middle Eastern violence on the region’s culture.
On Saturday, a clip of Ukraine with two predominantly Muslim countries ravaged by war appeared to have gone viral, sparking a storm of criticism.
Describing the flight of tens of thousands of Ukrainians, a CBS reporter expressed his shock, saying: “But this is not a place, with all due respect, as witnessed by Iraq or Afghanistan. conflicts flared up for decades.”
Reporter, Charlie D’Agata, went on to describe scenes he had witnessed taking place in a “relatively civilized, relatively European” city.
Hwaida Saadand Ben Hubbard Contribution reports from Beirut and Nada Rashwan from Cairo.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/26/world/middleeast/refugees-ukraine-middle-east.html Middle East sympathizes with Ukrainian refugees