Europe's media closer to Ukrainians than to Syrians?
For days now, European media have been covering the war in Ukraine around the clock, often stressing that these events are taking place in the middle of Europe. More distant conflicts receive less attention and refugees from other crisis areas less solidarity, commentators criticise.
Dismay infused with racism
The way many media outlets in the West are reporting on the war in Ukraine reveals deep-seated racism, The Independent laments:
“Now, because of the Ukrainians' whiteness and proximity to the west, it's apparently difficult for some political commentators and roving reporters to grasp how this conflict could have come to pass. It's as though bloodshed and invasion is only to be foisted upon countries inhabited by Black and brown people - and some have had no qualms about sharing their sense of alarm regarding this sobering turn of events, perhaps unaware of how this feeds into white supremacist ideology which renders the lives of others of no value.”
The media have failed
European media use racist categories to distinguish refugees from Ukraine from those from Syria or Afghanistan, for example, Hürriyet observes. Is it only white people who deserve solidarity and protection? the paper asks:
“The Western media have failed in their use of language in the Russia-Ukraine crisis. ... Their coverage of the situation in the region, with headlines emphasising skin colour and religious affiliation, has caused much outrage and raised the following questions: Didn't what happened in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq take place in full view? Should humanitarian crises and wars be ignored as long as they don't occur in the middle of Europe?”
It's not enough to defend Europe
How we deal with refugees of different origins determines Europe's future geopolitical influence, philosopher Slavoj Žižek writes in L'Obs:
“It is not enough to 'defend Europe': Our real task is to convince third world countries that we offer them better solutions than Russia or China in the face of global problems. And we can only achieve this if we change ourselves far beyond post-colonial political correctness and ruthlessly root out all forms of neo-colonialism, even those disguised as humanitarian aid.”