The Ukrainian Refugee Crisis | Dorothea Zarina


Since the Ukrainian refugee crisis commenced, several commentators have suggested that the positive and open response to Ukrainian refugees indicate the racism of Britain. Asserting that it has not gone unnoticed that the current refugee crisis is predominantly white and Christian and previous refugee crises have been largely ethnic minorities from Muslim nations. I would like to posit the response is not due to race, rather the ideological distance between the two groups.

Having grown up in a community similar to those that previous refugees were coming from, I am familiar with the behaviour towards women in those communities. Women within those societies face high levels of control in relation to their movements, education, opportunities and relationships. Within such communities, women are told that they must not step out of the house, as they will be gnawed on by predatory individuals in the world outside of the confines of their home. Control of every element of their lives is justified by threatening them with such risks.

Women are brainwashed from an early age, that it is their responsibility to safeguard their honour from predators in order to remain pure for their future spouses. Men within the homes relish the control granted to them via such archaic ideals.

We are all aware of what war brings for women. Not only is there risk of death, but rape has often been used as a weapon of war.  Sadly, when the risk escalated significantly, the same men who have justified control of women by stating they will be raped and abused the moment they step outside of their doors, flee at the first signs of danger, leaving women behind, isolated and in further danger.

Those that obsess about honour, prove themselves to be the most dishonourable of all. We have all seen the boats full of young fighting age men allegedly from Syria (though we are also aware of those fraudulently using the tragedy of Syria to enter Britain), crossing the channel. Regardless of the images of the one woman or child that mainstream media outlets desperately publicise to try and convince the public that predominantly women and children are arriving, thankfully alternative sources have shared the truth, with honest images of dinghies full of men.  

Then there are the images and videos being shared from the Ukraine, of trains full of women and children being seen off by the men remaining behind to fight.  

When the Syrian refugee crisis began, the world cried with Syria. Attitudes towards refugees were warm and welcoming; however, seeing men leaving women and families behind is an unfamiliar and distant concept to us. I would argue that the difference in treatment towards Ukrainian and Syrian refugees, is not about race, rather ideological distance. 


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