War does not bring people together, it reinforces existing oppression

By Mariyam Quaisar, Managing Editor

The current war in Ukraine has left its residents in turmoil. The country’s main cities are incessantly bombed and innocent lives are being shamelessly taken. Despite the dire situation, Ukrainian officials granted themselves the authority to prioritize the lives of white Ukrainians over all other ethnicities that are escaping the country. 

No matter the harsh conditions our world may be in, hierarchy continuously prevails, and those who are deemed inferior suffer. Whoever said war brings people together was undeniably incorrect. 

At various Ukrainian borders, African people are being pushed to the ends of long lines and in many cases, beaten by Ukrainian authorities. Many are left stranded in the cold with no food or shelter, while other Ukrainians are being let through to safety. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine displaced many people, it’s safe to say all those who reside in the country are in need of serious help, but humans have yet again found a way to create a superior group that deserves “more.” 

While most who are fleeing the war zone are Ukrainians, many are also students and migrant workers from Africa, Asia, and other regions who are desperately trying to save themselves and their loved ones. So, who decided that one person’s life was more important than another’s? Is the life of an African baby worth less than a 60 year old Ukrainian man? Is an Asian woman worth less than a Ukrainian woman? 

The situation in Ukraine is unimaginable for us, but it cannot be an excuse to act haphazardly with human life. Ukrainian border guards are not only not letting foreigners through to safe zones, but are beating them with sticks, tearing their clothes, slapping, and pushing them. Once again, our society’s constant need to have a so-called, “superior group of people” has prevailed at the cost of innocent people. 

At the border, guards are insisting that women and children pass through first. But apparently, that does not apply for all. They have been letting Ukrainian men through while denying Black women passage, they say, “Our women first.” Ukrainians are allowed to pass freely through a specific gate into Poland while foreign nationals are all told to go to one gate at the Medyka crossing, where four people are processed every few hours. The list of unfair treatment goes on and on. 

While many Pakistani students, Afghani people, Vietnamese workers, and more said their biggest issue in crossing the border was long lines, many others emphasize a harsh treatment—often comparing it to the treatment of animals—they faced from the Ukrainian army. Thankfully, neighboring countries like Poland immediately helped refugees, however that also only applies to certain people. 

Many foreigners are warmly welcomed into the neighboring nations, but, according to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, there are multiple reports of Polish officials refusing Nigerians entry. Again, the treatment of Africans is shallow and inhumane even during a time of war. Why? When did one person’s life become more valuable than another?

At a time of conflict such as the one currently occurring in Ukraine, every human being should have the right to safety. Discrimination and racism has no place in this world, but it especially not during a time of war. War does not bring people together, instead it becomes another excuse for humans to create a system of superiority where, most often, people of color are pushed to the bottom. 

Racism has become this world’s universal religion, and it’s sad that this practice rears its ugly head even when unnecessary guns are being fired and families are being torn apart. In what situation, if there ever will be one, will humans decide to maturely treat all lives as equal?