It’s Not Ukraine or Russia But Racism That’s Winning This War

Social Commentary

It’s Not Ukraine or Russia But Racism That’s Winning This War

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

If Western media is to be believed, the Russia-Ukraine war is more shocking than other conflicts. According to them this is the first time in modern history, white-skinned people, with Instagram and Netflix accounts have had to face the ravages of a military conflict. This is why the war is so wrong. Because it usually happens to the brown, unwashed types in some remote country they can’t place on a map.

My heart broke into tiny pieces for reporters from BBC, NBS, CBS (to name a few) who are finding it difficult to come to terms that bombs are being dropped and havoc is being wreaked in a relatively civilised, relatively European city. When buildings are being torn apart in the Gaza Strip and Syria simmers in crisis, it is as normal as having eggs and sausages for breakfast. I mean why else would the whites have a meltdown when they see people who look prosperous, almost like the family they’d live next door to, flee a war torn country and be labelled as refugees. It’s near unimaginable because they’re usually the ones doing. They aren’t used to this happening to them or people they ‘look’ like.

According to Western media, this is the first time in modern history that white-skinned people have had to face the ravages of a military conflict.

We are in the 21st century, we are in a European city and we have to cruise missile fire as though we were in Iraq or Afghanistan, can you imagine!?” said the Daily Telegraph.  Of course I can’t imagine. Conflict and terrorism are the domain of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine who seem to be in love with violence. Even the war coverage and the accompanying commentary seem to imply that it must be their fault. They have been wanting to wake up for centuries to the sound of bombs, shells and lives lost. It’s their morning conflict aasan that most white hippie backpackers roving around the world would be happy to take up if you could make it look cool and detached enough.

They aren’t used to this happening to them or people they ‘look’ like.

This is exactly what happens when we let our tendency toward selective outrage — reserved for those like us — colour our narrative.  The relatability factor ensures that we see those who are even a little different from us as less human, a little less deserving of our empathy. Then in some cases outrage is also aspirational. Our Bollywood divas were crying themselves hoarse in support of BLM but ask them about the plight of tribals in Chhattisgarh and they will draw a blank.

I get it that this is a great time to showcase your stupidity and tone-deaf hysteria but how many times can a lady pick up her jaw from the floor?

Unfortunately, racism isn’t the preserve of the aggressor or bystander alone, in times of conflict even the victims let loose their racist teeth.

Till a few days back I had no idea that it was the sole prerogative of Europe and America to be civilised nations, while the rest of us have yet to be granted citizenship by our lord and masters. The licensing fee that most western countries charge to be considered civil is probably spelled out in debt, resources and a surface-level makeover that would make you look racially supportive.

It must be so convenient to disregard history and popularise the misconception that the greatest contributions to modern civilization came from Western countries. Countries that have imported more conflict to other lands than any version of Grand Theft Auto. Honey, while you were running around in chaddis chasing wild boars, civilisations in Asia were busy developing irrigation, drainage, pottery, inventing algebra, astronomy, surgery.

They are appalled that the ones being killed this time are blue-eyed blondes. If this is not barbaric, then what is.

Unfortunately, racism isn’t the preserve of the aggressor or bystander alone, in times of conflict even the victims let loose their racist teeth. Indian students stuck in Ukraine have claimed that Ukranian citizens have treated them with disdain. Meanwhile Poland is claiming to take in refugees but only if they are white. Other bordering European countries that these young kids have tried to escape to haven’t done much better either. So it’s like the pandemic that never goes away, not even in the time of crisis. You’d rather die or let someone get killed rather than give up your racist ideas.

So spare me your bullshit and tears of outrage when even during a crisis your racism is at full display. Your pity and humanity is reserved for people who look like your neighbours and will bump into you at the club. You are appalled that the ones being killed this time are blue-eyed blondes. If this is not barbaric, then what is. And yet you claim to be civilised. Hilarious, isn’t it.

 

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