Solidarity with Ukrainians

It is difficult to find words to convey our empathy and solidarity with the Ukrainian people and to express how deeply horrified we are by the Russian aggression and invasion. No one should have to experience the suffering and horror of war and living in fear of violence, oppression and death. We welcome the UN’s resolution unequivocally condemning the actions of the Russian government. 

As members of a European network, we welcome the solidarity expressed by many European countries in receiving and welcoming Ukrainian refugees. At the same time, we are deeply alarmed by the recent reports of racial discrimination which have been preventing the safe passage of people racialised as ‘People of Colour’ (Black or Brown) into neighbouring countries. Despite fleeing the same war as Ukrainians, Black and Brown individuals are reportedly being held back, denied access, or pushed to the end of the line while people raced as ‘White’ are being prioritised. We believe that the violence targeting Ukraine does not take race or colour into consideration, neither should borders nor humanitarian rescue. Our view is that we need to forge a world based on solidarity and care, rather than discrimination and division, a challenge that becomes acute in times of crisis. We are mindful of the fact that the media and other coverage of this crisis can be heavily racialised and that this rhetoric contributes in no small measure to the active discrimination against various people, including Russians, and exacerbates the harmful fall-out of violent crises. This includes racism, nationalism, militarism and the rise of domestic violence against women. 

Aware of the plurality of the world, the heterogeneity within societies, and the multiple perspectives on historiography, we are extremely concerned that the important and appropriate solidarity with Ukraine currently being shown is being framed in an extremely simplistic Cold War-inspired geopolitical binary. The dual, blanket, ascriptions of good and evil have never done justice to political realities as a means of classification, and they do not do so now. A condemnation of the war emanating from Russia is not an automatic license to once again divide the world into West and East. Moreover, it does not automatically make those who are now providing assistance and showing solidarity with Ukraine the ‘good guys’. False dichotomies do not help us to understand, nor respond to, the multidimensional global web of relations. A roll-back to militarization as a prime means of foreign policy cannot be the solution. 

As scholars and activists committed to global justice we assert that while no suffering can or should be weighed against another,that alongside Ukraine we must not forget the struggles of Yemenis, Syrians, Ethiopians, Afghans, Palestinians, Sahrawis, Tibetans and many other peoples that today and everyday are faced with war and violence wrought by invasions and bombs, and are fighting for justice and peace against the colonial logics that underpin the world order. We must not forget that the same powers that condemn Russia are significant contributors to or even creators of multiple crises that are forcing people to flee. Besides wars  in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria or Yemen, destroyed livelihoods due to climate crisis-related environmental destruction and neocolonial economic structures must be considered. If Europe is serious about its proclaimed ideals of peace and justice it should stop supporting neocolonialism and offer asylum to Ukrainian refugees and all refugees regardless of colour as well as to soldiers deserting the invading army.

Dr Julia Schöneberg

Dr Juan Telleria

Prof Aram Ziai

Prof Paola Minoia

Yafa el-Masri

Prof Lata Narayanaswamy

Meike Strehl

Prof Giti Chandra

Dr Su-ming Khoo

Prof Seema Arora Jonsson

Dr Tomáš Imrich Profant

Dr Jelena Vicentic

Dr Stefano Moncada

Dr Tiina Seppälä

Dr Ethemcan Turhan

Dr Anne Snick

Dr Zoltán Ginelli

Prof Inga Kuźma

Prof Wendy Harcourt

Dr Blendi Cali

Dr Franziska Satzinger

Dr Diana Janušauskienė

Predrag Milic

Dr Alicja Piotrowska

Dr Alexander Horstmann

Prof Magnus Skjöld

Prof Anna Khakee

Dr Ana Pereira

Laura Sobral

Dr Anna Schwachula

Dr Ela Drazkiewicz

Burcu Ateş

Dr Sarah Cummings

Prof Daniel Bendix

Dr Alice Santiago Faria

Dr Gaia Giuliani

Mariasole Pepa

Prof Antonio Ortega Santos

Dr Lívia de Souza Lima

Dr Sebastian Garbe

Cristiano Gianolla

Prof Kalpana Wilson

Prof Jorge Garcia Arias

Prof Jónína Einarsdóttir

Laura Sobral

Prof Attila Melegh

Dr Sara Riva

Dr hab. Joanna Kurowska-Pysz

Dr Filip Majetić

Dr Annette Knaut

Dr Anke Schwittay

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