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‘If you’re Black…Walk’ : Thousands flee as racism rages among other war calamities in the Russia – …

Social media is flooded with angry posts about the racist treatment of non-white migrants trying to cross the border into Ukraine. Ukraine’s security forces have asked colored people to walk instead of boarding buses and trains.

Fourth-year medical student Saakshi Ijantkar told CNN: ‘They (Ukrainian guards) allow 30 Indians only after 500 Ukrainians get in. To get to this border you need to walk 4 to 5 kilometers from the first checkpoint to the second one. Ukrainians are given taxis and buses to travel, all other nationalities have to walk. They were very racist to Indians and other nationalities’.

Guards – in uniform – had also been violent towards the students waiting at the Ukrainian side of the Shehyni-Medyka border (with Poland). One Nigerian student told the BBC that an official instructed her, ‘If you are black, walk’. She had made it to Hungary and was attempting to return to Nigeria. She said: ‘If your skin is dark, you’re at a disadvantage.

Dmytor Kuleba, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, acknowledged this differential treatment on Tuesday, tweeting: ‘Africans seeking evacuation are our friends and deserve equal opportunities to return to their home countries’.

The UN has also condemned racist behavior towards non-whites among the fleeing thousands. As the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi stated: ‘There should be no discrimination between Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians, Europeans and non-Europeans… (UN) will intervene to try to ensure that everyone receives equal treatment’. He added: ‘Everyone is fleeing the same danger’.

The tweeter thread of a distressed CNN journalist, Bijan Hosseini, recounts his sister’s painful 108-hour journey to Poland, and the racism she encountered along the way. She experienced racism, injuries, freezing temperatures, and sleep deprivation during her escape.

My sister was trapped in #Ukraine. This is a thread about her incredible journey to reach #Poland. During her escape she experienced #racism, injuries, freezing temps and sleep deprivation. Her story is only one of the hundreds of thousands of people trying to get out.

He said: ‘Firstly, my sister is adopted. She’s from Sierra Leone. Her birthplace played a significant role in prolonging her exit’. He describes how his sister and others had to beg a driver to take them to any of the border regions only to be dropped off after 30 hours. The closest border was many miles away. He said there were eight of them, along with a 13-month-old baby, packed in that small sedan.

It took them ten hours to walk ten miles in the freezing cold, dump their luggage to lighten their load, but they still encountered horror at the border. There were two lines at the border. One for white people, the other for everyone else. Hosseini concluded the thread by saying, ‘My sister is lucky. She’s safe, in a hotel where she was finally able to shower and sleep in a bed. There are still thousands of people in her shoes trapped on the other side…’


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