Double standards spark racist comments in Australia

We offered unlimited visas to Ukrainian refugees, but 700,000 displaced Afghans do not receive the same treatment. So much for respect for human rights in democratic Australia, writes Bilal Cleland.

RUSSIA’S INVASION of Ukraine not only highlighted the nature of global imperialism – echoing the conflict of rival empires before the Great War of 1914-18 – it once again highlighted evidence of the racist response from Europe and the mainstream media.

The answer echoes the anthropologist Francois Galtonit is hereditary geniusby which Galton established the hierarchy of races – which he sincerely believed to have come from his own “scientific” observation.

He asserted that we can judge the comparative value of different races by “the frequency with which they spew up men of natural ability”. Of course, he was completely unaware that his own prejudices and limited experience determined this “natural ability”.

He was convinced that different skin colors reflected different intellectual abilities, ranging from white to brown to black.

Galton concluded that:

‘…the average intellectual level of the Negro race is about two grades below ours [Anglo Saxon].”

He also has maintained:

“The Australian type is at least a grade below the African Negro.”

Such an evil ideology has had devastating effects on many countries for many years.

Modern bigotry

This year, some US media have made their racial biases clear, emphasizing the difference between Ukrainian refugees and war victims on the one hand and Afghan and Middle Eastern war victims on the other.

In an article published by Independent AAustralia, Sonali Kolhatkar says:

“The Association of Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists (AMEJA) possesses denounced the openly racist language of many Western journalists, including Americans like [Charlie] CBS’s Agata who said of Ukraine that “it’s not a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict rage for decades “.

D’Agata also said:

“It’s a relatively civilized, relatively European city – I also have to choose those words carefully – a city where you wouldn’t expect this, or expect this to happen.”

Andrew GeddesDirector of the Migration Policy Center (MPC), mentioned:

“I think the strongest contrast is with a group of central European countries that were very hostile to Syrian refugees and are now much more sympathetic to Ukrainian refugees.”

Geddes was referring to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic — members of the European Union who were not in favor hosting Syrian refugees.

Others have noted the prejudice exemplified by a politically Christian Poland, which has refusal of admission to Afghan refugees and rejected African residents fleeing Ukraine, but welcomes white Ukrainians.

Regarding this, Sonali Kolhatka said:

“By elevating such disparate and skin tone-dependent attitudes towards refugees, Europe is breathing new life into its colonialist heritage. We see today echoes of the dehumanization that enabled the European colonization of the Global South and the enslavement of generations.

Australia shows similar harm to some European countries. We offered unlimited visas to Ukrainian refugees and no cap was set on the number of admissions. But 700,000 displaced Afghans do not receive the same treatment.

These double standards have not passed without comment.

The disease of racism still alive in Western culture

Dr. Nilanthy Vigneswaran of the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) was candid about meA:

“Opening our doors to those fleeing the current Ukrainian conflict is necessary – but we must apply this compassion to all those seeking safety in Australia.”

According to The Ministry of Internal Affairs, the temporary humanitarian visa issued to Ukrainians:

“…will be valid for three years and will allow people to work, study and access Medicare, alongside the support provided by Australia’s experienced Humanitarian Settlement Program providers.”

Last month The Guardian reported:

“A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said immigration authorities have focused on facilitating travel for people who need to leave Ukraine urgently…”

These humane measures do not apply to Afghans in danger.

Meanwhile, our ‘stop the boats’ saga continues to imprison refugees. The most egregious example is that of medical evacuation prisoners brought to Australia for medical treatment, who were then left in detention for years with no release date in sight.

So much for respect for human rights in democratic Australia.

Bilal Cleland is a retired secondary school teacher and was secretary of the Islamic Council of VictoriaPresident of Muslim Welfare Council Victoria and secretary of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils. You can follow Bilal on Twitter @BilalCleland.

Ukraine's response shows the hypocrisy of Australian refugees

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