Why this attitude, in spite of war?text_fields
It has been a week since the tanks of the Russian imperialist diaspora began to invade Ukraine. Over a hundred civilians have lost their lives, belying the Russian dictator's assurance that the war would between forces and that no weapons would be fired at people was hollow. Nearly a thousand people were fatally wounded. The damage to Ukrainian troops beyond this has not been assessed. More than eight-and-a-half lakh people have fled to neighboring countries to save their lives. Many times that number of people are waiting for the the next vehicle to cross the border. Even as the big powers who gave Ukraine a false sense of security that they would stand by it, baulked at taking a firm stance against the invaders, the conscience of the world stands firm with the people under occupation. Ordinary people around the world share Ukrainian president's speeches and statements praising him as a hero. Everyone praises the Ukrainian people for their bravery in defending themselves against bloodthirsty people.
But it is not only the heroic tales of unity and the eulogies for the dead that are heard from the battlefield; there is also the sighing of men wounded by hatred which is sharper than weapons. Many foreign students, including Indians who have sought refuge in bunkers and metro stations in Ukrainian cities, are no longer afraid of Russian shells. They now have to hear the cryptic barbs of the local population, who are also hiding themselves from bombs like the foreign students. It burns them even in sub-zero temperatures. Outside the bunkers, they have to fear not only the weapons of the Russian army, but also a world ruled by hate. Indigenous police and soldiers see Indian students as enemies. It is not due to India's continued friendship with Russia for decades or its fence-sitting stand during the war. At least a small section of the natives believe that the worms that sneaked into their land from the Third World have little right to live in our country, or to flee for their lives, or that their lives are worth more. This is evident at every stage of the rescue operation. There are even instances of buses sent by India embassy to take Indian students to the border being seized by locals. If Asian youth can barely get on trains, Africans, especially women, can't even do that. People are even being loaded into vehicles with orders to go away hearing derogatory expletives.
The misery of discrimination does not end with getting into a vehicle and somehow managing to reach the edge of the border There are separate queues for Europeans, Asians and Africans. If the procedures for those in the European queue are completed with no delay, the queues for others will have to wait for hours. Many fall exhausted, and have to seek medical help. South Africa's Minister of International Cooperation Naledi Pandor has issued a statement that they do not show racism or discrimination and that people should not be deceived by Russian fake news. The stories heard could have been taken as untrue and as Russian media war-mongering, if we had not heard racist news from European media and journalists who did not support Russian action and who played a major role in creating public awareness, if only there had not been any boast about blue-eyed and blonde-haired European racial superiority, even while talking about the war that afflicts natives, foreigners, children and adults alike, and if they had not degraded peoples they disliked and made them 'other'. It is said that during times of natural disasters, epidemics and wars, people get sensitive to the suffering and pain of others. But despite the wreaking havoc and a major war on the doorstep, humans have not learned any of this.