Sometimes people say to me, “Shallow Man, you’re so well dressed” and they’re right. Other times people say, “Shallow Man, you’re a cynic”. I have to admit that there might be a teeny, weeny bit of truth to that statement. My old heart, which is usually the temperature of a Dutchman’s apartment in winter has been warmed by the incredible number of people and institutions in the Netherlands (and EU) that are bending over backwards to accommodate people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The general response of countries in Europe (excluding the UK) has been amazing. The UK on the other hand has been forced by negative publicity to begrudgingly accept Ukrainian refugees but has made the process so difficult that very few will ever actually be allowed to move there.
The (f**king huge) elephant in the room
In the Netherlands, over a hundred million euros have been raised to help Ukrainians fleeing the war.
In my local neighbourhood Facebook group, there are people who are hosting refugees in their own homes. Far be it for me to participate in whataboutism but…… What a huge difference compared to the treatment of refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. All of these places are either warzones or in the case of Afghanistan, people need to flee from the Taliban. Even people who worked for the Dutch embassy there were left behind when the Netherlands withdrew from the country after the Taliban took over.
Those Afghanis who could actually make it to the Netherlands have to apply for asylum and go through a long and laborious process with the IND. Whereas if you’re from Ukraine, ‘Welkom!’ Go to the nearest gemeente, register, get your BSN and you can start working immediately. The authorities will help you find accommodation pretty damn quick too.
“You don’t have to be white to come here but it helps”
Much to the shock of Polish and Ukrainian border guards, there were non-whites living in Ukraine. There have been numerous stories of the appalling, racist treatment of Indians and African expat residents of Ukraine who attempted to cross into Poland.
Meanwhile in the lekker tolerant Dutch village of Harskamp
All refugees are equal but some are more equal than others
Last year in the Netherlands, the mayors of several cities were taking legal advice as they were being forced by the Dutch government to accept more refugees in their regions. Their argument was that the local asylum centres were full and they couldn’t possibly be compelled to take on more refugees. But now they’ve agreed to take on 50,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Don’t get me wrong about Ukrainian refugees
I’m happy that people are doing everything they can to help people from Ukraine. But there’s a huge double standard. It’s almost as if white refugees are ‘genuine’ and non-whites are held to a different standard.
No TV presenters with blond hair and blue eyes were hurt during the writing of this post.