An Invasion Isn’t Enough Apparently

We have to add an old recurring enemy to the devastation.

Adobe Stock: Motortion

As many Ukrainians flee from their homeland, some countrymen choose to stay and fight. Alas, not everyone in Ukraine has that freedom of choice.

Even though they say “women and children first”, they really mean “Ukrainians first”. I’m not saying I don’t want Ukrainians to be saved. I’m saying everyone residing in that country should be saved. Every life matters. Every life counts. I can never understand how people judge the value of one life, how they could deem which lives are more important. Everyone in Ukraine right now is in crisis. Not just Ukrainians. Who has the right to say who deserves to live?

Who has the right to play God?

Everyone’s scared. Everyone’s fearing for their lives. Can’t you sense their distress? Can’t you see they’re living the exact same nightmare as you?

I stand with Ukraine.

When I say “I stand with Ukraine”, I don’t mean just Ukrainians but all of those who are living in Ukraine in this time of war. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that while something horrible is already happening, people have time to segregate instead of rescue. They have time to discriminate and inflict violence on fellow refugees. They have time to bring up the issue of race and nationality once again in the middle of the ongoing nauseating catastrophe. They have the audacity to choose who deserves priority saving.

Funnily enough, they don’t have the time to think — these people are just as much victims as our people.

In our era of globalization, our countries don’t just consist of local citizens. We’re no longer homogeneous. We’re mixed. We’re diverse. And that’s what I love about our world. Yet, when push comes to shove, it’s every man for himself. It’s about “our people first”.

The value of life ceases to exist.

We forget that the government, corporations, and institutions are the ones bringing these foreigners and international students into their country. For their economy and population. Countless monies have been invested to attract people all over the world to come into their homeland and pump into their countries’ economy with immigrants’ hard-earned money.

When disaster strikes, suddenly these people who have been contributing and lifting your economy are disposable and unimportant? These people have now become less than human but you welcomed them when you want their money?

Why are we fighting two wars when one is already vile enough?! How is it that the issue of race always manages to weasel its way into these tragic events? Breeding and harvesting, sowing discord in humanity. How are we still able to fight amongst ourselves when there’s a bigger war going on?

You abandon these people in your war-stricken homes. Some of the Ukrainian border officers had the nerve to demand these African and Asian immigrants should stay and fight for Ukraine while they were simultaneously letting Ukrainians escape. Do they not see the irony in this?

Ukrainian border officers, why are you giving your president more than he already has on his plate with this significant but unnecessary issue during this calamity?

Yet, this issue sounds all too familiar to me. It happened not too long ago with Middle-East refugees (still happening). More than a century ago, the British colonized Singapore and many other Asian countries but when World War II struck, they abandoned the tiny island and the rest of their foreign colonies to fend for themselves. They left us with no protection whatsoever.

Our people first.

Well, guess what? Who cares about “our people first”. All you need is one nuclear bomb and there won’t be anyone first to care about. We’d be in line serving our dues in heaven or hell.

The dim hope for these immigrant refugees was nations around the world exposing these nefarious actions. Yet, when racism is called out, politicians from neighboring countries are quick to defend themselves too.

And thus, the blame game continues.

Poland is letting in everyone coming from Ukraine regardless of their nationality.— Piotr Mueller, the spokesman for the Polish prime minister.

Piotr Bystrianin, head of the Ocalenie Foundation, a Polish refugee charity, said that so far, “problems were on the Ukrainian side.”
NY Times

Thanks to social media, we get first-hand public evidence from the refugees themselves to make our own judgment instead of just listening to the news and lies from politicians. Because of course, even in wretched times, people are still trying to cover their asses. Their pride comes first. While some refugees had pleasant encounters escaping to Poland, not all refugees had that same luck. Some were turned away.

This isn’t a new issue. We’ve seen this segregation of victims many times — elitism, racism, status, nationalism, etc. — played out in real-life and many disaster movies like 2012, Titanic, and the recent movie Don’t Look Up to name a few. They may just be disaster flicks but they’re still stories based on humanity, on human behavior. They’re real stories about us in potential situations and how we would react to them.

Contagion said it all.

It’s easy to be nice, friendly, and kind when everything is all rainbows and sunshine. But when disaster strikes, that’s when the niceties are tested. Your humanity is tested. Your morality is put on trial.

Can you still be confident that you’re a genuinely nice person? Of course, things aren’t as simple as I say. There are many other factors to consider. But in the case of the war in Ukraine, it is really that simple. It isn’t some zombie apocalypse.

Just because someone looks different from you, does that make them any less human?
Do our race already establish our position and status in the world the moment we were born?
Does our appearance determine the kind of human rights we deserve?

If cats and dogs, lifelong natural enemies, can learn to love and care for each other, why can’t we? The superior beings of Earth? Maybe we give our intelligence too much credit that compassion and basic common sense are compromised.

This war has given me a lot to think about. Or rather, it’s thrown my mind into a cycle, a repetition of the same issues resurfacing amidst unfavorable circumstances.

With COVID came a sea of hate crimes towards Asians all over the world. The Black community in America also suffered and cried for justice with the senseless murder of George Floyd and many other Black folks during this pandemic. As the world is still fighting the various mutating COVID strains, Russia launched an invasion and unveiled yet once again, racism and nationalism.

As emotional as I am about this war, I can’t help but wonder if I’m truly a nice person when forced into such conditions. If I would protect my family first. If I would put my loved ones' lives over others.

Or would I have the strength to put humanity and compassion first? Would I try to find a way to protect both family and outsiders?

Perhaps, we aren’t as good of a people as we like to believe or tell ourselves.

Perhaps, I’m not very nice.

But I don’t want to stop here. I am aware. I want to be better. Not in material wealth or career goals.

But as a person.

A human being.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store