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The Russian re-invasion highlights the hypocrisy of governments

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

As the Russian re-invasion of #Ukraine enters its second month #Putin's actions regarding Ukraine should be condemned without doubt, and the Russian re-invasion deserves the torrent of rebukes. However, even though any efforts to strive toward conflict resolution are commendable, various political decisions and alliances made in the past that affect the #MiddleEast and the global South have marred the West's perceived 'humanitarianism' concerning the war in Ukraine.

On March 24th, the Heads of State and governments of the 30 #NATO Allies met to address Russia's attack on Ukraine. At the meeting, US President Joe #Biden formally acknowledged that Russian troops had committed war crimes in Ukraine and said it would work with others to prosecute offenders but earlier this March, firmly opposed the ICC investigation into the Palestinian situation.

War crimes are continuously being committed in Palestine and while condemning Putin's invasion of Ukraine was a matter of days, #Palestinians have been waiting on the condemnation of occupation for over 70 years.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip #Erdogan also expressed his support for Ukraine but has been responsible for ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in Rojava – thus directly contradicting Turkey's appeals for a "peaceful solution."

Afghanistan – a country torn by decades of war following 20 years of US occupation and NATO retreat in September 2021, the humanitarian response to the situation, while present, was short-lived. Instead of welcoming hands, the dehumanisation and unwillingness to provide asylum to the refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East only worsened.

The Ukrainian situation continues to be marked by heart-warming stories of human kindness and readiness to help the vulnerable in need. But, only a few months ago, the predominant narrative was that ''illegal'' migrants, criminals, and terrorists were undeserving of international protection. The ongoing situation Polish-Belarusian border is one classic example of 'selective solidarity' wherein #refugees at the border are denied the right to apply for asylum.

Only months before the war in Ukraine started, the French President Emmanuel #Macron – who had opened the country's door to the Ukrainian refugees – stated that France needed to "protect itself from a wave of migrants [from Afghanistan] .

Solidarity, too, thus remains highly conditional. The attitudes depended on who the perpetrator was and which imperialist force they or the invaded country were siding with – the US or Russia. The plight of the Afghans, for instance, whose country has been war-torn not only by the Taliban regime but also by the decades of NATO interventions, and even outright US war crimes, often remains entirely silenced. Instead, their suffering is convoluted into a 'peace keeping' narrative and 'protecting democracy.'

Now, the talk of hypocrisy must not discredit the suffering of the Ukrainian people or divert attention from the recent death and destruction at the hands of Russia. To only chant "Stop the war!" and remain confined solely to the current context is not enough – solidarity with Ukrainians is just as vital as solidarity with other oppressed and war-affected people.

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