The Western world’s reaction to war on Ukraine reveals deep hypocrisy

News Unsettled Opinions

If the West wants a world without any wars, that means a world without any wars

News Unsettled Native Students Union column
Graphic provided by the Native Students Union.

Before I write this, I want to clarify, I mean no disrespect to the Ukrainian people living in fear and who are suffering. What I hope to accomplish is to point out the hypocrisy of those who wail about the sufferings of white Ukrainians but are more than comfortable ignoring suffering that goes on around the world on a regular basis inflicted on people of colour (POC).

The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalist Association (AMEJA) recently released a statement on the coverage of Ukraine. The statement calls for news outlets around the world to be mindful of bias in their reporting. The statement then goes on to provide several examples of racist reporting on the Ukrainian war that have occured recently. 

People in Canada and the U.S. condemn Russia, a greater power, for dropping bombs and waging war on Ukraine, who has less power. The U.S. drops an average of 46 bombs per day. According to one figure, the U.S. and those allied with it have dropped over 152 000 bombs on Iraq and Syria alone from 2001 to 2021.

In 2019, the U.S. dropped over 7000 bombs on Afghanistan. With all this bombing, the U.S. was responsible for over 500 civilian deaths in the country.

While daily condemning the Russians for their operations in another country, the U.S. conducted a drone strike in Somalia on Feb. 24, 2022, against the group Al Shabab. Though no civilians were believed to have been harmed, the U.S. does not know at this point. 

Why do people ignore thousands upon thousands of U.S. bombs against Arab people, but wail at a few missiles hitting the Ukraine? That is mostly a rhetorical question: the answer is racism.

The same thing occurs on the daily in occupied Palestinian territory. Imagine something for me for a moment: Russians going into regions of the Ukraine, arresting Ukrainians, kicking them out of their homes without any belongings, letting Russian families move into said homes or demolishing them altogether, then violently apprehending the Ukrainians when they complain. 

Are you horrified? Then why is this action against Palestinians ignored on the regular? This practice is not new either. In the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem alone, this has been going on since the 1950s.

In May, 2021, when there was an uptick of violence between Hamas and Israel, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) launched over 1 000 air and artillery strikes in Gaza. One of the main buildings destroyed was the Associated Press and Al Jazeera headquarters.

Almost every article about this violence, however, heavily focuses on the number of rockets fired by Hamas and the 10 Israelis (eight adults, two children) killed by Hamas rocket fire, and barely mentions the number of strikes Israel committed and the 151 Palestinians killed (129 adults and 52 children).

These are only two examples of IDF oppression of the Palestinian people. Violence happens on the daily against Palestinian civilians. Despite this, athletes and bands are punished for raising Palestinian flags in solidarity, or refusing to compete against Israelis. Again, imagine if people in the West faced fines and punishments for calling to stop the Ukrainian war, or raising Ukrainian flags.

The Western world needs to take a step back and see their hypocrisy. If the West wants a world without any wars, that means a world without any wars. Not a world only without European wars. Not a world where several tons of bombs are dropped on Arab countries every year. Where children and civilians are murdered by airstrikes.

You cannot wail about missiles fired on European nations and cry out for a world without wars, all the while turning a blind eye to our countries’ own acts of violence.