My dread, as a European, in regards to the battle in Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine battle Information


I’ve been an Al Jazeera English information presenter for the reason that channel’s launch in 2006. Since then, together with courageous and proficient colleagues previous and current, we’ve at all times strived to redress the imbalance in worldwide information which supplies the West prominence over the World South – an imbalance which has been on full show through the protection of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Al Jazeera exists to be the voice of the unvoiced, or definitely of the least heard, and I’ve by no means sat on the anchor desk with out maintaining that mission on the coronary heart of my work. And my coronary heart has damaged for the folks concerned in each battle that the channel has coated.

However as a continental European, I’ve to confess that I now really feel a selected dread over the present battle in Ukraine.

Am I falling foul of the identical double requirements I’ve been working in opposition to for years? Do I really feel this fashion as a result of Ukrainians, being fellow Europeans, “appear like me”?

Perhaps. However the fact is that like most Southern Europeans, my colouring and options are way more usually Center Japanese than Slavic. My maternal homeland of Sicily is a couple of hundred kilometres from the Tunisian coast.

My younger son doesn’t appear like the numerous blond, blue-eyed Ukrainian youngsters making the freezing journey to the protection of neighbouring international locations. He seems like Alan Kurdi, the Syrian Kurdish three-year-old who by no means made it to his vacation spot, however washed up useless on a Turkish seaside on September 2, 2015, whereas making an attempt to succeed in a Europe that denied him, an harmless sufferer of battle, secure and authorized passage.

Over the previous few days, many commentators and journalists have urged that Europeans suppose battle, destruction and displacement belong in “uncivilised” international locations distant.

However that is the purpose I disagree with most profoundly, and which is on the coronary heart of my sense of dread. As a continental European, I do know full effectively that Europe is something however immune from battle. Fairly the alternative: Europe has been ravaged by comparatively latest wars whose scars proceed to be felt at the moment.

I exploit the time period “continental” European deliberately, to distinguish it from the UK, the place I’m now primarily based. As a result of whereas the UK suffered relentless bombardment throughout World Warfare II, it was by no means invaded the way in which its European neighbours have been. It was by no means occupied by overseas forces. It didn’t watch as its Jewish populations have been rounded up and deported to sure dying. It didn’t undergo a civil battle. And after the preventing lastly stopped, it didn’t have to interact in painful nationwide soul-searching to attempt to perceive how Nazism, fascism and collaboration may have taken root.

For continental Europeans now, these aren’t simply chapters from historical past books however household tales, a few of whose survivors are nonetheless alive to inform them. I felt firsthand how painful these tales could be after I made my movie Fascism within the Household. The clue is within the title.

Regardless of different historic sins Britain might arguably nonetheless need to atone for, in terms of World Warfare II, it was on the fitting facet of European historical past. This issues as a result of after we discuss “Western media” we’re nearly at all times speaking about British and American channels and journalists.

What I really feel proper now about this battle just isn’t represented by their voices. And it’s definitely not represented by journalist Daniel Hannan, a cheerleader for Brexit – a divorce from the European Union which led to 6 million fellow Europeans residing within the UK having to reapply for his or her proper to remain in a rustic that they had considered house. In a latest article for The Telegraph, Hannan wrote that, after the invasion of Ukraine, battle not occurs in “impoverished and distant populations”.

However after I, as a continental European, hear the phrase “I can’t imagine that is occurring in Europe”, I don’t simply hear superiority, although that’s usually there too. I additionally hear the terrified disappointment that all the things that was accomplished to stop one other battle on European soil appears to have failed.

A brand new world order was created post-1945. An imperfect one for certain, however NATO, the United Nations and what ultimately grew to become the EU have been all born out of the need to by no means once more see that type of destruction on European soil.

“By no means once more” appears to have lasted roughly 75 years. I do know the identical world order introduced devastating and unjust invasions to international locations exterior Europe. However nobody will emerge safer out of the horrible state of affairs in Ukraine. European wars tend to escalate.

We’ll see extra double requirements in weeks and months to return, particularly in terms of migration.

The EU has reached the historic settlement to grant migrants from Ukraine the fitting to dwell and work throughout the bloc. Proper on cue, varied European far-right leaders are already talking about distinguishing between the “proper and unsuitable” sorts of migrants.

As a result of in addition to there being tensions, battle and double requirements, there are at all times these wanting to use them. As there at all times have been.






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