In the above picture, you can clearly see a pertinent sight. That’s unless your focus in not on the man’s tattoo on the arm. So what does the picture actually entail? There’s a flag of Ukraine that is being hoisted right in front of the parliament. So that’s normal-right? After all, there have been flags for the longest time that have been hoisted in front of parliaments, isn’t it? Well, yes, but this is the key- that the parliament building in front of which the Ukrainian flag is being hoisted by the man belongs to Denmark.
Yes, Denmark is coming to the rescue of the embattled Ukrainians whose lives at the moment could be likened to a silk shirt sodden with blood stains.
And in here rests the key question. Just how is Denmark coming to Ukraine’s aid and in what possible manner is the Danish republic assisting Ukrainians.
For starters, we need to understand two contrasting sights, one each belonging to the year 2019 and the other, to 2022.
Back in 2019, Denmark became one of the first liberal democracies of the world that had told Syrian refugees to return back to their country. That’s when many had run away from a country scorned by civil war with Russian missiles dropping into Syria to come to the aid to the dictator-president Assad. Back then, war was running over hapless lives that knew little what to do about how to escape the skirmish.
Cut to 2022.
As Russia is busy bombing Ukraine and tearing lives apart, a bloodied scenario that has seen nearly 2.2 million Ukrainians flee their homeland, Denmark isn’t telling anyone to go back; the Ukrainian refugees are being accepted by open arms by the Danish.
Today, you don’t see any sign of antipathy or Xenophobia among the Danish where it comes to the Ukrainians who’ve fled home; there’s much love and open acceptance.
And in that light, it’s important to run by a quote issued by the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration that perhaps sums up the country’s attitude toward the people of a region who seek hope and acceptance at every step of their lives, “When there is war in Europe and a European neighbor is exposed to what we see in Ukraine, there is not the slightest doubt in my mind: We must help as best we can … by welcoming Ukrainians on Danish soil.”
Though make no mistake, there’ve been vocal calls especially from the standpoint of human rights activists and immigration experts regarding the disparity in the treatment meted to refugees belonging to different caste and creed.
Has Denmark, therefore, been less hospitable to the Syrians and is being more pro Ukrainian?
Now along with that comes a certain modicum of clarity as to what really happened with the Syrian Refugees.
To that, there’s clarity from the part of the Danish government that clearly insists that the approach of the country has always been to treat refugees from different geographies fairly by providing protection to all. But if the home conditions of a particular set of refugees improve and can provide for resettlement, then Denmark encourages the refugees to return back.
And yet, there are those who remain in Denmark after finding their residency status exhausted with no scope for legal dialogue. They maintain that the deportation facilities that they are being sent to are nothing but open air prisons that are perhaps designed to break them down.
But there’s been nothing of that sort from the part of the Ukrainians who feel safe in Denmark.
Having said all of that, what comes across as most perplexing is the quote offered on social media by the former Labour Party Immigration Minister, Inger Stojberg, “No one dares to say it like it is: It’s because the Ukrainians are more like us and because they are primarily Christians.”
But that being said, is the identification of people basis their skin colour and ethnicity, as being presumed and called out so openly actually true? Is it true, therefore, that the Ukrainians are being meted out a fair treatment since they are basically like the Danish- white and Christians whilst the same cannot be said in the context of those who come to seek refuge in the European nation from Afghanistan or a Syria?
Who’s going to offer clarity on that matter?