The refugee crisis in Ukraine grows exponentially by the day and families fleeing their homes are drawing a lot of sympathy across the world.
But the world reaction is also coming under fire from some refugee advocates.
Santa Clara County alone is home to roughly 50,000 refugees. Most are from what are known as third world countries, and their advocates say the world unfairly sees them differently than the refugees fleeing Ukraine.
“I have been a refugee for more than three years, and I have lived in a refugee camp,” said Liam, who lived in a refugee camp in Africa.
He escaped what he calls his eventual death because Liam identifies as LGBTQ.
“When you leave your own country, the first thing you need to do is open up to a stranger,” said Liam.
Refugee advocates said they too feel for the Ukrainian people. But say they can’t avoid noticing that the Ukrainian refugees are being viewed differently than refugees from, say, Africa, Haiti, and Central America.
“I think being blond haired and blue eyed has everything to do with it,” said Melanie Nathan, CEO of the African Human Right Coalition.
Trevor Noah of The Daily Show recently shared the same observation
“I don’t know about you but I was shocked to see how many reporters from around the world seem to think it’s more of a tragedy when white people have to flee their country,” said Noah.
Nathan added, “I’m going to be quite crude when I say this … not for a minute do they contemplate the same feeling when they see the same people exiting Ethiopia. Somehow a different standard is applied.”
Nathan said the tears in Europe are no different than the tears in Haiti.
The pain and fear are the same.
“I’m very happy to see that there is an enormous response to the Ukrainian crisis,” she said.
She now hopes that response will trigger greater sympathy and support for all refugees, no matter how they look.