Does our government love refugees now? What a difference one war makes

What are we supposed to make of the our rulers’ desire to extend the warmest possible welcome to refugees from Ukraine?

Lalkar writers

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Workers in the west might be forgiven for feeling a certain cognitive dissonance when the same people who have spent decades vilifying and criminalising refugees are suddenly desperate to extend every kind of assistance to them – as long as they come from Ukraine, that is.

Lalkar writers

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It is a truism that is easily checked and corroborated that most movements of refugees in the world today have been caused by war. This is just as true of the refugees who risk their lives and those of their children crossing the channel in small boats as it is of Ukrainians forced to flee Nato’s proxy war in their country.

It is also notable that, on closer inspection, these wars almost always turn out to be waged or instigated by members of Nato or their proxies. The war in Ukraine is no exception.

Nato, having built up its forces around Russia at the behest of US imperialism, has insisted that the bought-and-paid-for fascists who run Ukraine on the US’s behalf should continue to fight their proxy war down to the last Ukrainian, blithely careless of the destruction that such a doomed struggle is bound to cause to Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, and to the country’s (and even the world’s) economy generally.

The result has been a massive exodus of Ukrainians, most of whom never supported the CIA-sponsored fascists. Indeed, many of them had voted Volodymyr Zelensky into the presidency because he appeared to be pro-Russian and pro-peace.

Five million people are estimated to have fled the country – a number that would have been higher had men of working age been allowed to leave by the Ukrainian government, which they were not, being needed for use as cannon fodder.

Both the British and US governments, which usually vie with one another to adopt the most vicious anti-refugee measures, have set in motion plans to fast-track and subsidise thousands of Ukrainians. Here in Britain, a country in which we are always being told there is ‘no more room’, workers are being offered £350 per month to put up a single Ukrainian refugee!

According to government websites: “Applications from refugees with a Ukrainian passport can be made online, with biometric information provided after arrival in the UK.

“As of 7 April, the UK had issued 28,500 visas under this scheme from 36,300 applications. However, only 10,800 have arrived in the UK under this scheme so far.”

The refugee housing scheme was launched on 14 March, and more than 100,000 people and organisations signed up within the first day, agreeing to offer a Ukrainian rent-free space in their home, or in a separate residence, for at least six months.

“They will not be expected to provide food and living expenses but can choose to do so.

“Each household housing a refugee will be offered £350 a month, tax-free, for up to 12 months. Local authorities will also receive £10,500 in extra funding per refugee for support services, with more for children of school age.”

“Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons are among UK retailers who have offered to employ Ukrainian refugees.”

“Refugees fleeing Ukraine can bring pets with them when coming to the UK.

“The government has streamlined the quarantine process for these animals and will cover the costs involved.”

How is it that such bountiful generosity is not extended to the desperate men, women and children who arrive on our shores in small boats from all the world’s other (often far more brutally devastated) war zones?

In a strange turn-about, notoriously anti-immigrant home secretary Priti Patel has found herself having to apologise for the fact that, despite Britain having issued about 42,000 visas, only around 12,000 asylum seekers had actually arrived by the beginning of April, and these were overwhelmingly comprised of people who already had family in Britain. Other European countries, meanwhile, had managed to take in hundreds of thousands.

The warm welcome is beginning to look more like a propaganda exercise to establish the saintliness of the belligerent countries than any real help to the civilian victims of Nato’s war.

And what about the refugees fleeing armed conflict from every other part of the world? There is, after all, a long list of countries that have been attacked, invaded and occupied by US, British and European Union imperialism in the name of ‘humanitarianism’.

When Yugoslavia was smashed to pieces by Nato, when Iraq was invaded and occupied, when wars were waged against the people of Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, each time a massive refugee crisis was caused. This was not only due to the imperialist bombs falling from the skies but also, in the cases of Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, as a result of the extremely violent tactics of imperialism’s Isis, zionist or wahhabi proxy troops.

And what about those desperate souls who flee nations like Zimbabwe, having been forced into the direst poverty despite their obvious wealth only because they refused to be tools of imperialism?

Where were the open doors for the equally deserving refugees from all these military and economic warzones? Where were the jobs waiting for them to step into? Where was the welcome for their pets?

The corporate media have made much of the fact that Ukrainians are white and European. This may well be in the mind of some of those offering homes to Ukrainian refugees, helped along by the various financial incentives. As far as our ruling class is concerned, however, Ukrainian refugees are simply one more tool in a psychological operation aimed at fixing an entirely false narrative around the causes and conduct of the war in Ukraine into the minds of British workers.

They are one more plank in the campaign to paint as an evil, barbarous enemy, thus justifying the imperialist drive to war against that country.

When that usefulness to imperialism is over, the Ukrainians may well find themselves flying back to Ukraine. If, when they get there, they find their homeland cleansed of Nazis and Nato terrorists, it will be courtesy of the Russian and Donbass militaries.