[Opinion] Why Poland Sheltering Ukrainians Now but not Syrians Before Is NOT a Case of Racism.

A screenshot of the Tweet reposted on Instagram, which I saw shared by an acquaintance of mine.
UNHCR statistic on total Ukrainian refugee count as of Mar. 17th, 2022
UNHCR statistic on countries Ukrainians are fleeing to as of Mar. 17th, 2022.
Photo by Eugene Tkachenko on Unsplash

Why Are Poles Welcoming Ukrainians, but Didn’t Welcome Syrians

To answer this complex question, I would like to present a couple of my perspectives on the issue.

  1. The people we see flowing into Poland are predominantly elderly, women and children. That wasn’t really the case in 2015, or at least the society has seen multiple reports supporting that point of view. And I’m not saying men don’t need support, but seeing suffering kids and women definitely strikes a more emotional tune, and helps develop deep sympathy.
  2. Vast majority of the refugees from Ukraine are seeking a temporary shelter, while Syrian refugees often were seeking permanent relocation. And while I think there were totally ways to make that happen (and the way west of Europe welcomed Syrians wasn’t riddled with issues), and allow them to become a part of local society in the long term, that’s just my opinion, and I can see how the more conservative part of the society would have… concerns about this. And Poland is still predominantly conservative. In fact, conservative PiS (Law and Justice party) party has been selected to stay in power during last election.

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Szymon Bielecki

Szymon Bielecki

A Taiwan-based Pole. Marketer, martial artist, wannabe entrepreneur with a ton of side hustles.