Poland, which has taken in the bulk of refugees fleeing the Russian invasion, reportedly does not welcome people of color and other nationalities from Ukraine.
Atlantic Staff Writer Caitlin Dickerson, who flew to Ukraine on special assignment, reported to CBS News anchors Tanya Rivero and Mola Lenghi that not all Ukrainian refugees were welcomed by Poland. The said country, which has sheltered more than 3 million of the 5.5 Ukrainians who fled their homeland since the beginning of the Russian invasion last February, has treated people of color and Syrians differently. The difference in treatment lies, accordingly, from the strain Poland is experiencing due to the influx of refugees.
Poland Open To Ukraine
Dickerson shared with Rivero and Lenghi her observations over the last two months she has been in Poland with the refugees. She said there's a difference between the time the refugees queued for days at the border and the time they have already migrated into Poland as they move forward with their respective lives.
In addition, this is versus the Polish people who have accepted the refugees into their households and very lives. She stressed that the tension now increases as both groups go through this challenge together. She elaborated that it is difficult and likened it to a timebomb as the former overstay their welcome.
"On the other side, we have the Polish people who have uncharacteristically embraced very warmly people who are coming from Ukraine or of Ukrainian ancestry. The story has been different for people who are migrants to Ukraine from different backgrounds," Dickerson said.
Poland & People of Color
Lenghi then pressed Dickerson on what she meant when she said there is a difference in treatment. Dickerson explained that in the last couple of years, a significant number of groups like Syrians and Iraqis have been trying to come into Poland. However, the Polish government has not welcomed this particular group of people. Dickerson cited reports she received while she was there in Poland involving the complicated geopolitical situation.
"You've had more than two dozen people who died in the forest waiting. You've had people hit with water canons. There was a one-year-old Syrian baby who died in the forest waiting to get into Poland just while I was in Poland," Dickerson stressed.
"There was a paralyzed young man being carried by his family through the forest and was not being allowed in. There was another teenager who was unconscious and was not allowed in," she added.
The Atlantic reporter underscored that these obstructions were experienced by this group of people while the border was completely open for Ukrainians who were being allowed to Poland without any limitations as long as they have a Ukrainian passport. She pointed out that the reception is different if a person comes from African, Middle-Eastern, and South Asian countries. Ukrainians who look Ukrainian and speak Ukrainian have a more novel experience than the other refugees who come to Poland.
Historically, Poland is said to be known for not being truly welcoming to refugees. This is one reason its government has stalled negations over refugees despite being a member of the European Union. One reason the negotiations are stalled is that the country refuses to be involved in the responsibility of housing refugees.