Recent events around refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries of the Middle East cannot but leave indifferent. The Belarusian regime is trying to put pressure on the EU with the help of refugees, and in response Lithuania and many other European countries place the issue of refugees on Lukashenka, and not on the situation in the Middle East. Some liberal authors support the position of the European Union in this regard. The last straw for our team was the jubilation in social networks after the “removal” of Iraqis from Belarus. Many of us are migrants ourselves and we condemn attempts to promote anti-migration sentiment within belarusian society.
The liberal European Union is not a zone of ultimatum moral right. Many decisions that are made within the EU countries are contrary to basic human rights. For example, the declared assistance to refugees from Syria very quickly provoked the so-called pushbacks, when migrants at the border are simply returned back to the country from which they came. Refugees have the right to request asylum right at the border, but countries such as Greece, Croatia, Poland, Hungary simply push people back to border countries in violation of international law.
In addition, the EU actively cooperates with authoritarian regimes, including to combat refugee flows. In this regard, a good example is the Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, which has become a reliable partner of European countries in the North African region, including to combat the so-called illegal migration. We consider this approach not only immoral, but we place partial responsibility for the preservation of authoritarian regimes on European liberals. Just as Russian money supports Lukashenka, European money supports various cannibalistic regimes in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey and other countries.
For many years, obtaining refugee status for a Belarusian has been extremely difficult in the EU countries, contrary to the promises of diplomats. Belarusian Roma who fled from the cop pogroms were poisoned back to Lukashenka’s Belarus without any questions. Some local activists in the regions, faced with pressure, tried to get asylum in European countries without much success. And even now, Poland, contrary to loud words, provides asylum to a small part of Belarusian migrants, and the rest are submitted for so-called “temporary protection”.
It should be understood that the support of Belarusians for the right-wing regimes of Poland and Lithuania is not a moral, but a political issue. Today, the issuance of humanitarian visas for Lukashenka’s opponents carries political points. But nothing lasts forever. And sooner or later the same story will happen with Belarusians as with Syrian refugees, some of whom took an active part in the armed struggle against the Assad regime. Today, millions of Syrian refugees are stuck in Turkey, which prevents them from moving further to the West as part of the EU’s cooperation program with dictator Erdogan. The European Union will already pay several billion dollars to the Turkish regime to protect its borders. In the spring, a scandal thundered in the EU because of the attempt of the Danish authorities to deport Syrian refugees back to Syria after declaring Damascus a safe region. And this is one of dozens of examples where liberal and conservative politicians stop supporting refugees for lack of political gain.
And let’s not forget that barbed wire fences on the border with Lithuania stop people regardless of their nationality and skin color. The absence of these fences a few months ago allowed some activists of the anti-Lukashenka movement to escape.
For anarchists, the EU, although it is a much more progressive region, is still a place of struggle between social movements and authoritarian, conservative and capitalist forces. And we consider it necessary to criticize not only Putin’s imperialism, but also european policies, which have done enough to destroy freedoms in various regions of our planet.
Belarusian Opposition and Lukashenka
This is not the first time Lukashenka has tried to use the issue of migration for political pressure on the EU. Recall that in 2014, when the regime was still under European sanctions, the Belarusian authorities received financial assistance to protect European borders. Then liberal politicians from the West were not confused by the fact of the presence of political prisoners in the country.
A few years later, Lukashenka tried to play on the topic of accepting Syrian refugees within the framework of the UN program. Then conservative oppositionists from the BPF opposed the acceptance of migrants, as they can “poison” Belarusian culture. A whole show on this subject was released on Belsat, in which our comrades Mikalai Dziadok, Ihar Bogachek and Valeria Khotina took part. And although Lukashenka clearly tried to use international migration laws in his economic interests, we consider it unacceptable to stir up anti-migration sentiments.
In 2017, the EU approved a $7 million project for the construction of refugee camps,which were to be used primarily to contain migrants detained in the EU and entered the region through Belarus. It is clear that no one built camps, and the money most likely settled in the pockets of Lukashenka and his entourage.
The line of struggle against refugees and protection of external European borders remained one of the key in European projects to provide financial assistance to the regime until August 2020. It is not surprising that Lukashenka uses the issue of migration to his own advantage. The EU money has shown where they are most afraid of blows.
The rise to the shield of many media stories with Lukashenka’s hybrid war against the West look ridiculous in this light. It is enough for the regime to stop guarding the borders and a crisis begins in the EU, as once again the dilemma of the moral against the political rises. At the moment, liberal Western politicians are not ready to massively accept refugees from conflict zones or environmental disasters. But this fact does not sell well to the liberal electorate, so cooperation with authoritarian regimes is now key to the survival of part of the liberal political systems.
Нет никакой гибридной войны. Есть огромное количество политических и социальных проблем в Ираке, Афганистане, Иране, вынуждающих людей бежать в поисках безопасной жизни. И мы не имеем никакого права включать судей, которые будут решать кто хороший беженец, а кто плохой. Афганистан сейчас в огне с возвращением Талибана и нам сложно представить, через что проходит местное население под контролем этой фашистско-религиозной секты. Риторика многих либеральных журналистов очень напоминает историю других мигрантов, которые после переезда закрыли за собой дверь и начали активно поддерживать антимиграционные настроения. Для многих беларусов миграция – это единственный способ остаться в безопасности. Нам необходимо делать все возможное, чтобы границы оставались открыты не только для нас самих и нашего окружения, но для всех, кто нуждается в этой безопасности.
We believe that politicians in Brussels should take responsibility for asylum on themselves, and not try to establish refugee camps in border countries and from these countries choose refugees with higher education to develop the economic potential of the so-called first world. Belarusians, regardless of the political regime in the region, should not become defenders of European borders from climatic, economic and political refugees, many of whom are forced to leave their homes because of the policies of these very European countries. We condemn any attempts by liberal oppositionists to support the right-conservative agenda in the fight against refugees in the EU and consider unacceptable any joyful posts about the “export” of Iraqis from Belarus. After all, Belarusian refugees are politically and socially much closer to Syrian refugees than to citizens of Poland or Germany.
Solidarity is our weapon that knows no borders! ✊