Discover more from The Orchard
Poland is also to blame for the manufactured migrant crisis on the Belarus border
With all the hand-wringing over Belarus using Middle Eastern refugees as a weapon against the EU, few have asked why Poland doesn't simply hear the migrants' asylum claims
Thousands of Middle Eastern refugees are being used as a geopolitical weapon at Belarus’s borders with the EU, where they’re trapped between two nations that don’t want them. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has led the country since it obtained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1994, is accused of sending migrants who were recruited by Belarus’s state-owned travel agency to the border with its EU neighbours, particularly Poland, where they’re left out in the freezing cold.
Conditions at the border zone have been dire, leading to the deaths of at least 10 migrants.
This is allegedly revenge for sanctions the EU placed on Belarus for its crackdown on the EU-backed opposition. Naturally, we’re told these efforts are being orchestrated from above by Vladimir Putin, despite his relatively frosty relationship with his ally Lukashenko.
Belarus, which has offered to send 5,000 migrants home if the EU takes in 2,000, is no doubt to blame for recruiting a massive influx of migrants under the false pretence they’d be offered somewhere to stay.
But few in the West are asking what Poland and the EU could be doing to alleviate the migrants’ suffering.
The G7 foreign ministers, which includes Canada’s newly-appointed Mélanie Joly, issued an entirely one-sided communiqué on this issue yesterday, expressing unequivocal “solidarity with Poland, as well as with Lithuania and Latvia, which have been targeted by this provocative use of irregular migration as a hybrid tactic.”
The ministers proceeded to praise “the actions of the European Union, which is working closely with countries of origin and transit to put an end to the actions of the Lukashenko regime. We will continue to work together to hold those responsible to account and to support civil society and human rights in Belarus.”
Poland’s right-wing government has used this crisis as an opportunity to declare a state of emergency, deploying 15,000 troops who’ve fired water cannons at migrants in freezing temperatures, while barring everyone except for locals from a security zone created at the border area.
“Why not have transparency? If you’re doing everything right, why not let people see this?” Urszula Zielinska, a Polish Green Party MP who went as close as she could to the border area last week, told the Globe and Mail’s Mark MacKinnon.
“It’s a humanitarian issue. Those trapped on the border or in between should be taken away from the Lukashenko regime so we can assess who is eligible for international protection.”
While the G7 and EU thump their chests at Russia and Belarus to demonstrate their machismo, people fleeing conditions created by the wars these countries have waged in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria are left to further suffer.
If that’s not a damning indictment of our foreign policy, I don’t know what is.
In others news …
Earlier this week, thousands of people in B.C., including the entire town of Merritt, had to evacuate their homes after the region’s monthly average precipitation fell in one day.
From the BBC: At one point the main available land route out of Vancouver was to enter the US and then return to Canada. However, re-entering Canada from the US requires a negative coronavirus test, and roads in the border state of Washington were also affected by the storm.
B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, whose government is in the midst of ramming a gas pipeline through unceded Indigenous territory, said the floods were undoubtedly the result of climate change.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced he’s withdrawing three pieces of legislation introduced in September 2020 that would have forced farmers to sell their produce on the open market, giving big agribusiness an advantage.
Protesting the legislation, farmers camped out in an area outside New Delhi for nearly a year, with protests in support popping up elsewhere in India. Indian forces violently suppressed these demonstrations, leading to the deaths of 700 people nationwide.
Rakesh Tikait of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers Union) said the farmers’ “agitation will not be withdrawn immediately,” but will wait until legislation reversing the reforms is passed.
Edited by Scott Schmidt
I’m taking a social media hiatus for November, so if you like this content, I’d urge you to share, subscribe and tell your friends: