Mass solidarity partly because we recognise Ukrainians

Woman holding a small Ukranian flag in the cold
Berlijn vlag Oekraine

A Ukrainian flag in your window, a post on Instagram expressing support or participating in a demonstration. Many people show their solidarity with Ukraine. Where does this solidarity come from? Researchers Geske Dijkstra, Thea Hilhorst and Lucas Meijs discuss this from their expertise.

Actually very painful

According to Geske Dijkstra, professor of governance and global development, the fact that the conflict seems to be getting close plays a role, she says in newspaper Trouw. "Ukraine is not far: just as far from the Netherlands as Benidorm, I heard someone say recently. I looked it up: that's right." Furthermore, the Ukrainians look like white Dutch. There is unconscious racism in this, however much people would like it not to be so: "It is of course very painful, especially if you consider that at this very moment in Libya, for example, there are also refugees and migrants in camps where people are being murdered and all sorts of terrible things are happening."

Thea Hilhorst (2020)

Positive side to solidarity

The solidarity is of course also positive, says Thea Hilhorst, professor Humanitarian Studies, in the Volkskrant. "The solidarity with refugees from Ukraine is an impressive relief after the indifferent coldness that increasingly prevailed in recent years. I think we need to go back to the refugee influx from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s to find a similar reaction. What is at stake? Ukrainians are Europeans, our history is intertwined. The shock of sudden war has the effect of a natural disaster, which always evokes more solidarity than a prolonged conflict."

In the Volkskrant, Hilhorst goes into it in more detail
Lucas Meijs

More recognition, bigger donation

The Dutch donate massively to GIRO 555. And the real action starts on Monday. Lucas Meijs, professor of strategic philanthropy, expects that much more money will be raised on Monday. "Dutch people in general have a great voluntary energy," he told RTL Nieuws.

According to Meijs, how much we are prepared to give depends on the goal: "It is not the case that the bigger the disaster, the more we give. We want to show solidarity, but preferably when we recognise ourselves in the victims. We give more to people who look like us and with whom we feel connected."

On the RTL website, Meijs continues
More information

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