Ukrainian refugees and the alleged luxury cars

Ukrainian refugees and the alleged luxury cars

Ukraine refugee in luxury car?After a few weeks of (almost) uncompromising public solidarity with Ukrainian refugees, the first peaks are now beginning to appear. Stone of the stumbling block is that people from Ukraine also flee by car and park it in Vienna. Cars quickly become polemically "luxury" cars, as if every car with Ukrainian license plates is a luxury sports car. This is firstly not verifiable, secondly improbable and thirdly has no relevance.

Behind it there is much more an image of refugees, that shows them as charity recipients dressed in rags, who have to be grateful for every old t-shirt. But it is not like that. All people who are in a war zone have to flee. Some of them manage to get out by evacuation transports, some are flown out, some struggle to reach the border on foot. And some manage to leave the country in their own cars. It does not mean that their journey was not dangerous. Many write "children" on their cars, hoping to be protected from attacks this way. But this is not a guarantee.

The way someone flees says nothing about the need for protection.

If someone flees by car, there is nothing reprehensible about it. Even people who had a car or perhaps even a comfortable or luxurious life have to flee from a war.

Escape is not a luxury journey

These pinpricks follow a familiar pattern: pointing to (supposed or real) luxuries is meant to undermine basic solidarity with refugees. This already worked in 2015. Back then it was the reference to smartphones. How can these people from Syria or Afghanistan be in need of protection if they have smartphones?

This was then twisted to the point where the latest smartphones are supposedly even given to the refugees as gifts. Groundless lies. But they work, because they are contrasted in a next step with Austrians affected by poverty. The fled people don't need our protection at all, because they have a smartphone (or just a car), much more the money that is intended for them should go to "our poor". This comes mostly from people who are too jealous of "our poor" the butter on the bread and advocate the reduction of minimum security and unemployment benefits. The variation of this narrative then continues with kindergarten/school places that refugees are said to get preferentially. Or housing. Or jobs.

Supposed luxury is meant to undermine solidarity

It's the same schtick. 2015 and today: solidarity with refugees to be undermined. These people are fleeing war, violence and death. A car or a smartphone is not the scandal of this situation.

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