(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Most of the information protection concerning the Russian-Ukrainian battle propaganda has been about Russian disinformation and Volodymyr Zelensky’s efficient battle time messaging.
After Zelensky’s viral look on the Grammys and Boris Johnson’s current go to to Kyiv, Ukraine seems to be successful the data battle. But media protection has targeted a lot much less on how different international locations’ propaganda machines are working to push sure narratives.
The Polish media has portrayed the nation’s reception of two.5 million refugees from Ukraine positively. This pro-messaging fails to acknowledge Poland’s historical past of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee insurance policies, the violence and racism confronted by refugees of color on the Belarusian border and the cries for assist from cities overwhelmed by refugees.
While many governments use humanitarianism to shore up nationwide identification and entice exterior sources — like how Hungary inflated their refugee numbers to hunt funds from the European Union — the Polish authorities’s #PolandFirstToHelp marketing campaign is each seen and efficient.
In accepting the biggest variety of refugees from Ukraine with an open-door coverage, Poland is little question serving to many victims of compelled displacement. But the nation’s double requirements and propaganda campaigns are holding it again from making actual political and social modifications.
Card stacking propaganda
Propaganda is “the spreading of concepts, info or hearsay for the aim of serving to or injuring an establishment, a trigger or an individual.”
Scholars like Clyde Miller are cautious to level out there’s a distinction between “good” and “unhealthy” propaganda. Similarly, political scientist Renee Marlin-Bennett notes that “propaganda just isn’t essentially disinformation, it’s biased info.”
Poland’s social media marketing campaign #PolandFirstToHelp is a transparent instance of card-stacking propaganda, which focuses solely on solely excellent news, whereas issues are disregarded or lied about. The social media marketing campaign highlights the constructive methods Poland has been serving to Ukrainian refugees, whereas burying the detrimental tales.
The marketing campaign was a response to reviews that refugees of color have been experiencing racism on the Ukrainian-Polish border. Instead of taking accountability for the discrimination confronted by racialized refugees, the Polish authorities condemned any accusations of racism as “faux information.”
Images like a photograph of empty strollers left for refugees at a prepare is an instance of the type of content material posted underneath the #PolandFirstToHelp hashtag. This overly constructive portrayal of Polish generosity hides the truth that not all refugees are getting a heat welcome.
A Twitter video posted on March 3, 2022, reveals refugees of color being heckled as they get off a bus from Ukraine:
Polish locals may be heard saying (translated from Polish):
“Where are the f–king girls with children?”
“Where are the ladies and youngsters from Ukraine?”
“What occurred to you? Why are you all carrying blackface?”
Flag-waving is one other kind of propoganda that justifies actions through the use of nationalism or patriotism.
The mixture of the 2 international locations’ flags is being shared with the hashtag #PolandFirstToHelp. There’s a picture of two girls embracing with every carrying their nation’s flag and one other one of many merging of the 2 international locations’ crests. Poland’s postal service even issued a brand new stamp with palms shaking which can be painted within the two international locations’ colors.
Poland is attaching itself and its flag to the Ukrainian flag as an instance unity. However, these photographs disguise a troublesome historical past between the 2 international locations.
The deputy director of the Centre for Eastern Studies, Wojciech Konończuk, wrote concerning the Volhynia Massacre that resulted within the killing of as much as 100,000 Poles by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in 1943–44:
“On the final National Day of Remembrance, Prime Minister Morawiecki acknowledged, ‘We will always remember the martyrdom of many tens of hundreds of Poles … and we are going to by no means enable this horrible and necessary a part of historical past to be erased or falsified.’”
Plain of us propaganda
Another kind of propaganda is named plain of us. It is employed when common persons are used to promote a product or thought. In this widespread video made by Visegrád24 — a media group that curates “information, politics, present affairs, historical past and tradition from the Visegrád international locations” (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) — an emotional Ukrainian soldier thanks Poland for taking in his household. The video is full of photographs of ladies and youngsters refugees, Polish and Ukrainian flags and emotional music.
Left out of this narrative is the truth that Visegrád lobbied towards the EU’s proposal to relocate Syrian asylum seekers throughout the area in 2015. This lobbying led to one among Poland’s members of parliament, Dominik Tarczynski, to say “we is not going to obtain even one Muslim as a result of that is what we promised.”
This lobbying contradicts the picture of extensive refugee acceptance that’s being promoted by Poland and teams like Visegrád24.
An opportunity to have interaction in powerful conversations
Refugees fleeing battle and battle deserves secure passage and the fitting to be handled with dignity and respect. Refugees crossing the Polish border shouldn’t worry being attacked as a result of they aren’t white.
PolandFirstToHelp rallied the nation round a typical trigger after a decade of political polarization. However, this second of unity rests of an unstable basis. There is an actual alternative for Poland to emerge from this refugee disaster as a extra united, accepting and economically sturdy society.
But to be able to do, that the nation wants to have interaction in powerful conversations about profitable refugee integration that addressees lengthy standing problems with xenophobia. Brushing the mistreatment of racialized refugees underneath the rug doesn’t handle the racism at root of the discrimination and guarantee future refugees is not going to need to reside by way of the identical remedy.
Yvonne Su doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.