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Initiatives of free international travel for Ukrainian refugees fleeing turmoil

Initiatives of free international travel for Ukrainian refugees fleeing turmoil



Initiatives of free international travel for Ukrainian refugees fleeing turmoil

At the beginning of March, Hungarian airline, Wizz Air announced that it was going to provide free international travel for Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the conflict to the UK. The airline decided to give 100,000 free tickets to Ukrainians from 14th May, to 15th June 2022.

Many countries came together to help refugees after a meeting of the EU foreign ministries in March. During this meeting, German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock asked to establish air bridges to help evacuate Ukrainians from their besieged country and transport them to host countries, even across the Atlantic. She also added that the countries should be ready to house millions of refugees. 

The free tickets were handed to Ukrainians who fled the country and entered neighbouring countries, such as: Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. To be eligible for the ticket, the person had to fill out a form which at the end would show EUR 0. 

Similarly, Ryanair, a Dublin-based airline announced that it would be airlifting medical supplies for Ukraine and dropping them off in Poland, from where the military will collect them. This airline is not providing free tickets to Ukrainians yet, which did raise some questions among people as they wanted the airline to offer free tickets to the refugees as well. 

Many train companies from many countries have offered free tickets to refugees fleeing Ukraine as well. Countries offering free tickets are Czech, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Netherland, and Switzerland. Most of these countries are also providing free public transport to these refugees. Czech also has free car transport services to and from the Ukrainian border. 

Canada is another country offering free tickets to Ukrainian refugees. The country is doing this through the Ukraine2Canada Travel Fund. In this scheme, Canadians and Canadian businesses can donate money or travel points to this fund. As a result, free tickets will be given to Ukrainians and their family members. 

The Canadian organization is doing this in collaboration with Miles4Migrants that have been helping refugees in Afghanistan escape the war-torn country and relocate as well. However, the tickets provided for Afghanistan prioritize US citizens, US legal permanent residents, and their immediate family members. After this, Afghans eligible for free tickets will be the remaining US Embassy staff, and applicants under the Special Immigrant Visa program for Afghans who worked for the US, according to a document on their website

Hypocrisy and discrimination in asylum policies 

It is, of course, a great thing to see countries coming together to help refugees from Ukraine, as it helps to distribute the burden of the refugees. However, one does wonder, if these countries could help Ukrainians to this degree, why were other asylum seekers denied entry into the same countries?

The hypocrisy of the UK is clear because a few months ago they introduced the Rwanda plan which relocated refugees coming from the English Channel to Rwanda, from where they could not return to the UK. Similarly, in 2021, during the Afghanistan crisis, the UK only took 5,000 refugees to resettle because they, “could not take any more”. In 2020 there were 1,336 asylum applications from Afghanistan out of which only 454 were accepted, making it very hard for the refugees to enter the country legally. 

Moreover, Germany was accused of replacing Afghan refugees with Ukrainian ones. So far, till May 2022 more than 700,000 Ukrainian refugees have been registered to the German authorities, some at the expense of refugees from Afghanistan. 

In short, the very same countries that refused Afghan and Syrian refugees are now accepting Ukrainian ones like Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Slovakia, Greece, France, and many more. 

When AnalystNews spoke to Tariq Bergovi, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, he admitted that race has a part to play in the reaction against Russia. 

“I don’t think it [the hate] is driven by anti-Russian. I think it is this perception that you can’t do this kind of thing to white people,” he said. 

“The West has been doing this to brown people for centuries, the Nazis started doing it to white people and people are horrified.”

“The idea that you can do what Putin is doing to white people is not acceptable,” he added. 

When the Russia-Ukraine conflict started many news channels expressed how this conflict had white people so European countries could relate to them which made it easier for them to accept the white refugees. Almost like a war in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America are normal parts of life. 

Likewise, Vogue Magazine edited out “Palestine” from Gigi Hadid, a model’s Instagram post during the Palestinian war against Israel. The same magazine recently dedicated a whole spread to the Ukrainian President and his wife. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.


At least 30 people die in recent violent protests in Baghdad, Iraq



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On August 29th, Iraq’s Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from political activity via Twitter, criticising the failure of fellow Shiite leaders to reform a corrupt government. He also announced the closing of all his offices nationwide. Al-Sadr’s announcement was followed by violent protests in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, which resulted in at least 30 deaths and 200 injuries.

The protests were started by Al-Sadr’s supporters, who stormed the Republican Palace in Baghdad’s Green Zone, a heavily fortified area that serves as the headquarters of Iraqi regimes. Both foreign embassies and the government are housed there.  But Al-Sadr’s supporters fired rocket propelled grenades and machine guns from there as well.

Due to the protests Iraq’s current Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Khadimi has now put off all government meetings until further notice. Al-Khadimi has also urged Al-Sadr to “help call on the demonstrators to withdraw from government institutions”.

According to some reports Al-Sadr’s supporters had been occupying parliament buildings for a while now. They then charged at the headquarters in the Green Zone. Pictures showed exultant Al-Sadr supporters cheering in the Republican Palace swimming pool,, waving around the Iraqi flag and a photo of Al-Sadr. 

In response to the protests the Iraqi military said they are practising “the highest levels of self-restraint and brotherly behaviour to prevent clashes or the spilling of Iraqi blood.” However, according to reports hundreds of protesters were pushed out of the Republican Palace by tear gas and bullets used by Security forces.

The military also introduced a strict curfew, restricting the movement of vehicles and pedestrians as well, which was in place until further instructions by the government. In Baghdad the curfew was introduced from 3.30pm local time. Later, a nationwide curfew was introduced as well with the aim to urge protestors to leave the Green Zone.

As a response to the violent outbreaks, UN chief Antonio Guterres asked all parties to “take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.” Stephane Dujarric, his secretary-general, also added in a statement that he “appeals for calm and restraint and urges all relevant actors to take immediate steps to avoid any violence.”

A day later, on Tuesday August 30th, Al-Sadr released a statement via television, apologising for the violence and saying, “the spilling of Iraqi blood is forbidden.” In his statement he also threatened his supporters that “if in the next 60 minutes they do not withdraw, as well as from parliament, then I will abandon these supporters.”

The nationwide curfew was lifted after the new statement.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany



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  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Albanian Prime Minister expressed discontent over membership delays for the European Union



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On June 23rd, the leaders of the European Union had a meeting with six Western Balkan Countries. These countries, consisting of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, have all applied to become part of the EU for years now. 

This time they met to further their integration into the EU. 

The meeting took place amidst tensions between the countries, as Bulgaria’s veto on accession talk with North Macedonia.Bulgaria refuses to recognize Macedonia as a separate country and this veto also put Albanian negotiations on hold. 

Before the summit took place the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, criticised EU leader for their delay. 

“You are a mess guys, you are a big mess and you are a disgrace and I think it’s a shame that a NATO country kidnaps two other NATO countries while in the backyard of Europe there is a hot war and of course, it’s not good to see that 26 other countries sit still in a scary show of impotence,” Rama said.

This frustration came to be due to the long wait of being able to join the European Union. The longest-standing nation dates back to 2005, when North Macedonia applied for EU membership. 

While the Western Balkan country has been applying and waiting for years now, countries like Ukraine and Moldovia are moving in record speed to be granted the candidate status. Which furthers the frustration Western Balkans leaders feel. 

The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz responded:

“The most important [thing] is that the states from Western Balkans will have a good opportunity to become really members of the European Union,” adding “they’ve worked so hard, so it’s our common task this something that will happen.”

Bulgaria seemed to make progress until their opposition appeared to be wanting to advance with opening accession negotiations. Despite the hope it did not further any progress, due to dispute in the parliament. 

The Bulgarian Prime Minister called the opposition leader “most dishonest person I know.”

The European Council President Charles Michel stated that he was watching the development in Bulgaria closely and that starting the negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia were his top priority. 

By the end of the meeting Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama posted on Twitter:

“Nice place nice people nice words nice pictures and just imagine how much nicer could be if nice promises were followed by nice delivery. 
But we Albanians are not as nice as to give up nicely! So, we will keep going and working even harder to make Albania a nice EU member”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Human Rights

Exclusive: John Pilger claims Julian Assange extradition is bad news for “truth-tellers”



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We spoke to veteran investigative journalist and documentarian John Pilger about what he thought Assange’s looming extradition meant for the state of the press in the UK, and the fate investigative journalists like him

Julian Assange –  the investigative journalist and whistleblower spent the last ten years fighting for freedom after having leaked secret documents regarding US human rights abuses. Most of those years were spent holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain where he was granted asylum by the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa in 2012. 

That asylum ended seven years later when Correa’s replacement, Lenin Moreno handed him over to the British authorities. On the morning of April 11th, 2019, Assange was dragged out of the embassy by British police in a brutal show of force, and taken to be locked up in Belmarsh prison, the detention centre known as the British Guantanamo Bay. He has remained there since.

Last week, Assange’s decade long battle was dealt a blow. British Home Secretary Priti Patel signed Assange’s extradition order to the United States, where he faces 18 federal counts of espionage for publishing secret state documents handed to him by the former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning; documents which exposed the atrocities, human rights abuses and war crimes committed by The United States, its allies, and their forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East. 

Besides this, the documents showed the systematic human rights abuses and torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, the controversial U.S Prison located in Cuba that held more than 150 prisoners, who were innocent without charge for years. And most of all, they confirmed that the pretext for the U.S led invasion of Iraq was a farce.

But in a country that lauds itself on its free press, especially when holding up its democratic values against its autocratic Middle-Eastern counterparts, what happens when a journalist exercises his right within the free press and is castigated the way Assange has been and for as long as he has?

“There is no free press as we might imagine or mythologise it. A powerful, almost unconscious self-censorship routinely dominates the media, much of it run or influenced by an augmented extremism called Murdochism. Added to this are draconian laws that constrain our right to know and which allow the ‘intelligence services’ (known in the US as the ‘deep state’) to manipulate the press. Little of this is discussed publicly.”

According to Pilger, it was Julian Assange who “broke down this wall of censorship, on the public’s behalf.” It is no surprise then, that the whistleblower, Manning was pardoned by the US after seven years in prison, while the publisher could face confinement for the rest of his life. Currently, Assange faces up to ten years in prison for each federal count against him. But Assange is an Australian national, and just recently the former foreign minister of Australia, Bobb Carr, wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald that he believed that the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, should request the Biden administration for Assange’s freedom.

Pilger affirms that the Australian government should support their citizen, but that “rights and reality live in two different worlds. We should unite them!” 

Despite Carr’s suggestion, Australian Prime Minister publicly affirmed he stood by his previous remarks that Assange had “paid a big price for the publication of the information already” and that “I do not see what purpose is served by the ongoing pursuit of Mr Assange,”  but that he would not publicly ask Biden for a pardon for Assange. Speaking to the broadcaster Sky News, he said “We’re not going to conduct diplomacy by megaphone.” 

But what is it that makes such prominent world leaders so reluctant to directly support the plight of Assange?  For some it is the fact that he published secret state documents through his whistleblower site, Wikileaks. Was this really a violation of the official secret act, as has been alleged, or does the right of the public to know what governments are doing abroad with taxpayers money negate this? Is the country not put at risk when state secrets are made public?

“Wikileaks revealed grave state crimes,” he says, “The law should apply to governments as well as to individuals. Nazi leaders and officials were prosecuted and punished at the end of World War Two because they committed state crimes. The principle is the same.”

If Julian Assange’s team fails in its attempts to appeal and he is sent to the US, what will that entail for him? And what implications will it have on future whistleblowers and investigative journalists?

John Pilger is blunt. “For Julian it will be the end of his life. For truth-tellers, it will mean even greater risk than at present. The shadows of state control will spread until we call, ‘’stop.’

In fact, the veteran journalist is no stranger to censorship of his own work either. In 2014 his regular column for the oft-touted ‘independent’ paper the Guardian was axed, according to Pilger, “Without explanation.”

“I wrote a fortnightly piece for the Guardian which was axed in 2014 with the specious explanation that the paper ‘needed greater variety’: some such nonsense. There were (and are) warring political factions on the Guardian and under a new editor a virulent right-wing took control. At that time, I was writing about the Western-sponsored coup in Ukraine, which had just happened, and the war it beckoned.”

It is a grim state of affairs to which the future of journalism seems to be hurtling towards, painted darker by recent events. What hope does that leave to budding journalists who would wish to pursue a career like that of Pilger’s and other investigative journalists and whistleblowers, like Assange, who in their fearlessness can speak truth and expose the crimes and excesses of those in power? How can the fear of reprisal by the authorities be abated?“Keep going. Be resolute and follow your star. The times are difficult, but there are more independent outlets,online, than when I began. Try and stay away from the mis-named ‘mainstream’ which used to have space for independent minded journalists, but no more. Journalism is a wonderful craft: how it is practised and honoured is up to you.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Illegal Maasai eviction for wildlife hunting



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Tanzania to forcefully evict indigenous community in illegal move for wildlife hunting ground

The government of the United Republic of Tanzania is currently planning on removing the Maasai people from their ancestral land in 2022. The land is being cleared so it can be leased to wildlife hunting firm Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC) owned by Dubai Royals and for tourism reasons. 

The 1,500 km2 area is located in the Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region. Known as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) it is home to many locals who do not want to leave. 

If the leasing plan is passed, it will displace around 70,000 indigenous Maasai people and more than 200,000 livestock, according to an urgent alert by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). The Maasai were told of this plan in January of this year by Regional Commissioner for Arusha, John Mongella. The forceful eviction is also being condemned by the Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI) organization. 

But the land of the NCA is also under threat from other international organisations such as UNESCO and safari businesses. Allegedly posing a threat to ecological sustainability and wildlife tourism, the government of Tanzania believes that the area is overpopulated which could impact surrounding wildlife. The Multiple Land-Use Model (MLUM) was previously developed so the land could be used for more than one purpose. However, there is evidence that in the past this plan has led to serious problems for the locals. 

Current protests against the proposed evictions and demarcation of land for conservation have been met with violence. On June 10th police fired on at least 18 men and 13 women, and 13 were wounded with machetes with one person confirmed dead. The protests began back in January. 

The eviction of the indigenous peoples is illegal according to Tanzania law and international law and a violation of the Village Land Act of 1999. According to international law, forced evictions are a violation of human rights and can only be allowed in extreme conditions whilst strictly complying with specific standards and legal processes. However, a representative of the Tanzanian government, Malik Hassan Shafi refuted claims of enforced evictions stating that the government would “never hurt its own people it has sworn to protect”, and that anti-government agitators were to blame for the discord.

But a local Maasai leader attending the protest insisted, “We have nowhere else to go. Losing this land will mean the extinction of our community. We have taken care of our environment and lived in harmony with other living and nonliving things. And we are not ready to lose our traditional lifestyle we have lived for times immemorial. ”He added, “Over 70% of our homelands has been taken for conservation and investment reasons. We are appealing to human rights organizations, media and other citizens who value Indigenous human rights to share our plight and put pressure on the government of Tanzania to respect the rights of its citizens, and particularly indigenous people.” 

As well as protesting, the Maasai community has also written a letter to appeal to Western leaders for support to stop the forceful eviction, but so far there has been little response. There are fears it could mirror the forceful eviction of Palestinians which was approved by an Israeli court earlier this year.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Why Cineworld Cancelled The Lady of Heaven Film



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The Lady of Heaven, a film about the daughter of Prophet Muhammad sparked outrage among Muslims in the UK before its screening. There were protests outside the cinemas in Bradford, Sheffield, and Bolton, which resulted in Cineworld canceling the screening of the film all over the UK.

The Lady of Heaven is a film produced by Malik Shlibak and written by Shia cleric, Yasser Al-Habib who is a controversial figure among Shias around the world. The film focuses on two storylines, one from the perspective of the birth of Islam in the 7th century and another storyline in the present, of an orphan whose mother was killed by the terrorist group ISIS. He is then adopted by an old woman who tells him the stories of Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.

Along with protests outside the cinemas where the film is playing, there has also been a petition which was signed by 120,000 people. The film was originally released in 2021 elsewhere, but in the UK it was shown only recently on 3rd June.

Muslim countries have condemned the movie and in Iran, the film has been banned for being divisive in the Muslim world.

As a result, a spokesperson for Cineworld stated; “Due to recent incidents related to screenings of The Lady of Heaven, we have made the decision to cancel upcoming screenings of the film nationwide to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.”

Why is the film getting so much hate?

What has caused such an outrage in the Muslim community?

The depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is not allowed in the religion but they show his face in the film.

“In accordance with Islamic tradition, during the making of this film no individual represented a holy personality. The performances of the holy personalities were achieved through a unique synthesis of actors, in-camera effects, lighting, and visual effects,” said a statement on the film’s IMDb page.

However, it doesn’t erase the fact that the audience can still see the depiction of his face which is the main issue.

Sunnis also object to the film for its link to Daesh and its false portrayal of certain companions of the prophet. They are shown as the “evil” guys, which is not only factually incorrect but also deeply offensive.

Similarly, Shias disagree for similar reasons because of the inflammatory or unrepresentative depiction of Shia identity and theology.

The film is also being labeled as racist for having all black actors playing “villains” even though historically they would have been Arabs.

When the film was released it did not gather much attention or generate much box office. However, all the protests have given it attention which in turn has made people more curious to see it, especially non-Muslims.

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid criticized the decision made to pull the film because “what we have in this country is freedom of speech and expression and that is a fundamental value.”

But on the issue of free speech, other say: “If we wish to live in a peaceful and harmonious society, we must ensure that our actions and words are conducive to mutual respect and tolerance. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we must.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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