24.03.2008 | Halya Coynash

You round up cattle, not human beings


The entertainment industry thrives on horror, sensation and scandal. If people enjoy trembling with fear, gossiping, rummaging through dirty underwear, why not oblige?  A little bit of fear, titillation and they turn off the telly and get on with their lives. 

It’s not always that simple, however. The horror, sensation and scandal can be presented in an entirely different form. Most dangerous is when they come in news broadcasts or commentary.

If we consider the recent interview given by Ukrainian National Deputy Gennady Moskal (, the very title demands our attention: “Paedophiles, deviants and maniacs come en masse to Ukraine”.

Well, what more can you ask? Why watch moronic horror films when the “news” can make you tremble? Maniacs and en masse. And paedophiles so that everybody is outraged, as they should be.

  Only should they be?

  I’ll try to answer that question in what follows.

  To avoid any, how should I put it, “misunderstanding”, let me say immediately.  I do not like paedophiles. I want everything possible to be done to protect children. As far as deviants are concerned, if they define the term and who is entitled to judge, then I’ll give an opinion. I don’t eat meat myself, but I’m hardly going to call all meat eaters deviants.

  And how do I feel about maniacs?  Well, who feels good?

  So, there is some consensus – the journalist, politician and myself look with the same judgmental eye at people who pose a threat to us all. And if the esteemed representative of Ukraine’s highest legislative body would like to explain what criteria are used to define deviance, then maybe here we’ll also see eye to eye.

  Only what’s the issue?

  Here the problems begin, and they’re by no means trivial. So as not to tremble too long wondering where all these paedophiles, maniacs and (possibly) deviants are hiding, and to not wax too indignant over what those who are supposed to protect us are up to, let’s get down to the issue.

  It turns out we’re talking about migrants.

One can identify two clear arguments. There is apparently a fierce battle underway against illegal immigration involving absolutely all in power, right up to the President’s Secretariat. Only they’re fighting inefficiently, because they work in isolation. Mr Moskal believes it would be best to join forces, create a single executive body, and in order to not waste time, to have this for now within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It’s always sensible to coordinate efforts. Whether the suggestion is good is not for me to decide. It seems clear there is a problem.  

There is also criticism of the European Union with whom Ukraine has ratified a Law on Readmission. People can be returned to Ukraine, while eastern neighbours from whose countries many of those wishing to reach the EU, pass through Ukraine, are in no hurry to ratify analogous agreements with Ukraine.

Difficulties do indeed arise and it would be good to see the political will from all sides to resolve the problems.

Thus far no major disagreements, yet the further we go, the more problematical it becomes. The following statistics are presented regarding the number of foreign nationals crossing Ukraine’s borders:

  “Of these, 26 million 160 thousand arrived and 25 million 40 thousand left. The difference is thus 1 million 12 thousand people. At the same time 279 thousand foreign nationals are registered with the police. If you subtract this number for the 1 million 12 thousand, you end up with 733 thousand illegal migrants living among us and laughing.

We shouldn’t forget that this figure includes nationals from neighbouring countries, for example, Russia, who have different aims than to seduce children or commit serial murders. Approximately the same aims as the Ukrainian nationals who travel to the Russian Federation.

In this unprocessed form the figures serve one purpose alone, a purpose all too familiar from Soviet times. Fill people with the worrying thought that the enemy is among them.  And since not a word is spoken of the fact that this may well not be an enemy, but simply Nikolai Andreyevich who has come to visit his daughter, then people anxiously look around for those menacing “migrants”.

Whereas those registered with the police are normally those who stand out, through the colour of their skin, or because they don’t know the language.

I’d like to mention one other thing which for some reason is not touched upon in the interview. Not all the people have ended up in Ukraine because they dream of buying a car or eating crisps. There are people who for one reason or another could not remain in their own country. Does one need to remind people how many Ukrainians were scattered by events of our recent history all over the world?  Many would have been killed or imprisoned for a long time if they had not received refuge.

Please, let’s not forget that.

Mr Moskal is mistaken when he says that people from countries gripped by civil war or for other reasons forced to flee their homes are not allowed into countries of the European Union.

If a person faces danger, he or she may not be forcibly returned to their country of origin. This is a universal moral imperative and an international law binding upon all who have signed it.

One hopes that we are seeing only a part of the studio recording and that separate sections have been ineptly strung together. it is difficult to believe that a National Deputy could so catastrophically muddle different things or deliberately mislead people. Gennady Gennadievich is undoubtedly entitled to his own opinion. By virtue of his position, however, he is obliged to tell people the truth. And it is, most unfortunately, possible to distort the truth in very many ways.

We read Mr Moskal’s words:

“all paedophiles, deviants, different types of maniacs who previously tried to find refuge in the Philippines and other Asian countries, are now descending in their hundreds and thousands on Ukraine. This is a real tragedy for our society. Nowhere else in the world will you find so many neglected kids as here.  Walk around Kyiv and in an hour you’ll count thousands of such children. Our country is turning into a brothel. The sex industry is absolutely thriving. And what is typical is that the sex industry is not for normal people, but specifically for the type of deviants who are swarming here from all over the world, like flies to honey.”

How many problems do we have here? If we gather all those whom Mr Moskal labels “paedophiles, deviants and different types of maniacs” into one general heap, then for some reason these previously engaged in their criminal activities very far from Europe but have now suddenly started swarming to Ukraine. I would ask Gennady Gennadievich to explain why. After all, he puts the entire blame for present problems on the EU. It is quite incomprehensible why people would seek victims in Ukraine, if we are talking of migrants. But are we?

The further we go, the foggier the terrain. There are problems over neglected children. For a whole range of reasons Ukraine has indeed become an attractive hunting ground for sex tourists. This is a terrible ill which must be combated. But what have migrants got to do with it? They are different issues altogether, of which Gennady Gennadievich cannot be unaware. If deviants of this type (and I would not dispute the term) “swarm here like flies to honey”, then they also fly away. The Ukrainian authorities need to take measures against such criminals and eradicate the problems which make the situation possible, and not use these defenceless children in order to set people against migrants.

It is distressing to read this and I would hope that Gennady Gennadievich will see fit to explain to us and to his parliamentary colleagues how he could have been involved in such cheap manipulation. We read on:

Ukraine is in first place in Europe for illegal migration, it’s one of the leaders with regard to the spread of AIDS, and on child pornography. And it’s in first place for drug abuse among the population”.

It’s difficult to quibble with any particular point, yet the fact that they’re all bunched together is of no credit to the politician. He blames specific groups of migrants for involvement in the illegal drug business. There are possibly people from these groups involved in such crimes and they should be punished. Yet provide proof if you are going to accuse all members of a group. And explain what child pornography and AIDS have to do with it.

How long can we continue to seek out scapegoats to blame for all our problems? You need to combat problems – shouting won’t reduce their number.

Quite the contrary, there will be far more. Speeches filled with primitive stereotypes, typical propaganda techniques and hatred are music to the ear of racists and xenophobes who know how to translate hate speech into the language of physical violence.

  One most telling example:

- Gennady Gennadievich, you can’t help noticing the increasing protest from the public against the wave of illegal migrants.

I also see that. There are new civic organizations created: “The Movement against Illegal Migration in Ukraine”, xenophobic structures, skinhead organizations. Their leaders sometimes ask: “If the government doesn’t do anything, then why don’t you let us bring order to the situation with illegal migrants?”  We can’t put up with this mess and just watch on while Ukraine turns into a public thoroughfare.”

  It seems hardly accidental that a little earlier in the interview, Gennady Moskal himself said that “Ukraine has turned into a public thoroughfare”.

  There is one other favourite method for those who set one group against another.  They use words which blur a person’s humanity. You round up cattle, Gennady Gennadievich, not people, however distasteful you may find their presence in Ukraine.

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