Prince William Calls War in Europe "Alien to See," Sparking Backlash Online

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

Prince William's comments about the war in Ukraine are facing backlash online. Per the Independent, the Duke of Cambridge "said Britons were more used to seeing conflict in Africa and Asia." Prince William then said, "It's very alien to see this in Europe. We are all behind you." Adding that he wanted to do more to help, he continued, "We feel so useless."

The comments came during Prince William and Kate Middleton's visit to a Ukrainian Cultural Center in London, where they met with volunteers and heard about the relief efforts undergoing in the UK. Prince William also shared that their kids have been asking about the conflict.

However, it's his quote about the war being "alien" in Europe that is quickly going viral. One tweet from Independent columnist Nadine White has garnered thousands of retweets, expressing outrage at William:

Activist Bree Newsome tweeted about William's comments, calling them "wildly ahistorical."

Many commentators are pointing out that two major world wars were fought in Europe, and Prince William has lived through conflict on the continent in his lifetime—including the Kosovo War from 1998 to 1999, and the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014.

Some turned to jokes, like comedian Nish Kumar, who tweeted, "And who might have started those wars and bloodshed in Africa and Asia buddies?"

Another tweeter joked about her Irish and Scottish ancestors.

His comments are being compared to other journalists who have made racist comments regarding the war, like CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata.

"This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades," D’Agata said on air. "This is a relatively civilized, relatively European—I have to choose those words carefully too—city, one where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen."

D'Agata later apologized, saying, "I spoke in a way I regret, and for that I’m sorry." While D'Agata is the highest profile American example, he's not alone in his commentary of Ukraine.

French news anchor Philippe Corbé said, "We’re not talking here about Syrians fleeing the bombing of the Syrian regime backed by Putin; we’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives."

In response to Prince William's quotes, some tweeters are sharing Trevor Noah's commentary calling out Western media's coverage of Ukraine.

The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association condemned coverage like this, writing on February 27: "The racist implications that any population or country is ‘uncivilized’ or bears economic factors that make it worthy of conflict. This type of commentary reflects the pervasive mentality in Western journalism of normalizing tragedy in parts of the world such as the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. It dehumanizes and renders their experience with war as somehow normal and expected ... civilian casualties and displacement in other countries are equally as abhorrent as they are in Ukraine.”

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