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Spanish footballer Héctor Bellerín has asked why people are more concerned about the Ukrainian invasion when atrocities have been occuring in Yemen and Palestine for years.
Bellerín, who plays as a right-back for Real Betis while on loan from English club Arsenal, spoke to La Media Inglesa about all things on and off the football pitch - including some big issues like the invasion of Ukraine.
"It is quite difficult to see that we are more interested in this war than in others," the 27-year-old explained to the news outlet.
Héctor continues to be a hero. Paraphrasing: maybe it's because people in Ukraine look like us but what about Palestine, Yemen, Iraq?
Bellerín's about to get cancelled and I'm about to buy a Betis shirt with Bellerín 19 on the back https://t.co/9cbqYXRAu6
- Christopher Hylland (@hyllnd) March 23, 2022
"I don't know if it is because they are more like us or because the conflict can affect us more directly both economically and in terms of refugees."
Bellerín went on to compare the volume of media coverage on the conflict in Ukraine with other wars going on around the world, including wars in Yemen, Iraq and Palestine - to illustrate his point.
"The Palestinian war has been completely silenced, no one speaks about it," he added.
"Yemen, Iraq... now Russia not being able to play in the World Cup is something that other countries have faced for many years."
The footballer went as far to call those who have turned a blind eye to other wars across the Middle East as 'racist'.
"It's complicated to see that we are more interested in this war in Ukraine than others. The war in Palestine has been completely silenced. In Yemen, in Iraq too. Russia was excluded from the CDM... Other countries have done the same for years" :flag_ar: pic.twitter.com/UPhw6Zjlf2
- PurelyFootball:registered: (@PurelyFootball) March 23, 2022
"It is racist to have turned a blind eye to other conflicts and now to have this position," he said.
"It also reflects a lack of empathy for the number of lives lost in many conflicts and we are prioritising those that are near to us."
Bellerín's questions come as conflict in Yemen enters its seventh year.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates the war has caused the deaths of nearly a quarter of a million people, with millions of Yemeni people being plunged into the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
Fighting between the Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen continues to cause serious harm to civilians; displacing 4.2 million people and blocking access for humanitarian groups to supply aid to more than 20.7 million people.
OCHA revealed more than half the population in Yemen face acute levels of food insecurity as the war rages on.
Oxfam: Human suffering greater than ever after seven years of civil war in Yemen https://t.co/wbDL4OUYe8
- TakeToNews (@take_to_news) March 24, 2022
Meanwhile in Gaza, conflict has been raging between Israel and Palestine for more than 13 years, where UN officials say 'two million people have been forcibly isolated from the rest of the world'.
According to current United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees data more than 3.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the invasion by neighbouring Russia on February 24.
NATO estimated on March 23 that the Russian death toll in Ukraine could be as high as 15,000 Russian soldiers in only four weeks, according to PBS.
On the flip side, the most recent data released by Ukrainian president Vlodomyr Zelenszyy indicates that about 1,300 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed in action.
Featured Image Credit: Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy Stock Photo. Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire
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