Last Thursday, Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to launch a large-scale invasion of Ukraine after years of conflict surrounding Ukraine’s relationship with the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Reports are calling this the largest conventional warfare operation in Europe since World War II. This is a deeply traumatic event — one that many of us may have difficulty fully wrapping our heads around.
Though words at this time feel meaningless, we wholeheartedly stand with Ukraine, and extend our deepest sympathies to both Ukrainian and Russian students at Kenyon. The Kenyon community should treat these students with care, regardless of their nationality. Common jokes to Ukrainian students, such as claiming this will be World War III, are incredibly insensitive, and blaming Russian students for the cold-blooded actions of Putin is equally so. Remember that words have impact.
Like many global crises, it is difficult to feel as if we, as individuals, can have any influence on the current situation. Though we may often feel helpless, it is important to understand that we have a duty in our tiny community, and that duty is unification in times of crisis. We have no idea what others are going through.
Aside from this emotional duty, we also hope that the Kenyon community will not remain apathetic and act on their privilege, donating to various resources such as the Ukrainian army.
It is equally important to read about the latest events in the crisis to acknowledge the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and we urge the community to both support one another and remain informed. Social media sites are circulating with misinformation, so one of the best local and reliable sources at the time is the Kyiv Independent, which includes all of the latest information directly from Ukraine’s capital.
Still, we also feel as though it is our duty as journalists to convey the imperfections of journalism both nationally and globally and call attention to racist exceptionalist media bias, as it’s clear that the reason this crisis is receiving such heightened attention is because of its close ties to Europe. Many African and Indian international students in Ukraine have reported experiencing racist treatment while attempting to flee the country, segregated from native Ukranians and left stranded at the border. We should be extending the same amount of concern for citizens of Ukraine to all of those across the globe who are affected by the violence of imperialism, war and humanitarian crises.
Living in a Kenyon bubble, it can sometimes be hard to grasp what is happening around the world. We feel such a distance from everything and everybody, with many of us far from the place we grew up. But it is important to remember that Kenyon is a microcosm of nationwide and global issues. Just because something is not directly affecting your life, does not mean that your friends and community members at Kenyon feel similarly.
So instead of taking to Yik Yak or Twitter to joke about being signed up for the draft, maybe consider the fact that your classmates’ family members are experiencing that very real fear. Show compassion towards community members — it is the least we can do.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Jordy Fee-Platt ’22 and Linnea Mumma ’22, managing editor Amanda Pyne ’22 and executive director Joe Wint ’22. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.