Editorial: Ukraine demands our action and compassion

Editorial Board

On Feb. 24, 2022, after several weeks of rising tension provoked by Vladimir Putin, Russia invaded Ukraine, escalating unrest between the two countries that has been ongoing since 2014. As of March 4, the United Nations has recorded at least 752 civilian casualties across Ukraine since the initial attack. Now, sources confirm that that number has almost certainly risen, as war spreads through Ukrainian city centers. An estimated 2 million Ukranians have fled the country since the start of the invasion, and nearly half of them are children. Officials are predicting that Russia’s next target is the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Many civilians in and around the capital city of Kyiv are suffering ongoing attacks from Russia as they attempt to evacuate.

The situation in Ukraine is dire, and many of us are more aware than ever. In this case, too, the war feels far less ambiguous to us. Russia’s brazen attack on Ukraine left most of us horrified and perplexed. Perhaps it’s because we and our peers are older and have a greater understanding of the world around us, or maybe this is simply something that requires all of our attention. In many ways, Masters has given us the opportunity to expand our global perspectives and increase our awareness of these issues, especially regarding how they affect our own community.

Our compassion needs to be with the people of Ukraine, and as we learn how to best support those suffering hardship, let us take this attitude with us when situations arise in other parts of the world. This invasion hits particularly hard because Ukraine looks familiar and we can easily imagine what our own world would be like were we to suffer a similar fate. As we move forward, we also need to remember that people outside of Europe have dealt with, and continue to deal with, similar trauma in many ways, and deserve the same level of empathy that Ukraine rightfully deserves, as well.

What we need to do is help. So much has been put into perspective for us in the last several weeks. The immense privilege many of us hold of having a roof over our heads every night and access to three meals a day, let alone not having to worry about imminent attacks on our homes, should be put toward the people who are bearing the brunt of Russia’s unprovoked violence. 

Support your friends and classmates who are dealing with so much more than we could ever imagine by asking them what they need from you, if they need anything at all. Be proactive and support efforts in Ukraine directly by donating to Razom, a fully-vetted organization sending aid to Ukraine, if you’re able to, or send letters to local elected officials urging them to take federal or state action in solidarity with Ukraine. Don’t lose sight of what is happening as we sit in classrooms and don’t necessarily need to think about how we’re going to survive to the end of the day.

This war is not far away. This war has ties to the very ground we walk on every day. Our friends need our support; Ukraine deserves our support. We have a responsibility to look after those that we see hurting around us, so don’t sit back any longer, not today and not anytime in the future. Let’s put in whatever work we can for this fight because it’s simply the right thing to do.