Instant Opinion

‘The people of Ukraine don’t need your emojis’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Judith Woods at The Telegraph

The me, me, me generation thinks the Ukraine crisis is all about them

On superficial sympathy

“War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing,” sang Edwin Starr in 1970. Nothing, “apart, it would seem, from providing the opportunity for outrageous narcissism on social media”, writes Judith Woods at The Telegraph. As “nightmarish events unfold in Ukraine”, some people’s “first instinct is to share their toe-curling poetry, banal platitudes and tone-deaf political pensees on Twitter”. Actor AnnaLynne McCord begins her verse, “‘Dear Putin, I’m sorry I wasn’t your mother.” It would be “acerbically amusing under different circumstances. But not as hellfire is raining down.” Why, asks Woods, do people do this? It’s a myth “that because every individual now has a voice, every individual voice now matters”. Right now, Ukrainians “don’t need your emojis, they need your aid”.

2

Crystal at Metro

We’re in danger of only young, skinny drag queens getting success the whole community deserves

On drag's diversity

“Drag has become more mainstream than ever,” writes drag queen Crystal at Metro. Queens are “fronting fashion campaigns, appearing on catwalks and sitting front row at fashion weeks around the world.” It’s “incredible to see gender diversity and non-conformity being given such a prominent platform,” she writes, with her friends and contemporaries “going boldly where no drag queen has gone before”. But “something’s been nagging at me”, says Crystal. “There is a ‘type’ of queen that achieves mainstream fashion success – namely those who are young, skinny and have a ‘natural beauty’”. Crystal says it seems “more and more that the new gold standard for drag is becoming about commercial appeal”. When this Queen first started out, “part of the draw of drag” was “the promise that anyone could do it and have value and worth”. To brands and corporations “looking to get on board with the drag boom, please consider expanding your ideas about the art form”, she writes.

3

Tom Peck at The Independent

At last, Boris Johnson has spotted the difference between good and evil – shame it took so long

On knowing right from wrong

Boris Johnson has said he “cannot think of a time in international affairs when the difference between good and evil, between right and wrong, has been so obvious”. Tom Peck says, “the trouble is, well, it is possible that it was obvious to other people quite a long time ago, back when it wasn’t so obvious to Boris Johnson.” Writing at The Independent, Peck says that “Johnson did his best to look sympathetic while a highly distressed Ukrainian journalist begged him to launch a no-fly zone over western Ukraine”, but “he couldn’t do it, he said, because it would escalate tensions with Russia”. Johnson is worried “that intervention risks escalation to nuclear war”. So “while the difference between good and evil is incredibly obvious at the current moment”, it’s “something of a shame that the good side didn’t get their act together a bit faster”. All we can hope for now, says Peck, is that “evil has overreached itself, after a very, very long time indeed of not quite being able to believe its luck”.

4

Alice Thomson at The Times

Children can triumph over a sea of troubles

On growing up

“Brexit, Islamist terrorists, a pandemic, masks, disrupted exams, ‘Don’t kill granny’, the disintegration of Afghanistan, catastrophic climate change, a cost of living crisis, a war in Europe and a Russian president talking about nuclear Armageddon.” Alice Thomson thinks it’s “astonishing” what her teenage son’s generation is living through, she writes at The Times. “What did my generation have to cope with before we were 20?” she asks. “Margaret Thatcher stealing our milk, homework by candlelight, my first French exchange”. It all “seems trivial by comparison”. “This century’s children should have been the fortunate generation,” writes Thomson; “now their opportunities seem more bleak as the world lurches from one crisis to the next”. But “our children have already faced many challenges” and maybe “they could become a more resilient, responsible and adaptable generation than their parents” after all.

5

James Kynge at The Financial Times

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine leaves China facing a difficult balancing act

On a potential peacemaker

“What a difference a few weeks make,” writes James Kynge at the Financial Times. In February, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping “proclaimed” that “the friendship between Russia and China had ‘no limits’”. But on Tuesday, “it was clear that Beijing – professing to be ‘extremely concerned about the harm to civilians’ inflicted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – was starting to attach limits to its affinity with Russia”. The invasion of Ukraine “presents China with an almost impossible balancing act”, writes Kynge. On one hand, “its deep relations with Moscow are classified as a ‘strategic partnership’”, but on the other, the invasion “is in clear opposition to a core Chinese foreign policy tenet that national sovereignty and territorial integrity must be held sacrosanct”. The question now, says Kynge, “is what can China do next”. “It is possible that Beijing may try in coming days and weeks to play up a potential role as a peacemaker.”

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