From the Editor
Let’s talk about Russia. Alas, this is not a touching story about food (you’ll find plenty of that in the rest of this issue though!). However, you are welcome that I’ve spared you all from yet another story about how I was bullied for my school lunches.
About a week or so ago, I saw a tweet that suggested removing the newest Batman movie from Russian theatres. I thought it was satire, but then it turned out to be sincere, and then it really happened. This train of thought could apply to far too many things in our cursed timeline, but it’s really breaking my brain here that we’re cheering this on. If you look online, you’ll find a diverse gallery of sanctions that range from Russian cats and their handlers, to services like PayPal. Many reply that Ukranians have it worse, but I can’t get behind this framing which compares suffering to justify the blanket antagonism of anything related to Russia. Not being able to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster isn’t world ending - ironically, internet piracy is Russia’s bread and butter - but banning PayPal, for example, has serious implications for people whose livelihood relies on Twitch. And combined with broader economic sanctions, ordinary Russians are being disproportionately harmed. Central to this desire to target Russian civilians is the notion that they are partially responsible and that it will motivate them into action. But is that fair, and will it work? Your ordinary Russian person is surely no more responsible for this invasion than your ordinary American for the invasion of Iraq, or any other crimes committed by the state. At the time of writing, more than 10,000 protesters have been detained in anti-war protests across 56 cities in Russia - and that’s only the ones we know about. Not to mention, people have already been resisting Putin and the oligarchs for years with minimal success. Now, without jobs or access to income, how do we expect them to stay and fight in a country that’s being isolated like North Korea? Why are we so quick to accept this level of harm as necessary collateral when historically it hasn’t worked either? Historically meaning as recent as the past month, most notably in Afghanistan where sanctions have created a humanitarian crisis.
By the time this reaches print, I hope that, at the bare minimum, a ceasefire is in place. Russia made the world a more dangerous place when they launched their invasion of Ukraine, and plenty has been said already from activists within Russia to Ukranians across the diaspora that also contextualises these events. I’d encourage you to tap into these voices directly rather than only rely on your usual sources of news, whether that be TikTok or local broadcast television. And in showing solidarity and support, let’s not get swept up by nationalism, and a culture war that’s so far had a restaurant threatened for selling poutine.