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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Opinion | Column

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Ukraine at War: Coping with trauma

The majority of people, including those whose countries are not affected by wars, are stressed before the holiday season. As everyone is wrapping up a year of work and a semester of studying, let’s explore how Ukrainians cope with psychological tension from the war ahead of the harsh winter. In the past few months, missiles from Russia demolished more than half of Ukrainian energy infrastructure.


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The End of the World Has Just Begun: A new way forward

The next three decades — at least — in global politics are bound to be a wild ride. Even if my previous columns are incorrect in their predictions — and I do hope that the scale of the global collapse and regional conflicts to come will not be as devastating as I fear — the major trends of depopulation, deglobalization and the result of the regionalization of economics, politics and security remain certain. Another almost-certain constant, though, is the United States’ primacy. What should the United States do with all this remaining power, and its relative position in the international system?


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Ukraine at War: Russia violates international law by kidnapping Ukrainian children

Freezing during the first weeks of the war in a village in the western part of Ukraine — I had to flee there from Kyiv on Feb. 24 — I thought about the war stories that are not yet being told. Since the full scale invasion, journalists in Ukraine have revealed a solid amount of reports, helping to see the conflict through human eyes. Due to the scale of the war, however, the international community hears only a fraction of Ukrainian tragedies. The kidnapping of Ukrainian children is one type of the Russian war crimes that is often overlooked.



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It's Happened Before: With social media, it actually hasn’t

Public speech has traditionally been, well, public. Before the advent of the internet and social media, if one wished to make their voice heard they merely had to find a printing press or, failing that, climb up onto a soapbox and speak. The great movements of history have often been sparked by public speech. Martin Luther, for instance, kicked off the Protestant Reformation by nailing (or maybe pasting) a pamphlet to a door; likewise, Thomas Paine made a significant contribution to the American Revolution with his pamphlet. Contemporary political campaigns also produce public speech in the form of speeches and posters. The beauty of all of this is that, at least in this country, it is free. Speech does not have to be popular to be heard. We can criticize our leaders and their policies; we can even criticize each other. We might find the speech of others horrendous or untrue. Yet their speech has an opportunity to provoke, challenge and perhaps even sway other minds.




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Ukraine at War: Kherson — the trauma of the liberated City of Sun

In a note accompanying her order, a client of a Ukrainian publishing company wrote, “I am now in occupied Kherson. I want to pre-order the book. [I am] attaching my address; if by the publication of the book we are still under occupation, I will find someone from the free region and change the address for the delivery.” After Kherson, a city in the southeast region of Ukraine, was liberated last week, the company posted the screenshot of the anonymous note on Facebook. Someone in the comments offered to pay for the book, but they were informed that the woman had already paid for it. Ukrainian publishers are again able to freely send books to Kherson. 


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The Book Nook: ‘Always the Almost’ is a beautiful story of queer, trans joy

Edward Underhill’s debut novel, “Always the Almost,” is a heartfelt and emotional young adult contemporary romance releasing next year from Macmillan. Midwestern pianist and high schooler Miles Jacobson has just come out as trans — the result of which is a strain on his relationship with his parents and his boyfriend, Shane, ending things with him. And while his friends are accepting of him, ever since Miles and Shane began dating, he’s felt out of place. It doesn’t help, either, that his new piano teacher keeps telling Miles that he needs to figure out who he is. Desperate for a win, Miles resolves to get back together with his ex and beat his stuck-up rival at an upcoming piano competition. But when Miles meets Eric, a new boy who’s just moved into their small town, everything changes. Asthe two bond over their art — Eric with his cartoons and Miles with his music — and go from friends to more, Miles begins to question who he is, what he truly wants, and why he’s never felt like he’s enough for anyone, especially himself.  


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The End of the World Has Just Begun: The long peace ends

The security architecture of the world will soon be changed as the United States somewhat recedes from its role as guarantor of global security and challengers seek regional hegemony to take advantage of America’s apparent weakness. The two main trends I have pointed to, the fracturing of critical supply chains and global depopulation, are depleting resources across the globe, and subsequent increasing scarcity enforces the feeling by states of being forced to play their hands before they lose the power to do so.


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Ukraine at War: The siege of Mariupol

Will it ever be possible to not freeze from grief and tremble from anger at the mention of Mariupol? The name of the Ukrainian port city decimated by Russian forces triggers shivers all over the body. So do the words Azovstal, a demolished metal plant nearly twice the size of Midtown Manhattan which served as a shelter for civilians and the site of the city’s last stand, and Azov, the group of fighters that protected it, some of whom are still in Russian captivity.


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It's Happened Before: A more violent normal

The late Roman Republic is, in many minds, synonymous with political violence, civil war and the erosion of republican values. Less remembered, however, is how it got there. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes, and neither did it — or at least its republican version — fall in a day. Thus the long path to Caesar began with a man who, unlike Caesar, never got a Shakespeare play: Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. Gracchus’ life and career are surprisingly unimportant in examining his impact. Suffice it to say that, after pursuing radical populist solutions to economic problems and obtaining political power through uncustomary methods, he incurred the wrath of a conservative faction of the Roman senate. Given his policies, this was unsurprising. What was surprising is how they stopped him: by gathering a mob to massacre him and his followers. Violence had, for the first time, become a political tactic, one that soon became irresistible.


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Ukraine at War: The dual purpose of the Ukrainian metro

Daily trips to the Park Street T station in Boston bring back memories of riding a train to get to Kyiv’s city center. First and foremost, I am also taking the Red Line, with the starting point in the suburbs. The T also goes above the ground, passing a river. The only difference is its name — the Charles, not the Dnipro. 



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Looking Through the Met: Heavenly Bodies

It is hard to think of a more iconic Met Gala than 2018’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” So, let’s get into it, starting with Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Breaker of Chains and the Mother of Dragons, also known as actress Emilia Clarke. 


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Ukraine at War: Weaponizing cold weather

Just like New England, Ukraine is lucky enough to enjoy all four seasons. Yellowish and reddish fall leaves inevitably trigger the memories of the beginning of school. Cherry trees blooming signal the forthcoming of the warmer days. We know it is summer when everyone is complaining about the heat while still enjoying the time spent in nature without heavy jackets and boots. Winters are reserved for evenings at home when it is snowing outside as well as celebrating Christmas and New Year’s. 


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It’s Happened Before: Putin’s scare tactics won’t work

 In the 1930s, Britain was terrified of the bomber. It was thought of as the ultimate weapon: It could swoop in virtually undetected and deliver devastation of biblical proportions upon vulnerable cities, wiping them out. A massive aerial first strike, some military experts claimed, could bring Britain to its knees before it had a chance to fight back. In World War II, these ideas were put to the test. Nazi Germany, victorious in France by 1940, moved on to Britain. 


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Ukraine at War: What does grief feel like?

Each time I hear about another Russian military crime, I naively think that the situation cannot get any worse. It always can; apparently, it hits differently when a friend is killed. For me, the grief feels like a heavy fabric thrown all over the body. 


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Looking Through the Met: A Lexicon of Fashion

The last time the Met Gala was not held on the first Monday of May was in 2004. Since Anna Wintour took charge of the event, it has been held on that day of the week for years, so much so that “the first Monday in May” has become synonymous with the gala. Due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Met Gala was held on the second Monday of September with the theme “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and a dress code of “American Independence.” The 2021 and 2022 galas were part of a two-part exhibition, which is why the 2022 theme was also “In America.” 



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The End of the World Has Just Begun: No policeman

Of the points raised in my last piece concerning the origins of the globalized system, the most relevant to today’s affairs may be the fact that free trade has sprung up under American auspices — particularly the exertion of naval supremacy as the U.S. Navy underpins 90% of global commerce, or over $4.6 trillion worth of trade. However, the lack of a navy with true supremacy in our global system furthers the argument that our experiment in globalization is doomed to fall apart. This article will, consequently, serve as a review of global navies and their ability to protect the sea lanes of trade and communication.