Illustration by Tom Abi Samra

We Stand with Ukraine. We Stand with All.

Stand with Ukraine, but don’t stop there. Stand for global justice. No matter the circumstances, illegal war, occupation and annexation should not go uncondemned.

On Feb. 24, Russia launched a full-scale military assault on Ukraine. In a community like NYU Abu Dhabi’s, international crises touch every member; this invasion is no exception. There are countless students, alumni, faculty and staff who are hurting, or whose friends and families are hurting. Community members from Ukraine and Russia are feeling the sustained effects of this crisis and are grappling with what this will mean for them and their families. Many of our peers and their families living in the region are haunted by a constant fear that the war will expand, turning their homelands into active warzones. And unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded.
We cannot state forcefully enough that Putin’s war is both illegal and heinously immoral. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine not only undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty as an independent state, but blatantly disregards the sanctity of human life and universal conventions of basic human rights. It poses this threat not just to Ukraine and its neighbors: it emboldens aggressors and perpetrators of injustice around the world.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians have been killed in the ongoing conflict since the 2014 annexation of Crimea. And since the illegal Russian invasion on Thursday, official figures indicate that 198 Ukrainian civilians and military personnel have lost their lives. Quite outrageously, Ukrainian civilians have borne the brunt of this illegal and immoral war, particularly as a result of indiscriminate Russian military bombing in civilian areas. As Anna Pustovit, Class of 2022, wrote last week, there is no pain that rivals the feeling of danger in one’s own country. For our affected peers — and millions around the world — that pain is the only emotion they feel right now.
The Gazelle stands in unconditional solidarity with Ukraine, its citizens and those currently affected by the illegal invasion. Putin’s actions are senseless and unconscionable, and we cannot imagine the pain, fear and anger of those who are being directly impacted.
We implore our readers to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and those affected by the profound horrors Putin has inflicted on the nation. It is time to show up, to be decisive, for our affected peers and in the face of global injustice: arm yourself to the teeth with quality journalism. If you are outside the UAE, attend protests if you can, donate — money, resources and care — whatever your circumstances allow you to. Leverage your social media accounts, build pressure on governments in the West and do not, even for a moment, forget, or let others forget, the brazen despotism and injustice that Putin is single-handedly responsible for.
And while this is a blatant disregard for independence, sovereignty and democracy, it is certainly not the first, in this century or even this decade. As we stand in solidarity with Ukraine at this critical juncture of the nation’s history, we invite you to think intentionally about global discourses surrounding war and injustice: Do we value the threat to the independence and freedom of some more than others? Many suffer at the hands of aggressors much more powerful than them, but do we do our part in remaining vigilant, sensitive and prudent in condemning those atrocities and advocating for those people in similar ways? Are we attuned to think that some are more worthy of our solidarity than others? If international media and imperial superpowers can call an occupation by its name in this instance, why don’t they in other instances?
There are those that will suggest that this conflict represents a disjuncture from contemporary history; a return to the illegal wars of a bygone era. But the era of invasion, occupation and attempted annexation never really went away; the world just stopped looking. Solidarity must not be selective. Never has it been so evident that injustice in any part of our world reverberates around the world, maybe in different ways, but to the same effect.
The Gazelle has also fallen short; after all, this is our first editorial on an off-campus subject since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. That has to change. Our solidarity has to be transnational and inclusive and so, at this moment, we also stand by those whose conflicts have been forgotten or whitewashed. To those affected by war and crisis in Palestine, in Syria, in Somalia, in Taiwan, in Yemen, in Afghanistan and other countries suffering around the world, we see you. We stand with you, and we vow to do better in uplifting you and amplifying your voices. Your struggles are not to be compared based on race, religion or language.
On a different note, while the Ukrainian people have proven to be formidable, there is another war we urge you to keep an eye on: the war of public opinion. Nord Stream 2 is on hold for now, but let us not forget that its construction began only a year after Crimea’s annexation. We must not let falsehoods and Russian propaganda overwhelm truth. In the fog of the 21st century war, truth is often the first casualty. At this moment, journalism is facing one of its greatest existential crises, amid the dark labyrinth of fake news, right-wing authoritarianism and a dangerously unstable and distorting business model, misinformation and propaganda — from both traditional news organizations and social media users — is rampant. No one is spared, particularly when they are weaponized as tools of conquest.
Here, we invite you to think critically about the materials and news you choose to engage with: What are their political leanings? Who funds them? What vested interests do they have? We encourage you to also add to your news intake a healthy dose of skepticism. We ask you to keep resisting, keep being divisive and to keep learning and asking questions.
To our readers who are being impacted by this war, we stand with you. The Gazelle will always be a platform for you and we will continue to amplify your voices. On this note, we have decided to republish six pieces from our archives to give the issue the attention that it deserves. And over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to document and report with intentionality on the matter — and on global injustices that have not received the care and attention they deserve.
Stand with Ukraine, but do not stop there. Stand for global justice. No matter the circumstances, illegal war, occupation and annexation should not go uncondemned.
Here is a link to donate and support the Ukranian people.
Grace Bechdol and Abhyudaya Tyagi are Editors-in-Chief. Vatsa Singh and Huma Umar are Managing Editors. Email them at
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