Pro-Ukraine Demonstration at Lafayette Square. War correspondents from across the world have been covering the conflict in Ukraine. JOHN BRIGHENTI/CC BY 2.0

War correspondents from all over the world are bravely covering the conflict in Ukraine. Their bravery is a lesson that we, as young journalists, learn from.

The urgent coverage of the Ukraine-Russia conflict is not only warranted, but necessary. This war will have a variety of impacts for generations to come, especially for the Ukrainian families immediately affected, many of whom are either fleeing for their lives or staying to fight for their home. Some who couldn’t escape are being murdered at the hands of the Russian military. Our hearts go out to them and our campus community members with roots in Ukraine.

The majority of the coverage in Ukraine has been compassionate. Nonetheless, the thorns of western media have torn through the fabric of respectable international journalism.

More than one reporter has called Ukraine a “civilized” country when comparing it to Middle Eastern countries. One Ukrainian official interviewed by the BBC even said it’s more emotional because the people being killed are European and have “blue eyes and blonde hair.” 

Through their comparisons, correspondents have insulted Middle Eastern and African countries. This includes referring to Ukrainians as “prosperous, middle-class,” “Christians,” “not obviously refugees,” “like any European family you would live next door to” and other harmful terms.

These comments diminish the gravity of the recent conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. Regardless of intent, the language and tone dehumanize people of color around the world. It leaves viewers with the presumption that violence is almost inherent for people who don’t look like them.

This narrative has to change. And it begins with us.

It shouldn’t have to be said that war and conflict in every region of the world is tragic and deserves the same compassion.

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Our campus is one of the most diverse in the country. It is our duty to recognize this by including everyone in our coverage.

War’s grasp may not be one that Americans experience on a daily basis, but it reaches well beyond any nation. Let your voices be heard.

It’s simple to achieve change and improved coverage: it all starts with stories. A fundamental idea that can and will continue to bring people together.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in sharing your story.

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