Staff Editorial: People must stop making jokes about tragedy

There has been an ongoing struggle of power between Russia and Ukraine. Russia has invaded, causing need for humanitarian aid in Ukraine and surrounding countries. The current violence in Ukraine is a horrible tragedy. Millions of Ukrainians are suffering. And yet there is a noticeable disconnect from some American teenagers that have no immediate association with Ukraine in relation to the violence. Due to the disconnect, there is a sense of apathy and insensitivity that leads to a large portion of American youth making jokes online or making fun of the terrible situation.

“Many do not understand the seriousness of this situation in Ukraine. Many people are not laughing and you need to be able to put yourself in the place of another person with how this person will feel,” said senior Viktoriia Rybakova. Rybakova moved from Ukraine to the United States just last year.

The news of the conflict has spread around social media like a wildfire. Information about the attacks was being posted to spread awareness about how grave the situation is for many families in both Ukraine and Russia. Along with this sort of serious content, people began posting jokes about the situation. Most of these “jokes” are found on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. People were making fun of Putin or joking about World War III. However, this sort of behavior mocks the intensity of the situation, which is life or death for too many innocent people.

The act of posting jokes, making fun of Ukraine, or turning a blind eye to the seriousness of the conflict shows a great deal of privilege. People should not argue that they are dealing with this conflict by “coping with humor.” It is not someone’s place to do so, especially when the individual is not being personally affected by the countless attacks.

“Every day, almost every minute, I watched the news. I kept in touch with family and I didn’t sleep much because Russian troops bombed my city where my family lives. I prayed that the areas where they live would not suffer in any way, including my family,” Rybakova said.

Many teenagers and young people do not often watch the news. On the national news, harsh visuals and scary realities are portrayed. Although it is unsettling and awful to see, those images and heartbreaking stories show the gravity of the conflict. Instead of going to TikTok for information or other social media, it can be more effective to gain a sense of understanding surrounding what is happening in the Ukraine through national news.

The insensitivity of people toward this disaster is offensive. Someone would not continue posting insensitive comments if their family and friends were in danger or their city was being destroyed.
“The Knight Times” will not tolerate people using humor to avoid talking about a humanitarian crisis. How could others make lighthearted jokes on social media when Ukranians are hiding in bomb shelters and being separated from their families? We must do a better job at promoting empathy and eliminating the selfishness of not addressing terrible situations until the tragedies impact us.

Individuals should be helping the Ukrainian citizens. There are many valid charities to donate to. Some examples include The International Committee of the Red Cross, Razom for Ukraine, UNICEF, and GlobalGiving Ukraine Relief Fund.