Written by: Josie Grant and Kelsie Hughes
The purpose of Transy Speaks is to spur healthy conversations about important topics.
There are new topics every week, with open conversations between students within a round table discussion. Check Instagrams for new topics weekly! @transyspeaks
The topic of the evening was the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and Russia. Below are what Transy students had to say:
One important and recurring idea brought up during the discussion was how we in the U.S. tend to sympathize with those who look like us, and we tend to villainize and be unsympathetic to those who don’t. This could be a major factor that might tie into why the citizens of the US and other countries with similar cultures sympathize with Ukraine. It’s easier for the US to look at and care about atrocities in another democracy than when tragedies are happening in the Middle East. Because Ukraine is a white country it’s getting more traction and sympathy. Another idea that has been thrown around is that this dispute is getting more attention because of the use of social media and the speed at which news is being relayed not only to news sources but to social media. However, during the Transy Speaks meeting students concluded that this discrepancy in treatment is not because of social media, and that there is a huge racial aspect. The norm is that “war is innate to other countries but not to Europeans”. We see European wars as holy or good wars, but other wars get demonized.
Students who attended the meeting also criticized Putin’s actions and saw them as uncalculated and vengeful, but it has to be assumed that Putin has a larger plan and that he is not committing war crimes in an egoistic and megalomaniac manner. Putin became president in 2000 and he has purged his opponents where no one has enough power to go against him, he is controlling everything. Putin during his time as the president determines the basic direction of Russia’s domestic and foreign policy and represents the Russian state within the country and foreign affairs. Putin has transformed his time as President to be a dictatorship and running the idea of a federal republic to be an idea of fiction.
There were many smaller things discussed during the meeting. Some of these things included how the United States cannot do anything to directly help Ukraine until a country in NATO is involved and we are doing what is right in regards to “winning the war”. Students also brought up what Countries are doing in alliance with Ukraine and one brought up was that the Netherlands expelled every Russian student from its country. The consensus on this was that this is a drastic measure for the Netherlands to take against Russia and how in the end this war will end up hurting the citizens and leaving those in power unharmed. The ghost of Kyiv was one of the last things discussed and this was seen by many students to be Ukrainian propaganda to show unity and strength among the country.
Transy Speaks is a student-led and run organization that encourages open conversation among open-minded individuals. Students were respectful of all opinions and those in charge encouraged questions and let it be a conversation, opposed to a question and answer. Transy Speaks encourages students to come and be a part of the conversation for weekly conversations about differing topics.