The war in Ukraine isn’t over just because it’s no longer on your social media feed
By: Hannah Alvarnaz – 2022 Summer Intern
Five months ago, social media timelines were filled with Ukrainian flags and posts describing the outrage that the American public felt about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Every news channel had breaking updates every hour of the horrors that the people of Ukraine were enduring.
Flash forward to July 2022, and days or weeks fill the time between a new update on the war in Ukraine flashes on a phone screen.
Many Americans have pushed Ukraine to the back of their minds as their priorities shift to the price of gas or the latest celebrity news. However, the war has not ended simply because some of the American media has pushed it away.
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a large-scale invasion within Ukraine. Since then, nearly 3,000 civilians have died, and many more have been displaced from both their homes and their countries. Over the two months, updates on the situation in Ukraine were easily found and frequently at the top of the headlines. Many media outlets made promises to continue providing continuous information on Ukraine for as long as the war lasted. Large news sources such as CNN believed that viewer interest would remain high for months, allowing for broadcasts and on-the-ground coverage to continue.
However, as with almost all major global events, coverage faded as the American people, and the international community as a whole, turned their eyes away from Ukraine and back towards their daily lives. The physical distance between the United States and Ukraine has seemingly created distance from the conflict in the minds of many Americans.
Even Ukrainians are beginning to sense the disinterest of Americans as the war continues on and as media coverage dwindles. The Western aid that has been critical throughout the crisis is noticeably becoming less and less as time passes, allowing Russia to make advances further into the country.
This must change. We as Americans cannot disassociate ourselves from international conflicts simply because we do not live there, and therefore it seemingly does not affect us. Innocent people continue to die every day, even though the horrors are no longer being shown on every news channel. Bombs continue to destroy homes and local shops. Russian soldiers continue to torture the Ukrainians who have remained in their country.
Despite the current state of this tragedy, Americans have moved on, not realizing that the issues we have turned our attention to are largely the result of the war we have pushed out of our minds.
Instead of following the trend that social media and the never-ending news cycle has set – that breaking news is only relevant for a short time before fading away and seemingly coming to an end – we must work to stay aware of what is going on around us.
We must continue to fight on behalf of those who are suffering and cannot fight for themselves. Spread awareness. Donate to humanitarian organizations who are working to fulfill the basic needs of those most affected. Most importantly, listen. Listen to the stories that are still coming out of Ukraine.
Listen to the voices of those who are hurting. We cannot turn our backs on Ukraine during their time of need. This war is not over yet, even though it may no longer be on your social media feed.
Hannah Alvarnaz wrote this opinion piece while interning with the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg and PA Media Group. It was published here.