It really feels like a substantial portion of the online left just exists as a way for fundamentally rotten, nasty, and incurious people to justify acting truly cruel and inhuman towards others while convincing themselves that they're actually morally righteous. /1
Re: Ukraine, for example, most of them just have a little dialogue tree that they run through--Nazis, corruption, NATO, "shelling the Donbas"--and once they've exhausted those talking points, they inevitably conclude that they're indifferent to Ukrainians dying. /2
They usually don't say so openly, preferring to camouflage indifference with words like "negotiations" or "peace," but they never really have much of a response to those who point out that any "peace" involving territorial concessions will also consign Ukrainians to death. /3
The worst of them-empty husks like Danny Haiphong-will openly praise the razing of Bakhmut and its capture by mercenary war criminals like Wagner. They revel in the killing, and every dead Ukrainian for them is a point scored in favor of their fantasy "multipolar world." /4
Others, like Sopo J. or that lady from yesterday who wrote that the Soviet Union "made Eastern European nations sapient," are simply willing to elide the reality of human suffering or to justify it in the service of their wheezing old red star cult: "your family were kulaks." /5
But most of them don't even seem to be particularly beholden to any particular ideology (in any meaningful sense), nor do they seem esp. invested in Russia as such. Rather, taking a dismissive or hostile position on Ukraine seems to serve as an outlet for inner cruelty. /6
Ukrainians (or Uyghurs or Syrians or, as we have seen recently, queer people in Iran) become, within certain cliques, socially acceptable repositories for animosity, their lives and their suffering reduced to stereotypes, memes and shitposts. /7
And almost inevitably, the people who engage in this sort of behavior have quite plainly never spent any time learning about the place or the people whose deaths they so casually dismiss as either irrelevant or even desirable. They don't care and they don't want to know. /8
Knowing would deconstruct the "righteous" narrative that they cling to. Because knowing would reveal that narrative to be fraudulent. Knowing would turn "NATO expansion Nazi coup shelling the Donbas" to ash. And how could they justify the cruelty they seem to crave with ash? /9
And so many of them (the ones who aren't ideologically invested in Ukrainian defeat, like Haiphong or Branko) end up walling themselves off, intellectually and emotionally, from the horror that is unfolding before them. Because knowing that horror and tracing its genesis /10
would break down the discursive structure that supports and authorizes their cruelty. Ukrainians -have- to be turned into demonic paper dolls with swastikas on their foreheads because otherwise the cruelty would be unmasked for being exactly what it actually is: just cruelty. /11
I guess this essential dehumanization, this reduction of Ukrainian lives into paper dolls that serve as foils to ideology or just plain teenage meanness, is something that I've been grappling with for a while now.

I honestly don't now how to respond to it anymore. /12
Information and education are of no use with people who are invested in not-knowing to support their cruelty. The Brankos and Haiphongs, meanwhile, are paid shills who can be counted on to never acknowledge their critics, to say nothing of changing their views. /13
But laying bare the -humanity- of this war (or the war against the Syrian population, or the war against the Uyghurs, etc.) increasingly seems to be to be of the utmost importance.

Because what is at stake is human suffering. /14
And while many of us cannot be -there- with Ukrainians physically, we must be -there- with them in whatever ways we can. In some sense, we -are already there- if we acknowledge our common humanity and our responsibility to make sure we -stay there- with them in solidarity. /end
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