Words Matter

Words Matter

This past week, President Vladimir Putin passed a law that effectively criminalizes any public opposition to or independent news reporting about the war against Ukraine. The law would make it a crime to simply use the word “war” to describe the events that are taking place. Instead, the Kremlin wants to refer to the atrocities as a “special military operation.” As a result of this law, which was recently established, many independent Russian news organizations have shut down. 

Additionally, President Putin is silencing the media. By sanitizing the messages that are disseminated to the public, he is brainwashing the people of Russia. His lies are being handed down as fact. There is no democracy, there is no freedom of speech, and there is no freedom of the press. Without the ability for the population to check and balance their government, there is no hope for Russians to know the truth. In addition, the Russian government has also restricted access to informative social media websites such as Facebook, where civilians could read negative (yet accurate) comments about the damage President Putin has inflicted.  

Putin’s words not only have a direct effect on Russia and Ukraine, but also have a global impact. American-based social media platform, Twitter, banned the accounts that supported the hashtag #IStandWithPutin for taking part in “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. This international reaction not only demonstrates widespread disapproval of President Putins’s actions, but also brings to light America’s freedom of the press.  

If ever there were an example of the importance of living in a society that sanctifies freedom of speech and press, it is right now. We are living through history and there are many lessons to learn. Witnessing the behavior of Russia’s government makes me have an even greater appreciation for the opportunity to live in a nation and attend a school that not only affords me the chance to have my own opinions, but also provides me with a space to feel comfortable expressing them. 

We now realize that misinformation, turmoil, and utter madness are the consequences of living in a society where individual rights are nonexistent. In a time where hope is lost, we must be aware that there are many voices that are being silenced, and President Putin’s is the one that is drowning out the rest. 

Words matter.