Making jokes about the Ukraine invasion: Is it a coping mechanism or an excuse to be insensitive?


Isabela Sanchez

On march 7th a vigil for the people of Ukraine

The Russian military has destroyed homes, broken ceasefires, torn families, and has taken lives. This all started when the Russian military invaded the people of Ukraine on Feb. 24. While all those events are occurring people, especially North Americans, are trying to find ways to make the war about themselves by cracking jokes about the invasion. Non-Ukrainians should have more empathy over the fact that a war is happening and they are only ever going to watch it from a distance.

“When we asked for the roaring twenties to return at midnight going into 2020, we did not ask for the millennial gen z version of the Spanish Flu and a Third World War.” tweeted a user.

It feels like the moment the Ukrainians got invaded, people, mainly on Twitter and Tiktok, started to joke about the war and that non-Ukrainians are going to get drafted. This completely disregards the fact that people are in danger. The biggest reason for people who joke about this is that it is a coping mechanism and that just because they do not live in Ukraine does not mean that they were not impacted by everything. 

While that can be understandable to an extent since it is nerve-wracking to look at what the Ukrainians have to endure on the news, these jokes have no respect for the actual victims. These jokes also invalidate the horrific events that the people of Ukraine have to face since non-Ukrainians think that their trauma is comparable to Ukrainians.

People who get called out for these tasteless posts often claim that they are coping through these jokes are also in a way saying that their “trauma” is comparable to Ukrainians, but the people who are making jokes about the situation are doing so in the comfort of their own homes. If a person can tweet a joke about the Russian invasion, then that person has nothing to worry about because that means he or she is a mere observer. 

The people that are not fleeing Ukraine, that are not fighting in Ukraine, that do not worry every day about their family and friends and if they will ever see them again, should not joke about being drafted or a bomb that might drop on their head,” sophomore Sasha Baranovski said. “Instead of joking about what might happen, people need to focus on what should happen to stop the invasion. For the people in Ukraine, that is their reality.”

Non-Ukraninas who joke about Ukraine need to remember how privileged they are when it comes to the invasion since their country isn’t going through a war. The coping mechanism excuse is not valid since there is nothing they have to actually worry about when it comes to themselves because there has still been zero actual implication that non-Ukrainians are gonna get drafted. 

“PLEASE DRAFT MY EX TO WW3,” tweeted a user. 

In a way, all these jokes posted about Ukraine can cause fear-mongering because of how often the government drafting people for another world war are getting discussed, which can cause a spread of misinformation because more people are gonna get nervous about a potential war and that will drive people to actually start believing it. 

It is normal to worry about the war but non-Ukraninas should be aware of the fact that they should spend more time educating themselves rather than allowing the fear-mongering and just all of this nonsense to continue.