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Welcome to Tuesday, where an explosion at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh kills 20, South Korea flexed its military hardware, and Taylor Swift’s NFL rumored beau goes viral. Meanwhile, in independent Latin American journal Volcánicas, Sher Herrera considers the roots and ramifications of the “white savior syndrome” and how it lives on in modern times.
Why Crimea is proving so hard for Russia to defend
Ukraine has stepped up attacks on the occupied Crimean peninsula, claiming Monday that a missile has killed the head of Russia's Black Sea fleet at the headquarters in Sevastopol. And Russia is doing all within its power to deny how vulnerable it has become, writes Kyrylo Danylchenko in Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg.
Media coverage in Russia of these events has been intentionally subdued, with top military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov offering no response to an attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, or the alleged downing last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft by Ukrainian Air Defense.
The response from this and other strikes on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding waters of the Black Sea has alternated between complete silence and propagating falsehoods. One notable example of the latter was the claim that the Russian headquarters building of the Black Sea fleet that was hit Friday was empty and that the multiple explosions were mere routine training exercises.
Ukraine claimed on Monday that the attack killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. "After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the Ukrainian special forces said via Telegram on Monday.
Responding to reports of multiple missiles strikes this month on Crimea, Russian authorities say that all the missiles were intercepted by a submarine and a structure called "VDK Minsk", which itself was severely damaged following a Ukrainian airstrike on Sept. 13. The Russians likewise dismissed reports of a fire at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, attributing it to a mundane explosion caused by swamp gas.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refrained from commenting on the military situation in Crimea and elsewhere, continuing to repeat that everything is “proceeding as planned.”
Why is Crimea such a touchy topic? And why is it proving to be so hard to defend?
In reality, the specific targets struck by cruise missiles — whether it's the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, dry docks, or communication hubs — hold little strategic importance. The presence or absence of commanders or staff also makes scant difference.
The true concern is Russia's inability to intercept cruise missiles flying over northern Crimea and the Black Sea, which challenges the fundamental ambitions of a superpower. Russia, in other words, is now no longer in control across the region. [...]
— Read the full Livy Bereg by Kyrylo Danylchenko, translated into English by Worldcrunch.
• At least 20 dead in Nagorno-Karabakh fuel depot blast, refugee count doubles: At least 20 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in an explosion at a fuel depot outside Stepanakert, in Nagorno-Karabakh. It is not yet clear what caused the blast. The incident comes as the Armenian government said 13,350 refugees crossed into the country from the defeated breakaway enclave on the first day of the exodus. Meanwhile, the U.S. has called on Azerbaijan to “take concrete steps to protect the rights of civilians” and let in aid.
• Ukraine and Russia trade drone attacks, Black Sea Fleet commander reported dead: Kyiv's air force said it destroyed 26 of 38 Russian drones fired overnight, adding the key Ukrainian grain exporting port of Izmail was hit again, while Moscow said it repelled several Ukrainian drone attacks over the Belgorod and Kursk regions. Meanwhile, Ukraine's special forces said on Monday that they had killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet and Moscow's top admiral in Crimea, along with 33 other officers in a missile attack last week. The Russian Defence Ministry hasn’t confirmed the news. Here’s the exclusive account of a Ukrainian special forces soldier who survived after being thrown overboard in the Black Sea: Worldcrunch’s EN version of a Ukrainska Pravda reportage.
• Joe Biden in Michigan to woo striking auto workers: U.S. President Joe Biden is set to join striking members of the United Auto Workers union on Tuesday on a picket line in Wayne County, Michigan, on the eve of a visit from former President Donald Trump. The union members are striking against the Big Three automakers, General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, for a second week, over wages and job security.
• South Korea hosts Japan & China diplomats, holds first military parade in decade: South Korea has hosted senior diplomats from China and Japan on Tuesday in a rare meeting aimed at kickstarting trilateral exchanges and ease Beijing’s concerns about Seoul and Tokyo’s deepening security ties with the U.S. The three countries agreed to revive a long-suspended three-way summit which last took place in 2019. On the same day, South Korea staged its first military parade in a decade, showcasing an arsenal of advanced weaponry in the streets of Seoul.
• Thailand activist jailed over calls for royal reform: Arnon Nampa, one of Thailand's most prominent political activists and human rights lawyer, has been sentenced to four years in prison under the country's lese-majeste law, after he called for royal reform during protests in 2020. Arnon’s lawyer said he would appeal the ruling.
• First Lahaina residents return to charred neighborhood: The first of thousands of residents who lost their homes in the deadly wildfire that ravaged the Hawaii town of Lahaina were able to return to the charred remains of their properties on Monday. Last month, the flames had killed 97 people in Maui and destroyed most of the historic town of Lahaina.
• Nelson Mandela's granddaughter dies at 43: Author and activist Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, died on Monday evening after a prolonged battle with breast cancer at the age of 43.
Brazilian daily Estado De Minas dedicates their cover to a weather record — Belo Horizonte, the capital city of southeastern Brazil’s Minas Gerais state and the country’s sixth largest city, recorded its highest temperature ever. The city, referred to as “BH” on the front page, saw the mercury rise to 38,6 °C (101,48 °F) on Monday, the highest in the mountainous city since 1961, when temperature records began.
The colonial spirit and “soft racism” of white savior syndrome
Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow “civilize” and save the souls of native people, “white savior syndrome” lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer, writes Sher Herrera in independent Latin American journal Volcánicas.
🙏 Unlike overt racism, which defends white superiority through enslavement and annihilation, soft racism believes in the inferiority of racialized people but reaffirms white superiority through acts of benevolence and charity, adopting superhero attitudes. In essence, the white savior syndrome is a reaffirmation of whiteness that tends to benefit whiteness itself, as it assuages the conscience of white individuals, making them feel like better people than they actually are.
🔍 This phenomenon has also been analyzed by American psychologist Ramani Durvasula, who characterizes white saviors as community narcissists. She describes these individuals as enthusiastic leaders who always get what they want by manipulating and even exploiting other people who also want to save the world. How could anyone refuse to contribute even a small effort to save the world when they have everything?
👏 Their primary motivation for saving a racialized community lies in public validation, be it through likes and comments on social media or through praise from their family, partners, friends, or religious communities. Since white saviors fail to listen to the communities they claim to save, they often remain unaware of or fail to understand the needs and desires of these communities, or worse, simply do not care.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“What happened on the day should not have happened."
— Gymnastics Ireland issued a statement on their official website on Monday to apologize for the treatment of a young black gymnast in 2022. The video of the incident, which went viral on Friday, shows an official skipping the only black gymnast as she hands medals to a row of girls. The footage drew international attention, with U.S. star gymnast Simone Biles offering the Irish athlete support.
📸 PHOTO DU JOUR
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol saluting troops as part of the country’s first military parade in a decade, which showcased an arsenal of advanced weaponry in the streets of Seoul. — Photo: South Korea’s presidential office via Facebook
• Zambia Questions Its Harrowing Puberty Rites Of Passage For Girls — GLOBAL PRESS JOURNAL
✍️ Newsletter by Michelle Courtois, Valeria Berghinz and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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