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Terror in Europe

That Slippery Euphemism We Call 'Cultural Differences'

The attacks in Paris last week put us face-to-face with the fact that our neighbors may live their lives in ways that make no sense to us. How do we keep this from spiraling toward hatred?

Street scene in Paris' 18th arrondissement
Street scene in Paris' 18th arrondissement
Moira Molly Chambers*

-Essay-

PARIS — It had been fabulous, but it had been long, and we were very tired, thirsty and hungry. Essaouira, the magical Moroccan port city, had exhausted us yet another day. The rowdy, squirming boys (aged 3 and 5) sitting next to us were our own, though at that moment we didn't wish to be associated with them. The restaurant owner had reluctantly but understandingly agreed to serve us, though his staff was not ready, and he probably knew that dusty little feet would be all over the rich, kilim cushions.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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