OP-ED | Cafeteria Food Review

Opinion, School Year 2021-22

By: Mia Curtis for the BSA Muse

Disclaimer: This is meant purely for entertainment purposes and is in no way directed toward our lunch staff at BSA, who we appreciate for their hard work preparing food for us every day. 


Easily the most popular lunch at BSA, the pizza is a familiar and comforting break from the typical cafeteria food. Everyone knows what pizza is. Just about everyone has had a slice or two in their life. The cafeteria used to serve a different kind of pizza seemingly every-other week. I’m sure most people remember the mini circle pizzas and the square slices however, recently, they’ve stuck to one type of pizza, which has come with some upsides as well as downsides. 

Of course, It’s pizza. It’s very likely the most looked-forward to lunch on the whole cafeteria menu. However, it has some problems. The first, and biggest of these problems is definitely sauce inconsistency. One minute, you’ll be biting into a nice normal slice of pizza, and the next it’s just cheese bread. Sauce is a vital part of pizza and a lack of sauce destroys the pizza’s appeal. There are some smaller issues such as the uncanny flavor of the sauce as it sits in an odd place between sweet and savor or the sauce to crust ratio, but they are inconsequential in the shadow of sauce inconsistency. 

Despite these issues, we’ll focus on the positives as they outway any criticism. First of all, temperature, the pizza’s always hot when it’s served. There’s plenty of cheese and it’s just the right amount of crust to hold the pizza together. It is not super greasy, but it isn’t dry either. The pizza isn’t anything groundbreaking or particularly special but, it’s a slice of pizza and that’s all it needs to be. 

Fried Chicken

Recently, the kitchen has added a new meal to its menu: the fried chicken drumstick. This dish is typically served alongside french fries or steamed corn. The new lunch option has proven controversial, as it has caused division among students. Some enjoy the lunch, commenting on its crispy exterior and apparently tender inside. Others liken the fried chicken to “fried rat,” expressing a pointed distaste for the meal and its appearance. 

As someone who has never personally tried the fried chicken drumstick, I asked several students about their personal opinions on its quality. Blanche Brody, a Junior actor says “It’s interesting. It could be a lot different, but it sure is chicken”.

Porch Longshore, another junior actor, has a similar opinion as they state “It’s a solid 2/10. It has some good parts, mostly it is very bad”. 

Solidifying the generally negative views of the fried chicken, Alessandra Brown, a junior dancer says “I’d say it could be a lot worse. However, it’s also not my favorite, and on days that there is fried chicken in the cafeteria, I will usually get anything else they’re offering… it’s just kinda greasy.” 

Finally, Ella Haber, a junior visual artist, describes the dish as being “like a fried clump.” She goes on to call it “a mystery box” because “You open it up and it’s like there’s a bunch of veins and fatty little clumps. My fork broke inside of it and that says something about the chicken.” 

Chicken Patty

Chicken Patty Sandwich. Photo by Amalie Nohe-Moren and Ella Haber.

Aside from pizza, the chicken patty sandwich has become a favorite among students. With its presentation and appearance it creates a welcoming first impression of a simple chicken sandwich. The meal is appealing both in looks and taste. The chicken is consistent throughout the patty, it’s tenderness is balanced with a slightly crispy exterior which adds a satisfiying crunch. The bun, despite only being wheat bread, compliments the patty well in texture and taste which completes to the dining experience of the chicken sandwich as a whole. 

The slight sweetness of the chicken is balanced well with the bland profile of the bun. The crispy chicken exterior and tender chicken interior are paired well with the soft, barely stale bread. Overall, the chicken sandwich is and will continue to be a strong favorite in the cafeteria. 

Deli Sandwich

In the first couple of weeks of the school year, the kitchen served only cold foods. The most common of which was the deli sandwich. There’s nothing special about the sandwich, but it serves as an excellent go-to when you want something quick and easy to eat. 

The deli sandwich typically consists of a hoagie roll, American cheese, and some type of lunch meat, usually ham or bologna. On one or two rare occasions, the deli sandwich has been served with lettuce. It’s a staple lunch food and fits perfectly into the school cafeteria setting. The bread, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to be whole wheat, and the meats and cheese aren’t bad. Sure, american cheese creates an odd texture in the cold sandwich, but ultimately it makes sense. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Photo by Amalie Nohe-Moren and Ella Haber.

Peanut butter and jelly. A classic sandwich combo and a sandwich most kids will have eaten before graduating elementary school. The cafeteria makes all the right choices when it comes to PB & J. First, creamy peanut butter. As any respectable critic knows, peanut butter can make or break a quality PB & J. As I always say, “When in doubt, creamy peanut butter sorts it out.” While crunchy peanut butter has potential, often providing a new texture to the familiar sandwich, it proves to be too abrasive for many students. This makes it a poor candidate for cafeteria food, which should ideally appeal to as many students as possible. 

In the interest of catering to many students, sun butter sandwiches are also available for students with nut allergies. Due to the nature of a PB & J, pre-assembly of the sandwich is a bad move – the jelly would deep into the bread, creating a soggy, unpleasant dining experience. The cafeteria sidesteps this issue by separating the bread from the peanut butter and jelly, in turn allowing students to apply their preferred amount of peanut butter or jelly to the bread.

This article was submitted to the BSA Muse by an external contributor. If you would like to submit an Op-Ed, please email Quinn Bryant and Alex Taylor or musebsa@bsfa.org.

The Student Government’s First Town Hall Reveals Its Challenges

Politics and Activism, School Year 2021-22

By: A. W. Taylor

At the beginning of April, the student government of the Baltimore School for the Arts held its first town hall. The event, which consisted of two assemblies, one for underclassmen and one for upperclassmen, revealed the obstacles of this year’s student government. 

At the town hall, students were able to voice issues that they thought the student government should address. Concerns ranging from ant problems to microaggressions were brought up. 

One upperclassman spoke about the lack of communication from a teacher via email regarding grades and questions on assignments. While the student government officers gave advice to the student and spoke about finding solutions, there is very little the student government can do to directly fix the issue. The student government can bring up these concerns with the school administration, but they cannot force the teacher to email the student. 

“One person brought to my attention that they wanted a curriculum change in the Theater department and I just had to say to them ‘I can bring that to the theater rep, but that is probably much out of our theater rep and the SGA’s jurisdiction’”, said Student Government Vice President Quinn Bryant after the town hall.

Student Government President Sydney Lane-Ryer clarified that the student government’s main job is to advocate for the students, which is something they have done. 

In March, the student government sent an email to Principal Roz Cauthen reporting issues they heard from students. Some of the issues that were brought up were the cleanliness of classrooms and the deadnaming of students. In a follow-up email to the whole school, Cauthen addressed these issues and outlined what the school would do to fix them.

Additionally, students expressed interest in selling their art and trying a class in another art form, which the student government delivered on by organizing Springfest and initiating Switcheroo Day, respectively. 

Not every goal the student government set out to accomplish was achieved, however. In an earlier statement, Lane-Ryer emphasized her interest in conducting school-wide trainings on consent and microaggressions. While these trainings happened, they were not well received by both the students and the student government. 

Lane-Ryer was “disappointed” with the quality of the trainings, and the student government’s access to them. Due to time constraints and other logistical issues, the student government was not able to provide the amount and level of trainings that it had hoped to do at the beginning of the year. 

While the student government did not achieve everything they set out to do, they built a solid foundation for future administrations to build on. By being open about their challenges, they are giving the next generation of student leaders an opportunity to improve where they failed.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at musebsa@bsfa.org.

COMMENTARY | SGA: What Went Wrong?

Opinion, Politics and Activism, School Year 2021-22

By: Quinn Katz-Zogby

As I stood in the dusty corner of the Ballroom waiting for the Town Hall to start, frantically typing completely unintelligible notes on my cracked phone screen with one of my editors, Alex, tearing through pages in his faux-leather notepad fast enough to make the Amazon rainforest worry for its safety, the words that came to mind again and again were Winston Churchill’s: “the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” Swaths of sophomores complained of a lack of information in emails they hadn’t bothered to read. Fresh-faced freshmen asked for teachers to be fired because of a lack of communication and our student government again and again bemoaned their own lack of power. “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” It really is a wonderful quote by the stalwart British Bulldog himself, Winston Churchill. The only issue is that he never actually said that.

It is easy to have walked away from watching the proceedings of that day’s town hall and have very little faith in any sort of student administration, to think: “Are those people really worthy to be taken seriously and have power over serious matters?” “Should we let these people sit in on board meetings and make policy decisions for the operation of such an important function of public government as a school?”

These questions are valid, however, that experience, standing alongside one of my editors, documenting the concerns of these hundreds of young people left me questioning this defeatist outlook. These people will grow up to work in all sorts of different industries, vote in dozens of elections, get married, have children, do all of these incredibly human things. Exercise such power over their own lives, and even over my life, but there, in that room, all sitting on uncomfortable plastic chairs, genuinely trying to voice their concerns over their own lives, they are utterly powerless to change much of anything.

Yes, maybe many of their questions are ridiculous or frivolous or whatever derogatory adjective we choose to employ, but at the end of the day, if you have been told that your voice matters, your vote matters, and then have everyone in the room where you’re voicing your opinions utterly powerless to act upon them, I would also be desperate. How are these people going to feel when they go out into the world as adults? Will they have faith in our real elected officials to help them in their everyday lives? Will they be able to trust the government that is supposed to represent them to actually hear their concerns and work to alleviate whatever hardships that can be alleviated?
I hope that the failures of this year’s student government will be remembered by the student body not as the failures of the individuals they elected, but as the failures of the laughably flawed system that they were given. President Sydney Lane-Ryer said herself in an interview that this year’s government simply “didn’t have time or resources to do nearly as much as we wanted to do.” 

President Lane-Ryer went on to acknowledge that the SGA was given essentially no powers outside of asking the school administration for things. When the SGA requested to have a say in board meetings and sit in on staff meetings they were either denied out of hand, given faulty links to Zoom meetings or simply ignored. “SGA has not been taken seriously, but we need to have more official prestige and sound structure. We know that we have to push our way in,” Lane-Ryer said. While faculty advisors Meg Grouzard and Jocelyn Providence have definitely helped in the process, ultimately most of the student government’s plans have been canceled by either the BSA board or the Baltimore City Board of Education. Whether that be greater demonstrations, speeches, and protests have all been either vetoed by higher-ups or canceled due to COVID concerns.

However, there is a solution to this. The BSA Board and Administration need us, the students, far more than we need them. More radical actions like student strikes, walkouts, and refusal to participate in fundraising events like Expressions can all be powerful forms of forcing the Board and the City to take us seriously. While we may currently feel as if we are screaming our legitimate concerns into a void, with petty complaints and important issues all being grouped together, we do have the power to change things. The student government this year has not done all that it was promised to be, but if we come into next year ready to make the changes we want to see, SGA can be even more.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at musebsa@bsfa.org.

COMMENTARY | Has COVID-19 Jeopardized the Future for Visual Arts Senior Concentration?

Opinion, School Year 2021-22, The Arts

By: Quinn Bryant 

Students in the Visual Arts department, like most departments, spend three years dabbling in a variety of mediums within their discipline, but something that makes the Visual Arts curriculum stand out from the rest is Senior Concentration. Senior Concentration is the opportunity for Senior Visual Artists to choose one or two specific Visual Arts disciplines to focus on for the entirety of the year. During Senior year, Visual Artists only have three other classes outside of Senior Concentration: Art History 3, Sculpture 2, and Mixed Media.

Senior Concentration is a lengthy process and starts before Visual Arts seniors have their first day of classes. It starts with junior year juries. Juniors discuss with their jurors what medium they might want to pursue and why? Then, according to Visual Arts Department Head Archie Veale, over the summer, rising seniors should spend their time creating concrete ideas within their sketchbooks, so they can take their work “right from the sketchbook onto the wall,” says Veale. 

When I was considering applying to BSA, this was one of the parts of the school that sold it for me. The opportunity for me to spend the majority of my final year focusing on the art medium I enjoy most and preparing for what I might be doing in college excited me. It is something that not only me, but many of my peers were fascinated and excited about since freshman year. 

But the unique thing about Senior Concentration that I don’t think people fully understand is that it’s not just taking one class for the majority of the year. This course is completely self-driven. There are no prompts, no teacher-assigned lessons, or given teacher restrictions. It’s all up to you. It is all about the Visual Artists creating their own body of work, on their own, without any push from teachers. Teachers essentially work as a facilitator and give additional help to the students.

Whether students in the Visual Arts department want to become a doctor, a professional painter, or work in art therapy, the idea of creating your own body of work without any teacher instruction is very compelling. Visual Arts Seniors Gigi Pilla and Anastasia Glass had the same feeling that a lot of Visual Artists have when they found out about Senior Concentration. Pilla said it gave her the chance to explore and Glass felt as though they would be well prepared for when they moved on from high school.

Visual Arts Senior, Anastasia Glass , and guest looking at artwork. Photo by Ella Haber.

However, with Senior Concentration being a very independent practice, there is a lot of student self-accountability. As Veale says, “It’s not for everyone”. But it is not something some students can do while others sit out. “You cannot send three students to the moon,” says Veale. I agree that it is a tremendous amount of accountability that students have to hold to themselves. They have to produce a body of work that not only reflects them as an artist but reflects all of the techniques they have learned here at BSA. 

However, for next year’s Seniors and possibly the Seniors following them, Senior Concentration is in jeopardy of continuing a little differently or not at all, and it’s mainly due to COVID-19. Yes, COVID-19 has affected much of our lives inside and outside of the classroom, so it isn’t a surprise that COVID has affected this big self-driven curriculum. As previously discussed, Senior Concentration is the culmination of three years of practice, and missing just one of those years can be very difficult. This year’s Seniors had to do virtually one of the most informative and impactful years as a Visual Artist, Junior year. 

Pilla, Glass, and fellow Senior Visual Artist Ayana Hall attested to that. Hall discussed that she sees Junior Visual Artists creating artwork she never got the opportunity to even start thinking about because of the virtual year. And I can agree on the same thing. I was surprised when I saw the Visual Arts Freshman working in color, as that was something I never got to do Freshman year.

The Covid year has affected our arts all in different ways, some positive and some negative. First, Pilla discussed that she was in a rut during virtual school. She often lost motivation to create art, but she did stay very active in photography, which is why she chose that as her Senior Concentration. However, Glass felt as though she was very motivated when she got back in the building to push through with Senior Concentration because she was just excited to be back in a real live art room with all of her friends. 

The current Visual Arts Juniors had to spend their Sophomore year, which is part two of refining their technical skills, virtually. Additionally, they were not able to do a traditional first year of art school, which as you can imagine is a very vital year. Due to these drawbacks, Juniors and Sophomores (but more prominently Juniors) opportunity to do Senior Concentration is being debated. It may be that this year’s Freshmen, if COVID permits it, will be able to do Senior Concentration if no other classes do, according to the Veale.

I do not think Senior Concentration should be cut, which is an obvious notion as I am a Junior Visual Artist eager to do an entire year of painting. It might just need to be modified. In my discussion with Pilla and Glass, they talked about having more structure in the program, and I was interested to find out that certain parts of the program I thought would be included weren’t something they ever did. 

Pilla discussed that she would have enjoyed the opportunity to get together with the entirety of the class for critiques a couple of times in the year. It was hard for her to get critiques because her Senior Concentration focus, photography, only included one other person. I was surprised that the Seniors never all got together to talk about what they were working on.

Visual Arts Senior, Gigi Pilla , and guest looking at photography. Photo by Ella Haber.

Pilla also expressed the need for more teacher push. I know Senior Concentration is meant for students to work solely independently, and they have to hold themselves accountable, But I think we can all agree if an academic teacher doesn’t give a due date on an assignment or tells you to submit it “whenever”, you are most likely to keep prioritizing other things over it. Senior Concentration is something where the final due date is the end of the year. But one of the changes Pilla suggested to the Senior Concentration  curriculum is for their to be more actual deadlines.

The difficult thing about that is students are going to produce different amounts of work and some pieces could take longer than others. So one of my personal suggestions is a beginning of the year assignment where students have to make a year long or semester long schedule with due dates that they want to abide by. That still calls for student accountability, but it also helps students have the pressure of the assignment there to push them to keep going. 

As the school year is ending, Veale expresses his advice to the Junior Visual Arts class and the underclassman. “Juniors need to prepare themselves for what’s going to be a very stressful year,” according to Veale. Juniors should not take the summer off from art; they need to use their sketchbooks continuously to gain a snapshot of who they are. Juniors should reflect on their past work at BSA and come ready to play and experiment during Senior year.  

Veale has two main pieces of advice for underclassmen. One to “Continue to make art for yourself, not just the assignments we give you,” says Veale. And second, all Visual Arts classes should never lose their love for their art. Veale does not want the weight of the academic schedule or the art assignment to make underclassmen forget why they are here. 

Senior Concentration is an incredible opportunity. It allows Visual Artists to take everything they’ve learned and bring it all together. The Senior show holds some of the most creative pieces of the year the Visual Arts Department produces. So as you find yourself on the first floor, stop by the gallery show and look at some of the incredible work from this year’s Seniors class of 2022.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at musebsa@bsfa.org.

Considering the Future of Harborplace

School Year 2021-22, Teen Topics

By: Audrey Weiss

The Inner Harbor is known to be one of Baltimore’s greatest attractions for locals and tourists, but it has faced great hardship in the last several years. 

Business after business has vacated the area, especially inside of the retail hubs known as Harborplace. This was partially a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the problem runs deep and was apparent far before the year 2020.

Harborplace, placed between the Maryland Science Center and World Trade Center, opened its doors in the year 1980, set with the intention of being a centerpiece of downtown Baltimore.

Harborplace was one of the first waterfront malls, and drew a lot of attention originally as it became a landmark of sorts. Unfortunately, the buildings deteriorated and haven’t been able to update in a way that has allowed them to maintain any of the buzz Harborplace once had. 

The decline of Harborplace isn’t entirely its own fault; within the time frame of the pandemic, many other business staples in the Harbor have left or died out, including the once very notable Barnes and Noble location that was beside the National Aquarium.

The future of Harborplace, and the Inner Harbor as a whole, have been gaining attention recently within news outlets and Baltimore residents, especially with new possible opportunities for reviving the space.

In early April, it was first reported that MCB Real Estate, a Baltimore developer, acquired Harborplace from the receivership it was put into in 2019.

The managing partner at the company, David Bramble, is meant to take control of the project. Bramble told CBS News Baltimore that the plan is to “reinvent and reimagine Harborplace as a modern gathering location that is awe-inspiring and authentically Baltimore.” 

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott has pledged his support of the project, disclosing to the Baltimore Sun, “I’ve had the city solicitor working with him [David Bramble] since the beginning of the receivership process and I remain committed to seeing this to fruition.” 

Scott and his administration are willing to work with the redevelopment and a spokesperson for the mayor clarified they are willing to consider any requests for assistance, possibly including financial ones.

Though approval from a Baltimore Circuit Court Judge still has to go through, the future of Harborplace most likely will either entail simply major renovations, or demolishing the buildings to completely start over.

It is expected that the businesses that still reside within the waterfront mall space will be displaced when time for construction comes around, but the buildings are nowhere near filled to capacity, and so the amount of remaining businesses that would be affected is very few.

As plans for Harborplace are being considered, other parts of the Harbor have already taken steps to revamp the landmark; one major project that wrapped up last November was the opening of Rash Field Park.

The park, right up against the harbor, introduced a skate park, play ground, and other spaces for Baltimore natives to enjoy the waterfront view. 

There has already been a notable crowd that fills the park nearly everyday, circulating people into the harbor space and hopefully providing opportunities for local businesses that would incentivise them to formulate by the harbor.

It seems that there is still hope for the Inner Harbor, and many reasons for why attempts should be made to visit and enjoy the Harbor: to visit the new sites, support the businesses, and enjoy one of the landmarks of Baltimore.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at musebsa@bsfa.org.

The Climate of War: Russia and Ukraine

Archive, Politics and Activism, School Year 2021-22

By Amalie Nohe-Moren

Over eight years ago, in February of 2014, Russia annexed the disputed territory of Crimea. Four days after the anniversary of the annexation, this year in 2022, Russia invades Ukraine. Understanding the disputes over Crimea, even the name and whether it is “the autonomous republic” or just “the republic” of Crimea is part of a long and complex history. 

In essence, Crimea is a land with overlap, in people, language, military presence, from both Ukraine and Russia. By most Western powers, including the European Union, it was considered part of Ukraine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin disagreed, then forcefully tried to make it part of Russia again, as it was in the USSR under Khrushchev. 

However, these disputes are only the backdrop of what I want to talk about today. Just know that this conflict, the strife, and bloodshed in Ukraine, has been going on for many years and only worsened with these most recent escalations. This context is a large part of what can help us understand the current situation. 

This underlying problem is one felt all over the world right now: In Ukraine, across Europe, in Russia, and here in the United States. It’s the common condition of fear and anxiety which seems to be becoming more prevalent. This may seem abstract and in many ways is, but I found it to be something which the effects of are clear once you look at the situation with this in mind. 

I was introduced to a cat named Pumpkin while doing my research. Pumpkin had previously lived with two other families but been given away again and now has become a bit distrusting and scared of people. However, Pumpkin, like their owner Liza, has found a home here in Baltimore which I was kindly allowed in despite the tension of the world. 

Liza moved to America from Siberia to pursue an arts education here, and just in this introduction, I began to understand the real fear of this situation. Liza asked me to not include her full name which is very reasonable as in her home country the danger of being antiwar and even expressing dissent in any way is real. As I spoke with her and our conversation got deeper, I found we came to the base state of the Russian people and how all the politics are built off of that. 

We spoke a lot about the influence of the Russian government on people’s opinion. The tactics they use to create cooperation and suppress dissent. She feels this even here and fears what will happen if spotted at an anti-war protest and if there will be consequences. In Russia quality information is inaccessible and what people do learn about the war is mostly state propaganda. These narratives are spread through every aspect of life. She describes it as feeling like “a country of the absurd, black is white, war is peace ‒ there is no truth at all right now”.  

All the media in Russia is controlled by the government now and has become more controlled as of late. Sources considered more “independent” online are often part of Russian propaganda as well and have become prevalent all across the internet. Russians have nowhere to turn. 

Even in higher education and grade school, which people like to have faith in as teaching more critical thinking, has become an environment that  is mandated to re-enforce the biased Russian view of the war with Ukraine. Students have mandatory seminars in high school where they learn about the righteousness of Putin’s “special military operation” as calling it a “war” would in itself be a risky offense. 

Liza tells me that college professors in Russian have been telling their students they are at risk of losing their college scholarship funding or of being kicked out entirely from the university if they go out to protest the war. Even if students do go out to protest Russian police are extremely brutal and the threat would not just be to your freedom and education but of being seriously hurt as well. 

Many Russians oppose the war, the representation that it has high approval ratings is mostly a result of fear of the consequences of expressing dissent. However, as the government’s grip on information tightens and time passes the nationalism and support for the war seems to be increasing. Of course, this shouldn’t be excused but it does show an important incitement into  the role of this war for Russians. When describing were she is from in Russia she says: “In Siberia where I lived (outside) our apartment building, if you walk a couple blocks there would be wooden houses. They don’t even have bathrooms inside – when you have to live like that what do you have to be proud of? I don’t know”.

Many Russians are living through hard times in their economic situation on top of the increasing government repression. This war has become a marketing campaign to the Russian people in many ways. A campaign that  seeks to stoke nationalism and pride in a people that in many ways may feel defeated.

“You don’t have many options like if we choose not to veil our that Russia is so powerful then we are going to realize that we live a terrible life.”

It is a tool to get civilians to feel pride and strength when in many parts of their lives and in their country’s situation there has been a feeling of being weak or defeated compared to “The West”. Putin portrays himself as strong, he is getting back at western powers, fighting fascism, Russians don’t need international trade, they can fight and rely on themselves! 

For people living through hard times, Putin’s nationalist rhetoric becomes much more attractive. The tight situation also leads to people not having the energy or will to be politically aware. People know they could face consequences from the government if they speak out and can’t afford to deal with that. 

People who feel beaten down by the circumstances of their lives want a chance to feel strong again, to fight back, that feeling is something easy to exploit under a worsening dictatorship. This same issue is not unique to Russia. A central element of this war is Putin’s claims of combating fascist militias that have taken over Ukraine. 

Though his acts of bombing civilians, stopping medical aid, and cutting the Ukrainian people off from the world shows his motives are not to liberate the people of Ukraine their is some complexity to this claim. Ukraine does have a sort of unofficial military that has been fighting Russia in Crimea for for many years now. This military is not officially Ukrainian but acts as defenders of the country and has connections to the government. 

These militias are composed of regular citizens not within the formal government system and some are part of organized fascist militant groups. The most well known of these is Azof which is a Ukrainian far right ultra nationalist and white supremacist militia. However, it is important to understand the only reason these groups have any formal part in the defense of their country is because Ukraine has been put in such a desperate position. 

Poverty, ongoing war with little aid, and a weak military unable to fight Russia lead to facist groups being able to gain power and recruit while there was so much desperation and fear in their country. Just as Nationalism and violently prideful politics have taken hold of Russian in their worsening circumstances the same has happened in Ukraine just in a different form. 

Fascism takes advantage of the feelings of defeat and fear in a people which is only given more fuel when the country is under attack with little support from the rest of the world. When I asked Liza if she had any last thoughts on this matter she emphasized to me how something should have been done sooner to prevent this. 

“Why did you have to wait for thousands of people to die on the Ukrainian and Russian side to do anything?” 

The world has watched for years as Ukraine has faced more and more aggression from Russia along with many other harmful acts by the nation. Instead of pulling away European reliance on Russian oil Germany was in the middle of building a new oil pipeline as this war broke out.

Sanctions that  were in place before the war and become even broader in recent weeks do little to change Putin’s actions, most just affecting the quality of life of the Russian people. The ongoing aggression felt by Ukraine from Russia has created a sad, tragic situation, and has already caused so much pain, especially to thousands of innocents in Ukraine but even to drafted Russians as well. 

The world should not have allowed the acts of the Russian government to go unpunished for so long and in all parts of the world it is important to not tolerate dictatorship, and cruelty because this type of bloody conflict is the result.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at musebsa@bsfa.org.