Ukrainians have a literally cheeky term for the kind of dissimulated concern and vacuous solidarity offered up by self-interested groups and politicians. They call it “Macronity”, for the idea of support from a distance finds its neat encapsulation in the pity pouts and winces of the grief-heavy French premier.
Macro talk, micro results.
Speechified condolences are a riskless investment. “We’re with you in spirit” may move the bracelet-wearers and the UN-donators, those the extent of whose well-intentioned support is symbolized by a small flag on the lapel, but it doesn’t move Ukrainians, who need friends beside them in a rather more tangible way. The language of action requires no small-screen translator or subtitles.
Any crisis will be quick-followed on-screen with crisis-ready speeches, given by sorry-looking and action-inspired(-looking) political figures. The language of political speechifying is rife with the predictably stale, hackneyed expressions, and ends with a predictably vague “plan of action”, brittle promissory notes of the feckless. They ape the phrases, and look the right kind of sorry, but never seem to get, until past the peak time of helping, or at best belatedly, to doing the right thing. “Our prayers are with you” manages to be both nauseous as an expression and banal as a sentiment. Better, and fresher: Our money is with you; our bodies are with you; our equipment and technology is with you; our military is with you.
The Ukrainians also have prayers, and these can be answered decisively and immediately, without need of preliminary rites, tuneless hymns, and vacuous obeisances.
[More stories on Ukraine and the author’s perambulations through that indefatigable country can be viewed at The Garland at firstname.lastname@example.org.]