Ukraine and Europe Show the V Sign to Vladimir Putin

The story goes that, during the Hundred Years War in the Fifteenth Century, the French would cut the two longest fingers from the hands of English bowmen to prevent them firing their bows, and since then the famous ‘two fingered salute’ or ‘V sign‘ has been used as a show of defiance or antagonism. I think it’s fair to say that, last night, Ukraine and Europe put up the V sign to Vladimir Putin and Russia. For Ukraine to win the Eurovision Song Contest really is a great move as it demonstrates that, contrary to what Putin might want his subjects – and the rest of us – to believe, Ukrainian culture is alive, thriving, and is valued by Ukraine’s European, democratic neighbours. What happened last night was a continent-wide display of defiance, directed towards a megalomaniac dictator who thinks his neighbours are his to play with as he sees fit. It was a huge show of solidarity; an enormous ‘screw you’ to Putin. Of course, it certainly helped that Ukraine’s entry was one of the best songs, and definitely among the catchiest; but at a time when we all needed to get behind the Ukrainian people in standing up to a bully, I think we succeeded.

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