The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced “SFWA Stands With Ukraine” on March 17, two days after rejecting Ukranian fan Borys Sydiuk’s call to join a boycott of Russia, and weeks after the Authors Guild (“Authors Guild Expresses Solidarity with Ukraine”, March 1) and the Horror Writers Association (“On The Conflict In Ukraine” March 5) preceded them with statements.
“SFWA Stands With Ukraine” condemns the invasion and discusses grants and other support that will be made available:
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America stand with the people of Ukraine, all creators, and SFF fans around the world who oppose and abhor the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The organization wholly condemns this invasion and oppression which has tragically taken so much from the tireless and brave Ukrainian people. We call on leaders from the international stage to move quickly to end the war. To restore peace and stability. To allow creative freedoms to flourish once again.
In an effort to back these words with concrete actions, the SFWA International Committee, Board, and staff have been coordinating to determine how our organization can aid Ukranian writers and their genre communities.
We will offer Nebula Conference scholarships and fee waivers for SFWA membership for those affected by the invasion. We are earmarking funds to be set aside in the form of grants in the 2022 and 2023 budgets to help the citizens of Ukraine rebuild their infrastructures such as libraries/literacy programs. For writers who are or may become injured in the war, the emergency medical fund will also be accessible for aid.
In the longer term, the organization is looking at Ukrainian-creator focused projects to generate long-term revenue for these efforts. SFWA will also reach out to sister organizations to see what efforts we can work on together in support of peace and freedom for Ukraine.
SFWA is committed to helping ensure that whatever outcome of the invasion may be, that ideas and creative freedoms remain.
Okay, I like this. I wasn’t favorably impressed by the prior statement, but I’m not sure what SFWA boycotting Russia would have meant in practical terms.
It’s even a bit more ambitious than the AG and HWA statements. I found the link tonight in a comment on someone’s FB wall — it doesn’t seem to have been distributed as a press release.
In other circumstances, I would say it is a great statement. But today it is toothless and fluffy. We expected a stronger statement with an appeal to SFWA member writers to avoid any contact with Russian publishers. Recently, Exmo Publishers asked not to stop cooperating with them while they continue publishing books titled like “Battlefield Ukraine”, “The war in Ukraine” and so on, it was them preparing the Russian public conscience to what is going on today in Ukraine.
Boris Sydiuk wrote:
“ In other circumstances, I would say it is a great statement. But today it is toothless and fluffy.”
I understand your disappointment, but generally this is a good step forward. We need to rejoice in our victories (and this is a victory) no matter how small (and this isn’t small I think).
In fact I will use this as an example to other organizations that have issued luke-warm statements.
I am with Boris.
All good stuff so far, but let’s hope the SFWA continues “to determine
how [their] organization can aid Ukrainian writers and their genre communities” since as much as possible needs to be done. For example, will the SFWA urge its members to take care not to share a stage with those who are pro-war, pro-Putin? Otherwise, we may end up in the ridiculous situation of SFWA members on one hand virtue-signalling support with an Ukrainian flag on their social media pages and on the other sharing a stage with a fellow writer who has not only repeatedly stated support for Putin and his war but has actively campaigned said support with others of a similar mind! There are many SF professionals in Russia who have campaigned support for Putin. Fortunately, there are a few who have spoken out against the senseless war: for example, all credit and respect to Dmitry Glukhovsky!
However, I fear this may be a tiny step too far for the SFWA.
Jonathan C. wrote:
“… we may end up in the ridiculous situation of SFWA members on one hand virtue-signalling support with an Ukrainian flag on their social media pages and on the other sharing a stage with a fellow writer who has not only repeatedly stated support for Putin and his war but has actively campaigned said support with others of a similar mind!”
Any particular SFWA writer you have in mind? ?
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