Tuesday 19 July 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 19/7/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Shutterstock

Opinion / Christopher Cermak

Life during wartime

When I first visited Ukraine a few weeks before Russia’s invasion in February, the phrase that best summed up what I witnessed came from writer and philosopher Volodymyr Yermolenko. The country was living a “dual reality”, he said. People here were preparing for war while many of the rituals of normal daily life continued much as they had before.

Almost six months later, I’m back in western Ukraine. After months of fighting here, things feel relatively normal again. During the day the streets of Lviv are bustling and bars and parks are teeming with people. Look closer, though, and there are sandbags blocking cellar windows, monuments covered to spare them from rocket fire and a 23.00 curfew. Some days and nights the summer silence is still splintered by the sound of an air-raid siren.

Yesterday I spoke to Volodymyr Syvokhip, general director of the Lviv National Philharmonic. I asked what he would like from the international community but he demurred. It seems as though pleading for support has given way to an impulse to just get on with things, including through music: the orchestra has reportedly played more than 250 concerts in Lviv and nearby towns since the invasion began. Before we parted, Syvokhip told me that he’d never really grasped what freedom meant until the conflict began.

Even in war, though, life must go on. Our photographer, Lesha Berezovskiy, told me that he recently cycled with a friend to the outskirts of his hometown of Kyiv, past Bucha and Irpin. Someone from abroad questioned the fact that they could cycle, as though this somehow suggested that the war wasn’t real. Was he wrong to enjoy a bike ride though? At another meeting back in Lviv, the city’s mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, told me about the need to find moments of happiness everyday. He’s right, despite the duality. War has changed Ukraine but at the same time, life must go on.

Christopher Cermak is Monocle’s news editor. He and Carlota Rebelo will be reporting from Ukraine for Monocle 24 and this week’s newsletters.

Image: Alamy

Aviation / UK

Green-sky thinking

The Farnborough International Airshow took off for the first time since 2018 on Monday (the biennial show had been grounded by the pandemic). Appropriately for a day of record-breaking temperatures in the UK, climate discussions were front and centre. Environmental activists staged a mock funeral procession, while aviation company press releases focused on the dogfight for emissions-free flights. Rolls-Royce said that it planned to test hydrogen-fuelled planes at the fair, while other firms have announced plans for electric-flight tests and sustainable-airline-fuel deals to shore up their green credentials. Underlying all of this are staff shortages, supply-chain problems and fuel-price inflation, which are hobbling global air travel. “The next great technological challenge is how to send a plane across the Atlantic without burning tonnes of kerosene and adding to the carbon tea cosy that is heating our planet to destruction,” said the UK’s outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson. But it’s real innovation, not hot air or woolly utterances, that is needed if the aviation industry is to return to its pre-pandemic heights.

Hear more on Farnborough International Airshow on today’s ‘The Briefing’ on Monocle 24.

Image: Alamy

Elections / Brazil

Note of approval

The received wisdom goes that support from high-profile artists can help to swing elections and that it’s usually left-wing candidates who benefit from an association with the arts. But things aren’t that simple in celebrity-obsessed Brazil. The Workers Party candidate and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will have been happy to pick up the endorsement of Anitta, a popular popstar, over the weekend. But the Brazilian singer (pictured) was careful not to alienate too many partisan fans, offering the caveat that she isn’t a Workers Party supporter and only wants to see current president Jair Bolsonaro voted out.

Meanwhile, the right-wing incumbent counts Brazil’s country music singers, such as Gusttavo Lima, among his supporters. Country music, or sertanejo, is the most listened-to genre in Brazil. But cultural cachet will only get a candidate so far. With Brazil’s finances increasingly frail and poverty rising, candidates and voters would do well to remember that the election in early October is about solutions rather than soundbites.

Image: Sangtae Kim

Art / South Korea

In the frame

With the inaugural Frieze Seoul art fair on the horizon at the end of the summer, international galleries are keen to boost their presence in South Korea’s capital. The first of eight foreign players to come to South Korea, Paris-based gallery Perrotin recently announced plans to open another location in the upmarket neighbourhood of Gangnam.

The New York-based Pace Gallery (pictured) will also add a new ground floor to its sizeable three-storey space in Seoul’s city centre. As more and more foreign businesses look to stake their claim in South Korea’s booming culture scene, it’s clear that Pace and Perrotin won’t be the last galleries to seek space here. After all, winning over the country’s rapidly growing – and maturing – collectors requires galleries to have a presence. Even as online art sales become more commonplace, the art world still believes in the benefits of in-person meetings.

Image: Alamy

Diplomacy / Middle East and North Africa

Shifting sands

Aviv Kohavi (pictured), head of the Israeli Defence Force, is paying his first visit to Morocco this week. The Abraham Accords – Washington’s diplomatic push – have seen several Islamic countries in the Middle East and North Africa forge closer ties with Israel. This warming of relations frustrates many Palestinians and doesn’t change the harsh realities of the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

“Moroccan access to Israeli technology and weapons is surely on the agenda of this visit, along with plans for future joint military exercises,” Haaretz journalist Allison Kaplan Sommer tells The Monocle Minute. “The UAE and Bahrain have already broken that barrier; Morocco is surely next in line,” she says, referring to the normalising of relations between Jerusalem and Rabat in 2020. Kohavi’s visit is further evidence of a shift in regional realpolitik. In a period when the international order is increasingly frayed, new diplomatic ties in a fraught region should be welcomed.

For more on Israeli-Moroccan relations, tune in to ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle 24.

Monocle 24 / The Menu

Meinklang wine and Olia Hercules

A visit to one of the most special Austrian farm-wineries, Olia Hercules on food as a tool to unite people and a top cocktail recipe by Ryan Chetiyawardana.

Monocle Films / Global

Welcome to the Auberge Monocle

Monocle has so far resisted the temptation to open a hotel – but that doesn’t mean that we don’t spend time thinking about who we’d hire to oversee a renovation, run the bar or design the uniforms. With this in mind, here are the six house rules we’d strictly enforce to keep things civil and serene around the pool, in the lobby and on the balcony.


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