The FT’s foreign editor Alec Russell has been reporting on crises around the world for more than 30 years. He was in Romania during the fall of the Ceaușescu regime, in South Africa for the fall of apartheid, and in 1994 he reported on the genocide in Rwanda. So when we recently felt ourselves losing hope at the news from Gaza and Ukraine, we decided to ask him: is this an especially tough time in history, or does it just feel that way? And what has he learned from being present for so much of history? Today, Alec gives us tips for finding perspective, and tells us where he finds hope.


We love hearing from you. Lilah is on Instagram @lilahrap and we’re on X @lifeandartpod. You can email us at We are grateful for reviews, on Apple, Spotify, etc.


Links (all FT links get you past the paywall):

– Alec’s piece commemorating 30 years since Rwanda’s genocide is here:

– You may also be interested in Alec Russell’s book After Mandela: the Battle for the Soul of South Africa

– Alec is on X @AlecuRussell


The FT Weekend Festival is coming back, and will be in Washington, DC, on May 4! Speakers include Nancy Pelosi, Alec and Lilah! To book tickets, go to and use our exclusive discount code: weekendpodcast.

Special FT subscription offers for Life and Art podcast listeners, from 50% off a digital subscription to a $1/£1/€1 trial, are here:

Read a transcript of this episode on

View our accessibility guide.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this audio


Comments have not been enabled for this article.