It’s very fashionable proper now in Western international locations to hate Russia and mistrust Russian people.
The information tells us that Russia is a hellhole of loopy fanatics led by a Slavic Saddam and that it deserves to be financially and economically crushed.
Well, a few days in the past I met the “enemy.”
At McDonalds, in truth…
And it was fairly an enlightening expertise.
Let me clarify.
You simply by no means know who you’ll meet…
I’m at the moment living in southern Brazil, and my greatest friend and I needed to drive as much as Sao Paulo for me to signal paperwork at my consulate associated to my immigration visa.
On the means back from the large metropolis, we stopped to remain a day or two and unwind in a seashore city a few hours away.
This is the place the confessions begin:
We went out the first night time to eat at McDonalds, and not simply a small burger and fries. Multiple combos. Sugary drinks. Pure, scrumptious, pink-sludge and cardboard-puree-filled rubbish.
I do know I’m a dangerous particular person contributing to environmental destruction and I simply wish to level out that I hardly ever eat at McDonalds or any quick food place.
In any case, this time whereas ready in line I noticed a blond man and blond lady forward of us talking a language that sounded a lot like non-Portuguese.
Having lived in the Republic of Georgia, Poland and traveled in Ukraine, I’ve heard my share of Russian and Slavic languages.
I noticed that the man’s shirt had a web site ending in .ru on it and my Sherlock side kicked in.
“Are you from Russia?” I requested.
The man rotated and smiled hesitantly.
A stupendous friendship is fashioned
The man, Sergei and his spouse Vera* have been on trip in this a part of Brazil for a few weeks.
When I used to be chatting with the man and expressing curiosity in his state of affairs, his spouse invited my friend and I to eat with them outdoors.
Thus began a stunning two-day friendship.
They defined that that they had been planning to remain longer however that all the pieces was now shut down. Their Visa and Mastercards not labored in Brazil, and their Apple watches now longer labored to pay.
It was all money, and some crypto, however that was a bit tough as effectively. They had basically discovered themselves unable to remain longer or reschedule their flight as a result of the monetary shutdowns.
Working on social media for a number of firms, Vera was additionally blocked from persevering with her work as regular, since the majority of Western social media firms like Instagram and Facebook not work in Russia.
Of course, you possibly can use VPNs, however official firms are not permitted or in a position to have a presence on these social media giants.
Sergei, in the meantime, was a farmer who mentioned the war had made him very depressed as he felt a lack of management in doing something about it.
It additionally acquired in the means of his means to fly to farms he helps handle in the south of Russia, which is now closed to civilian air site visitors as a result of the war in Ukraine.
We sat having fun with our McDonalds as I scarfed down a number of orders of fries and sufficient greasy cheeseburgers to energy an ethanol-fueled automobile for a week.
Sergie and Vera additionally savored their McDonalds as a little style of residence, noting that “these are all shut down at home.”
His spouse invited Joice and I to go to the subsequent day, and we took over her canine Sury and my younger completely insane pet Brunnhilde (Brunn).
We had a nice night, ordering Arabic food from a restaurant in the city (an improve from McDonalds!) and speaking about many things together with how a lot they miss their canine Mars, a pinscher ready for them back in Moscow.
The pictures she confirmed me of the lovely canine demonstrated how a lot love that they had for him.
“If we’d brought him maybe we could have somehow stayed longer,” Vera lamented, leaving the monetary blockade unmentioned at the second.
You can break the propaganda
Sometimes all it takes to interrupt propaganda is speaking to somebody in McDonalds and attending to know them.
I used to be in Ukraine two years in the past and have shut pals there who’re combating in the war and defending their nation. So I don’t take the topic evenly or assume it’s simply a trivial, academically fascinating topic.
It’s actual life and actual war.
Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have died, and many troopers. This reportedly consists of over 17,000 younger Russian troopers, one in every of whom just lately ran over his own commander with a tank and crushed him out of rage at the loss of over half his brigade.
This war is a tragedy that didn’t must occur. It’s a brother war of the worst type, and I hate it.
I feel many Ukrainians and Russians really feel the similar, together with Sergei and Vera. But the war is going on, and that’s a truth irrespective of how a lot most of us deplore it.
Exodus of the people
One of the greatest things that Sergei and Vera emphasised was simply how a lot the economic system of Russia is falling via and what number of people try to bail out.
Although his business retains him there for now, Sergei is contemplating coming to Brazil on a long run foundation in the future.
He mentioned lots of his pals have already left for Georgia, Europe, Istanbul or wherever that they will transfer their belongings and have a higher future.
Sergei mentioned he additionally has a good friend whose dad instructed him to get out of Russia a few years in the past and acquire residency in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The younger man is now in the strategy of finishing that, which can give him far more stability.
Putin just lately threatened Russians who’re loyal to the West in their hearts and wish to switch their wealth and futures to Western locations.
This is extremely ironic, since Putin’s personal interior circle and closest advisors are closely linked to Western places and possessions, together with Putin’s $900 million yacht the Scheherazade, which is at the moment docked in Italy.
In any case, from what Sergei mentioned, it’s very common for younger Russians who need a higher future to now strive their hardest to depart the nation by any means potential.
A wierd world
Our time with Sergei and Vera was a lot of enjoyable.
We didn’t discuss a lot about the war or politics, however the sense of strangeness was there. Two just lately married and clever people who clearly didn’t need a war with Ukraine, now caught in one other nation and uncertain about the future as a result of the actions of their authorities.
Sergei and I mentioned Soviet historical past and he famous how his ancestry is partly Polish and could embody Jewish on one side, however that he’s undecided, as greater officers tended to cover Jewish ancestry for positions excessive up in the USSR like one in every of his forebears was.
Vera is initially from Kazakhstan, however moved to Moscow to see what it was like and ended up meeting Sergei and falling in love via mutual funds.
We do speak about politics a bit.
We speak about the concept of “denazifying” and he factors out that one in every of Russia’s fundamental private army contractors, the Wagner Group, is led by a man referred to as Yevgeny Prigozhin who openly admires the SS and is tattooed with their infamous insignia.
The SS (Schutzstaffel) dedicated lots of the worst war crimes of the Second World War together with killing Prisoners of War (POWs) and looking down and murdering Jews in advance groups forward of the common forces.
Ukraine undoubtedly has its personal vital drawback with neo-Nazism together with the revitalized Azov battalion and funding from Washington and Kiev to some troopers who brazenly wish to conquer and dominate all non-white people.
As Sergei’s personal combined ancestry and the present war demonstrates clearly, jap Europe and Eurasia just isn’t some black-and-white area. It is centuries or bloodshed, completely different sides inter-mixing, damaged alliances and contradictions.
Breaking the matrix
We all belong to varied teams and have numerous passports, income ranges, colours and identities.
That a lot is obvious. And it’s definitely essential.
But it’s not all the pieces.
And if you wish to break the matrix it is advisable to be keen to look previous the conditioning you’ve been put beneath and see the particular person beneath all the outer labels and concepts you’ve gotten.
When we’re keen to get to know somebody on their personal phrases and take heed to what they must say, we will be taught a lot.
If I had mentioned hello to Sergei in McDonalds and he’d grunted or turned away, we by no means would have all made pals.
But his pleasant response and openness inspired me to additionally open up and be pleasant.
That’s how bridges are constructed: person-to-person.
It doesn’t all the time occur, however there’s no big thriller:
If you give others the likelihood to be pleasant and open with you, they only would possibly take it. And you would possibly find yourself discovering that a lot of your preconceptions about people from sure locations or international locations aren’t fairly in line with actuality.
Free your thoughts
I’ve all the time had a curiosity for the prohibited. When all of society tells me a group or person is evil or ignorant, I like to search out out for myself.
I admit that I even have a contrarian streak about a gentle broad.
So far, my batting file has been fairly rattling good, if I’ll say so.
The locations and trendy cultures I used to be instructed are great beacons of freedom I’ve primarily discovered empty husks with out that means. The locations and cultures I’ve been instructed have been backwards or harmful is the place I’ve made my closest pals and met the most real people.
This is a gross simplification in fact. All sorts of people exist in all places, and cultures fluctuate in each place in the world.
But my level is that releasing my thoughts has launched me to so many concepts, people and locations I in any other case by no means would have gone.
I’ve realized to see previous the narratives and meet people one-on-one, as a substitute of seeing them as mere reflections of a group.
As I mentioned, this consists of in some fairly surprising locations, from Palestine to Abkhazia and harmful elements of South America to touring alone via the American Deep South.
My experiences gave me the sturdy impression that we’re typically being lied to and spiritually misled by our media and story-makers.
They inform us that we (proverbially) are higher, safer, saner than they (proverbially). The “good” angd “bad” teams could change, however the primary floating signifier stays the similar.
And it’s bullshit.
When it involves your personal non secular journey, which toxic habits have you ever unknowingly picked up?
Is it the have to be optimistic all the time? Is it a sense of superiority over those that lack non secular consciousness?
Even well-meaning gurus and consultants can get it mistaken.
The result’s that you find yourself reaching the reverse of what you’re looking for. You do extra to hurt your self than to heal.
You could even harm these round you.
In this eye-opening video, the shaman Rudá Iandé explains how so many people fall into the toxic spirituality entice. He himself went via a related expertise at the begin of his journey.
As he mentions in the video, spirituality ought to be about empowering your self. Not suppressing feelings, not judging others, however forming a pure reference to who you might be at your core.
If that is what you’d like to attain, click on right here to observe the free video.
Even when you’re effectively into your non secular journey, it’s by no means too late to unlearn the myths you’ve purchased for reality!
*Names have been modified to guard the security and privateness of my pals on reentering Russia.