The event “Russia and Ukraine: Compassion and Healing”, held on March 4, 2023 by the Multiconvergence of Global Networks deeply mobilized the people present. This was MRG’s 15th event. Besides addressing an issue of great urgency for the world, it served to demonstrate that the “Compassion and Healing” methodology is maturing as a post-materialist way of doing politics.
By Débora Nunes and Marcos Arruda
The theatrical interpretation and creative visualization of facts in a meditative mode – in this case the war in Ukraine – foster a sense of empathy and motivate more and more people from different countries and cultures to get involved in MRG meta-network events. This methodology helps participants to go beyond traditional rationality, which separates and distances, and enter a reflective mode that engages the heart.
It thus raises awareness of the complexity of the issue at hand, mobilizes compassion for the various actors involved, and provides greater breadth of thought. This medium also allows one to transcend what would be the two sides of a conflict and thus creates possibilities for understanding and dialogue.
The organizing committee evaluated that the event exceeded expectations, keeping the involvement of the people present in an active way until the end, with the facilitation of Tereza Costa and the support of Luana Azurica in the backstage of Zoom and the competent team of interpreters (PT-ES-IN-FR) coordinated by Martina Arruda. The introductory text (below) read by Marcos Arruda called attention to the complexity of this war that does not boil down to two sides, and to the urgency of ending the armed confrontation and finding a negotiated solution through diplomatic channels in a fair and non-violent way. Then, the voice of Salete Aquino evoked words coming from Syria calling for peace, initiating the call to the hearts of the participants. This introduction was followed by a theater performance, with very touching testimonies that surprised the audience: Kathy Swart, American, expressing her outrage at what she qualified as lies about the war, highlighting, as if it were her own, a majority position in Russia supporting the invasion as a way to defend Russia from the threat of an ever-expanding NATO; Boris Kagarlitsky, Russian, put himself from the dominant point of view in the US and Europe, condemning the Russian offensive and supporting Ukraine and NATO; Nadine Outin, French, expressed the prevailing indignation in Europe against the so-called invasion of Ukraine and support for NATO, but also the revolt of many against the threats made by NATO that lead Russia to defend its security by any means; and finally, Celina Valadez, Mexican, highlighted Ukrainian self-defense by reciting, as if it were her own, a speech by President Zelensky.
The contradictions between nationalities and defended positions, the emotional speech highlighting the complexity of the situation were the basis for the next stage, a meditation guided by Débora Nunes that put people in touch with the heartbreaking feelings of those who are in the battlefield. Using creative visualiwith zation, the audience was placed in the midst of the torment, fear, and human disaster of war through a fictional encounter of a Russian soldier, Bóris, and a Ukrainian soldier, Igor. For each of them Débora evoked a feeling when faced with the complexity of positions in the face of war, demystifying the idea of a war of good versus evil and highlighting the need for immediate dialogue and peace. On the battlefield Igor and Boris know that they have family and friends with positions that contradict what they are doing: there are Russians who cheer for Ukraine to win the war, there are Ukrainians, especially those of Russian culture and speech, who ally themselves with Russia.
Only the “warlords” have one side: they are the producers and sellers of weapons, in search of maximum and immediate profit, the ones who want to extend and perpetuate the war.
The stupidity of the gesture of killing and dying that the participants witnessed evidenced the complexity that belies the majority speeches, making that, in the end, the call for peace comes out of the visceral feeling of defense of Life, and not only of the mind and reason. The final song of the event, “Give peace a chance”, by the Beatles, closed the event in a harmonic way.
In the face of the international dimension of war, of the threat of nuclear drifts that could cause an atomic winter that could make the planet a living hell, a meeting of this kind may seem innocuous to some. But it has the effect of seeds, seemingly small and unprotected, but which are the only way for forests to renew themselves.
This meeting reminds us that we are part of the great human family that shares a planetary citizenship. We share anguishes and fears, and at the same time we nurture hopes for a new consciousness and for relationships of brother/sisterhood and peace. In its unfolding we put, in the immensity of human emotion, a vibration of non-violence, of unity in diversity, and of citizen power. We plant other ways of thinking, feeling, and acting, where compassion and healing are possible and wars become impossible. Let these seeds flourish!
Opening note mrg event Mar/04/23: Russia and Ukraine, Compassion and Healing
We have followed with apprehension, anger and sadness the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine/NATO/USA war. Families see their young people leaving for war on both sides. The war is destroying a beautiful country: lives, the economy, culture and tradition. One year of conflict has already passed.
We know the complexity of the issues involved: the Ukrainian people’s right to freedom; the coup in 2014 that removed elected president Viktor Yanukovych, articulated and funded by the CIA and other Western agencies; the rise of neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine; the issue of Crimea annexed by Russia as an autonomous republic and claimed by Ukraine; the rivalries between antagonistic economic blocs that permeate the conflict, involving Russia, the US, NATO and Europe; the hunger for profits of the large arms manufacturing corporations, such as Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon Technologies, Grumman-Northrop, General Dynamics, Boeing, and the productive and commercial chains of fossil fuels; the explosion of the strategic Nord Stream gas pipelines with denunciation of US and Norwegian involvement, among other previous serious provocations against Russia.
We know how the media and governments lie, repress, manipulate, distort and falsify the information that reaches everyone in various ways and to varying degrees.
We note the insistent refusal by NATO and the US in the face of offers of diplomatic negotiations by Russia, particularly in December 2020, and the provocations by the Ukrainian army that led Russia to claim that its territory was under threat and that the invasion was a defensive action.
We have watched with sadness as Ukrainian families have fled to neighbouring and distant countries, as entire cities have been destroyed, as schools and maternity wards have been bombed, as serious human rights violations have been reported by Russia and Ukraine. We have witnessed Ukraine’s insatiable appeals to the US and its allies for more tanks, ammunition, planes, missiles and money to continue the conflict as well as the inflexible decision of the US and NATO to persist on the path of war and refuse a negotiated solution. Russia, for its part, warns of the risk of a nuclear confrontation, in which there would be only losers. Crises involving other nations would follow, with shortages of food, gas and other important commodities. In this game of chess, the struggle for power, greed and the instinct for survival require understanding the complexity of the challenge of Peace!
Gradually, representatives of countries in Africa, Latin America and the Global South, which includes the impoverished and oppressed populations of the North, have been calling the world’s attention to the urgency of a negotiated solution, not giving in to appeals for arms donations, and emphasizing that pressure for a ceasefire is necessary to allow the start of negotiations through PEACE. China has joined this call in recent days.
This is only one of several wars on the planet right now, but potentially the one that could become a 3rd Great War involving all countries, a war that may have no winners. All this seriously affects, directly or indirectly, all of us citizens of the different nations on Earth. We are talking about the risk of a nuclear conflict that could cause the extinction of a large part of life on Mother Earth!
Considering our experience in previous years at MRG in the exercise of thinking about the constitution of a Parliament of Planetary Citizenship, and considering the gravity of the current moment of our history, we invite you all to an innovative experience, addressing the great complexity of the challenge that humanity lives today, through the voice of the heart and a post-materialist vision of life. Then, together we can feel the pain, sadness and fear, but also, reverberate with the best compassionate and healing energies. This way we can realize how to organize ourselves through our partner networks and as individuals to contribute, strengthen and push for PEACE through dialogue.