by William Spencer for the Saker Blog
I am writing this with a few men and women in mind I corresponded with a few months ago overseas, but I’d like to also share this with a wider audience. I am looking for an opportunity to connect with people in far away places even discover a plan that would allow me to live and work among them in their country, and I’m currently learning Russian. Here are my thoughts:
I recently found on thesaker.is, an interview with Maria Butina
http://thesaker.is/vesti-exclusive-first-full-interview-with-maria-butina-after-release-from-horrific-american-gulag/ This is her first public interview in Russia (spoken in Russian) since her release from her 18 month stay in a US prison.
Although I followed Maria’s imprisonment in alternative news and analysis outlets, I was not aware that her Major as a graduate student was in Foreign Relations. Learning this is encouraging, witnessing Butina express a genuine desire to improve relations between Russians and Americans. She spoke very positively about many Americans as friends who support her and disagree with her treatment, but she clarified that the United States has lost it’s justice system. I agree on all of this.
Perhaps most interesting to me was Maria Butina’s observation that in the United States, Russians typically speak critically of Putin and Russia while speaking positively of the United States, and she noted, that she, unlike her Russian compatriots in the US, never spoke negatively about Russia. I go to a church where there are many international people including a significant number of Russians. It has puzzled me to hear them speak of Putin and Russia as oppressive, but it’s starting to now make sense, that perhaps they speak this way to protect themselves from the FBI, the CIA etc., who were key players in Butina’s imprisonment.
If Putin is an autocrat, as so many people here, American and Russian alike, claim, I have yet to see evidence of it, but I am open to seeing legitimate evidence if there is such evidence. Butina described this anti-Russian sentiment among Russians in America as a pressured disposition, and perhaps her refusal to speak negatively about Russia was the reason she was arrested and sentenced to prison.
But Maria Butina’s story is an inspiration, not for the way she was treated, but as an inspiration for the human spirit as demonstrated by her. She has held onto her values and did not let an unjust imprisonment including months of solitary confinement, destroy her. She did not choose to hate the United States even when she could honestly say from personal experience that the US has lost its justice system and has violated her sovereignty as a result.
Each of us has a background, a spiritual perspective that is unique, a cultural background that is unique, a national perspective that is unique, and many other things that are unique to each of us. But we are all people. The vast majority of the people in the world prefer friendship to hostility, distrust and power exploitation. Maria Butina has spoken for more than just regular Russians or even regular Americans. She has spoken for mutual friendship across borders anywhere. Courage like hers is key to forging peaceful development throughout the world.
I am becoming increasingly concerned as an American about the illegal activities of my government at home and abroad, including an unjust prison/judicial system and intelligence agencies that illegally invade upon the privacy of our own citizens at home and illegal involvement in wars with other countries like Ukraine(2014), Serbia(1999 and broader Yugoslavia earlier in the 1990s), Syria (Obama forward) Yemen (Obama forward) only to name a few(Iraq, libya, Sudan, Somalia, Vietnam, Clambodia, Laos, Korea, the Phillipines, Afghanistan(79, 80s, 2001 to present), Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela…etc., etc.).
I talk with people at home, and I am reaching out to some abroad, not mainly to describe the injustices, but more importantly to work on solutions. It starts with a shared value in the human spirit and the sovereign rights of individuals. And then it involves sitting down to talk in a respectful manner that allows for people to have differences in opinion without having to attack each other for our differences in opinion. It also involves envisioning a different future, perhaps working together and living together.
Even though I am 57 and almost 58 my curiosity and passion move me to learn Russian and to see what possibilities there might be for future visits or perhaps even temporary residency living and working in a country like Russia or Belarus. I don’t want to turn on my country, but I want to think outside of the box and I want the freedom to say that my leaders have turned on me and my people and be able to say that without fear of retribution.
We all live under imperfect governments that sometimes may support our effort to draw a common
purpose and sometimes may fight our efforts for such. As always whenever a government genuinely promotes partnerships between different peoples and between countries, without selecting one race or group over another, it usually is a good thing. However, too many times a government has gone to aid a revolution in the name of “human sovereignty” and proved to be motivated instead by power over the country in question with no regard whatsoever to human sovereignty. I already mentioned of few.
And speaking the truth does not imply a lack of patriotism toward one’s country, even if the person is criticizing his/her own country. I find the idea of standing up to power quite chilling, but I don’t know if it can be avoided if I (we) truly want change.
The strategy of the corruptly powerful is to divide us and conquer us. It is to make you and me enemies. By putting us against each other they try to put us up to do their dirty work for them. So I feel it is of utmost importance that we spend time getting to know each other enough to build trust, so we can resist with all of our might ever being turned against each other.
I am an advocate of international exchange and Foreign Relations. I feel that we lack understanding of other people because we lack contact and interaction with other people. I am looking for a way to break out of the American experience for long enough to refresh my perspective on the world. I grow weary of the raised voices and dramatic depictions in daily discourse here. I constantly have to dig deeper to find ideas of value for they are so lacking in the mainstream.
I can be reached at email@example.com