Love Zelensky, but don’t hate the Russians – Or anyone else for that matter!
|-Photo: White flowers chamomile garden by Marco Verch under Creative Commons 2.0|
Right now everyone loves Zelensky and the Ukrainians, but please don’t hate the Russians. The Russian people I mean. Feel free to vent your anger at the petty bureaucrats, wherever they may be, the KGB and the warmongers who seek to pit people against one another and hurt a lot of innocent people, but not the people themselves. Ordinary Russians are among the kindest, smartest and most generous people I have met anywhere in my travels.
I’ve been making millet porridge this week because it’s been positively Siberian here. It made me think of the lilac trees all over Irkutsk, of the millet porridge Alexei and his partner made after letting me stay the night in their yurt, of Saddy who introduced me to the joys of Georgian food – that delicious blend of East and West, and some very interesting coffee shops, even though we didn’t have a word in common.
Then there were all the lovely people I met on the trains including the young chess champions and the soldiers who carried my pack for miles trying to find me somewhere to stay. I also think of Lublya, who not only gave me a much -needed bed on a Yenisei Cruise but also her gorgeous red scarf, or the young couple who who shared their food and their rain - jackets with me at the Stolpa -those amazing volcanic cones near Krasnoyarsk.
Not forgetting either, people like Albert and his little family at Tomsk, and Max and his sister Natasha in Irkutsk, who shared their homes with me and showed me around or those like German, Nadia and Tonia who adopted me in Pyatigorsk and treated me to all kinds of delights and all the unnamed people who helped me out wherever I went. All were kind and generous to a fault. Indeed, I remember thinking at the time, we are much more alike than I ever imagined and what a shame it was, that through all the years of the Cold War we’d been taught to fear and distrust anyone from Russia.
The people I met have done more for Russian Tourism than any government approved Tourist Bureau and more for International Peace and Understanding than any gathering of world leaders. As with other wars of recent times, we will never know the truth about this one until it’s much too late - speaking of which -why is Assange still in prison, and not those who incite others to kill each other? Why, at a time when we should all be uniting against our common enemy – Climate Change -which threatens to destroy us all, are we wasting precious resources on this sorry adventure?
Please put all those weapons down and turn them into wind farms.