The latest news shows that Putin’s war has escalated as the Russians have captured several Ukrainian towns and cities and have shelled Europe’s largest power plant and Putin’s frustration with the slow progress has escalated the attacks to a new level.
But besides the unspeakable war crimes on Ukrainian civilians, maternity wards, schools and now attacks on a nuclear facility, Putin is waging another kind of war on his own people in Russia. If news reports are correct, Russia’s president is planning to pass martial law.
This would give his government extraordinary wartime powers enabling them to: turn off gas supplies to Europe (on which it relies for up to 60% of its energy); crush dissent within his own country by ramping up censorship; give the military control over broadcast and printed news; shut borders; detain or arrest foreigners; control food supplies, impose financial restrictions; and much more.
Any federal or local government activities would be kept as a ‘state secret’ and rallies or other protests would be banned.
Even now, we are seeing independent Russian publishers or broadcasters being closed down.
While this can’t be in any way compared to what is being afflicted on the Ukrainians, many of the Russians soldiers – young teenagers who have been unwittingly drafted into what they didn’t realize was an unprovoked invasion, as well as the growing number of Russian dissenters among the people back home – are themselves victims.
Ukraine’s social media has filmed young soldiers claiming they were told they were going to defend the Ukraine only to find that after crossing the border they were fighting against ‘peaceful people defending their territory.’
‘I can tell you one thing,’ a young soldier said, sobbing on the phone to his relatives about the lies he was being told by superiors: ‘Everything they say to us is bullshit.’
It is time for both sides to take a moment to, essentially, pray. That sounds like a fanciful idea – the court of last resort for a desperate people – but maybe it’s more powerful than most tend to think.
Aside from a direct appeal to a higher power, it also has another, untoward effect.
You recall the effect of my Intention Experiment among Arabs and Israelis when a lot of violence was kicking off in Jerusalem at the end of 2017. Anger among these two sworn enemies was running high.
We had the technological capacity to create a two-way communication flow between me sitting in a studio in the UK studio and audiences in nine different locations, so we had Arabs in various cities in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and Tunisia.
The ninth camera was place in an auditorium in Jerusalem, filled with hundreds of Israeli Jews. All nine rooms were displayed on my screen, and my feed was visible to all nine audiences so they could observe me running the experiment.
The technology was interactive; I could call on people from any one of the nine audiences, at which point their screen would be shown to me and the other eight locations, with each group able to speak to me and to the people in the other eight windows.
The entire experiment and its aftermath were also beamed live to other participants from all over the world via my YouTube channel.
‘You have no idea how revolutionary this is,’ one Saudi woman remarked to me. ‘We have never seen Israelis. We’ve been taught to believe that they have horns coming out of their heads.’
Both Arabs and Jews were crying and laughing as they recognized the common humanity in each other. A woman from Abu Dhabi said she had seen visions of Israelis dancing with Palestinians during the experiment.
A woman from Jerusalem described her visions of Israeli soldiers hugging Arabs, and another envisioned a wedding with an Arab man dancing with a Jewish woman. ‘I love you, I love you so much,’ said Fatima from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to the Jews in Jerusalem, blowing them kisses. ‘Your God is my God.’
‘We love you, sister,’ called out people from the Israeli audience.
‘It’s so overwhelming, the possibility of being connected with you, our sisters in Amman and Damascus and in Iran and all over,’ said Lily, speaking for several Israeli women’s peace groups.
‘We are hundreds of thousands of women here, saying “Enough!” It’s a time of compassion. It’s a time of healing. Thank you, dearest sisters, we are one.’
News of the experiment broke immediately all across the Middle East. As Time Out Israel wrote, ‘While peace in the Middle East is neither black nor white, it’s the small efforts like this meditation event that slowly start to make a difference.’
And then there was the reaction of our thousands of participants on YouTube.
‘While I was waiting on YouTube and watching all the people in the chat box send messages of love, peace, healing, etc., I immediately could feel the energy,’ wrote one participant. ‘And to look at the number of people that were just there. And to see where everyone was coming in from across the planet, that was overwhelming just in itself, and I was already crying before we even got to the live feed.’
‘I first started working in that region in Saudi Arabia in 1975, so to hear Arabs from SA send love to Jews in Israel just blew me away,’ wrote another. ‘I am also aware of the restrictive cultures that … exist in the Middle East and thus the courage … exhibited by the Arabs who publicly took part in this intention – that, too, was deeply moving to me.’
‘My entire perception of the people of the Middle East really changed…. We mostly only hear about the violence there, so it truly brought it home to see faces and hear voices of people who care deeply…. And this gave me so much hope, it brought it into reality, beyond just my own hopes and prayers. I felt a part of something much larger, much more powerful than myself.’
‘When you get this opportunity to not only feel like a collective particle but to know on some level that you are one particle of trillions, it changes your perspective on yourself and others.’
Putin can steal many things from the Ukrainians and his own people: their land, their possessions, their freedom, their voice. But what he can never steal are their thoughts and their ability to hold them together.
Intention – a secular form of prayer – has been shown over and over to allow the heart to recognize the common humanity of the other.
And if both sides start praying together, it may well create a connection between the people of these two countries that proves to be the most powerful weapon of all.
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