Another Apocalypse? Already?!

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.




I always try to remain hopeful.

‘Optimism,’ on the other hand, has been pretty scarce in my view of the world for the past half-dozen years. In today’s missive, I am choosing to be optimistic and imagine that the world is going to survive the present crisis, i.e., our present threat of WW3 and possible nuclear annihilation.

Obviously, if Russian soldiers simply turned around and went back to their homes right now, it would be better for nearly everyone. However, I am not overly optimistic on that. 


Another Apocalypse? Wait. Didn’t we just have one?

Well, you may recall that I described the Covid-19 pandemic as an Apocalypse (for instance: Covid-19 Apocalypse? and Easter Apocalypse). In March of 2020 I wrote:

Apocalypse‘ is a Greek word meaning “revelation,” an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling.

Apocalyptic literature is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture [cf. Daniel] and was popular among early Christians [cf.Revelation“].

Actually, the “could not be known apart from the unveiling” part requires some nuancing. Our problems are both known (e.g., racism, both structural and enacted forms, gets swept under the rug) and not-known (e.g., racism lives in our shadow, i.e., in our systems and in our unconscious bias and so forth). The Apocalyptic revelation penetrates both.
As we said, the pandemic exposed many of the human problems that we’ve swept under the rug and kept out of sight and mind. Well, the response in the West to Vladimir Putin’s criminal aggression against Ukraine has similarly exposed some troublesome aspects of ourselves and some very difficult things we’ve failed to deal with that keep coming up in different forms and contexts. 
Today, I am not going to invite you to consider different sources and link you to them. Today, I am simply going to describe the news that has been entering into my contemplative practice. If you’re inspired to seek more information about things mentioned here, please come back to leave a comment under this post and share what you find. 

Three forms, one root

Ukrainian “neo-Nazis”

Part of Putin’s rationale is his claim that he is protecting Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the Donbas region from genocide at the hands of “neo-Nazi” Ukrainians. The media generally dismisses this as absurd, and correctly so. However, the fact that Putin drastically exaggerates and even misuses the term ‘Nazi’ does not reduce the fact that Eastern Europe is one of the most xenophobic regions on earth. It’s not controversial to state that plainly, and yet, it appears that the U.S. media would like to overlook the entire problem.
Could this tendency to sweep the issue of Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” under the rug simply be a reflection of America’s resistance/refusal (i.e., DiAngelo’s “fragility”) to do the hard work of recognizing, repenting of, and repairing the deep wounds of our own racism that traces to our nation’s very beginnings?
The Ukrainian group that gets the most attention in this vein is the “Azov Battalion.” This right-wing militia group is roughly comparable to America’s “Proud Boys,” just different expressions of the same unholy us/them purity ideology. Do we resist facing Ukraine’s problem of having, and having to handle, extreme-right groups because it reminds us of our own long list of unfinished work on the issue of racial justice in America? It’s an Apocalyptic revelation, because it is able to penetrate both our willful ignorance and our hidden shadows. 

Yemen (and Afghanistan)

All wars produce atrocities. It’s safe to say we’re much quicker to see the atrocities committed by our enemies like Putin than those of “friends” we support, like Saudi Arabia that regularly commits horrendous atrocities in Yemen. Or, even U.S. atrocities.
And, how about the U.S. betrayal of Afghani colleagues whom we left behind to the Taliban? We’d like to forget about doing that. 

“Build that wall!”

How far removed is the sentiment that drives “build that wall” from the shining brilliance of the way Eastern Europe has opened its arms and cared for Ukrainian neighbors in their time of need/despair? Their response has been brilliant in reaching-out to neighbors who look like themselves. However, in truth, it was far easier for the U.S. to truly see ourselves in the xenophobic responses that much of Eastern Europe expressed earlier toward Syrian refugees who suffered similarly, but looked and prayed differently; so, yeah. I imagine the suffering of those who have come to the U.S.’s southern border as refugees is insufficient when compared to Ukrainian refugees. What?!

. ,

In all three cases the problem is with the people who aren’t us . . . i.e., “they don’t look European.” 


Apocalyptic revelation — the West’s care for Ukrainian refugees has been brilliant and hopeful. However, it painfully exposes our Janus-like nature and the difficult racial justice work that we in the West have avoided/left-undone for far too long.

This side of nuclear annihilation, it matters.



Next week: War like never before. [this post ~825 words (3 min. read)]


Your thoughts? 



2 thoughts on “Another Apocalypse? Already?!

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