A stranger in Moscow


London to Ho Chi Minh by train (and boat!): Day 9.

St Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square, Moscow. The moment we turned the corner and saw this stunning building, all I could think about was Michael Jackson’s Black or White video. I could almost imagine myself joining in with a Russian jig. In the post-cold war 90s, there was hope for a new relationship between Russia and the West, and for some reason this iconic monument seems to take me back to a childhood in which hope reigned unchallenged and governments did all they could to work towards justice and a better world.

Today governments, corporations and oligarchs on both sides continue to pursue their interests – which sometimes align and sometimes don’t. And the people continue their struggle to survive, live and grow in societies that were not built for them but for the leaders whose pockets they fill.

Like in any other city, I’m heartbroken every time I see a homeless person or someone clearly struggling with addiction or mental health without the support they need and deserve. It strips away part of our humanity. It hurts even more when it is in contrast so starkly with obscene wealth – Moscow is definitely one of the most grandiose cities I’ve ever visited.

My hope in our leaders has faded. My hope in the public is also seriously challenged right now. But there are visionaries and artists, philosophers and spiritual leaders who continue to pave the way for justice for both people and planet, just as activists have led every major struggle in history.

(The couple that went out of their way to drive us around town today were definitely part of this movement, as are so many of our dear friends… Grateful for you all…)

The hope that comes from such a movement is way more inspiring and powerful than any hope I felt as a child. Because it’s happening now. And it’s real.

Next stop: Yekaterinburg  — in Moscow, Russia.

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