I originally wrote this article some years ago, entitled How the Internet Enables People to Transcend Political & Cultural Barriers, with the focus being on the multi-cultural collaboration of writing, music, dance, and video that went into producing the included music video (at the bottom of this article); but it was unpublished when I took down my blog for awhile, then rebranded/resurrected it. And now, with the current climate and world events, I decided that it’s still relevant today, only for a different (and obvious) reason, so I thought I’d resurrect it, update it, and republish it under the current title, with a slightly different focus. Enjoy!
Russia is not our enemy.
The Russian people are just people, just as are the American people, and the Ukrainian people, and any other people anywhere else in the world. Everyone has desires and dreams, goals, families & friends, communities, belief systems, jobs, hobbies & pastimes, sports, worries & problems, etc., and just want to live their lives and try to be happy and at least reasonably secure.
This is universal, among all of humanity.
Now, that’s not to say that the Russian government isn’t criminal and evil…though I’d have a hard time believing they’re any more, or even as, criminal and evil as the US government. Or the Ukrainian government, for that matter. But then, ALL governments are evil, being essentially institutionalized violence–violence perpetrated by the majority against the minority, by the powerful against the powerless, by collectives against individuals…and often innocent individuals at that.
But the people in general? I’d say the vast majority are just people, just being themselves, going about their business, living their lives.
Now, enter the internet…
I love how the internet and digital technology is showing us that people, all over the world, are pretty much the same—regardless of what our governments, and their propaganda machines (mainstream media) try to tell us to the contrary, mostly to keep us all divided and fighting amongst ourselves, thus missing who the real enemies are.
As of today the feature video (below), performed by a group of dancers from the Fraules dance centre in Novosibirsk, Siberia (Russia), has accrued over 205 million views on YouTube! They’ve attracted so much attention, in fact, that famed American dancer, actress, and choreographer Danielle Polanco—who has choreographed such greats as Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Chris Brown, and Eve and Estelle—flew over to visit with the young Russian dancers.
In an article published in The Siberian Times, Polanco is reported as saying:
“It is extremely cool here, you’ve done really well…It is much better here than in Moscow. And also the people, they are warmer and friendlier.”
The story line of the video is simple: a few young ladies meet at a quaint little local cocktail bar called “Friends”, in the cold of the Siberian winter—but begin dreaming of summer sun and fun; this simple idea—along with some great music, and spectacular dancing—has helped Yelena and her dance centre achieve growing popularity on YouTube.
The young Yelena said she wants to break the “cold” Siberian stereotype. As she explained to The Siberian Times:
“I think that partially our videos help to break this ‘cold’ stereotype about Siberia. And I love telling people how great life is in Siberia. I love saying I am from Novosibirsk, not from Moscow.”
“People are taken by the energy, rhythm, and beauty of the movements. For some it is the best possible way to keep in shape, because it is not easy to train your body even for an hour. If you enter our classes in winter you’ll feel it’s like being in sauna with all the mirror steamed up and all of us covered in sweat.”
The below video not only helps break the “cold stereotype” of Siberia, but more importantly, offers a wonderful illustration of how today’s internet and digital technology is not only returning power to the people—where it belongs—but also enabling people to transcend political and cultural barriers; here we have Russian dancers from Siberia, dancing to music that strikes me as a Jamaican-hip hop blend (the official music video was actually filmed in Jamaica), called Watch Out for This (Bumaye), a 2013 hit from Major Lazer, an electronic musical project created by American DJ and music producer Diplo, and the entire production published on YouTube for all the world to see and enjoy!
Watch the video below—the dancers, the music, the lyrics—such a fascinating blend of cultures! But notice: though the dancers are Russian, and the video was filmed in Siberia—does it really differ that much from what we would see and hear right here in the US, or anywhere else for that matter? If you didn’t know these girls were Russian, you’d think they were any other girls from the US or UK, or elsewhere. And what’s more, it’s all set to Jamaican-style music produced by an American musician! To me, such cultural blending, afforded by the wonder that is the Internet, is fascinating—and such a beautiful thing!
When more of the world’s populations begin to realize that it’s our governments that keep us all separated—fearing each other, hating each other, fighting each other, all for the purpose of empowering and enriching (shock!) the governments—well, then maybe the people around the world will finally rise up, band together, and rid the world of that particular problem.
Until then, to Yelena and her Siberian dancers: You go girls!
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