For Ukraine, One Year Later: A Song and a Conversation

February 24, 2023 was the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Of course you could say the invasion began in 2014 when the Russians illegally invaded and stole Crimea from Ukraine. This was after the Budapest Memorandum, in which the US and Russia declared that the current (as of 1994) boundaries of Ukraine were inviolable—if the Ukrainians would give up their nuclear weapons. At that time, Ukraine had more nuclear weapons than Russia! The Ukrainians gave up their nukes, and Russia invaded anyway. 

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded again. They thought it would be over in about three days. But the Ukrainians fought back. I have Ukrainian friends, and I get first-hand accounts of what is happening in Ukraine. I also have Russian friends; one of them is a brilliant and soulful individual who left Russia because he could no longer tolerate living under the rule of Vladimir Putin. 

Putin & the Politics

For some reason, Putin’s invasion hit me right in the gut and the heart. In my lifetime, I have never seen a military operation or invasion that was completely unjustified. The Ukrainians were no threat to Russia and had no plans to invade Russia. They were just part of Vladimir Putin’s dream to rebuild the Russian Empire to the extent of the former Soviet Union’s empire. Putin has been very clear about his intentions to regain and rebuild the new Russian Empire—and whoever gets in his way will be rolled over and destroyed. As we can see in the conduct of this war, the majority of their rockets, bombs, and artillery are targeted to destroy civilians and civilian infrastructure in order to make the pain of resisting so great that the people will surrender. 

If Putin is allowed to conquer and annex Ukraine, or set up a puppet government, he will continue to invade his peaceful neighbors. Vladimir has several excuses for this war: one of the first ones, which was absolutely ridiculous, was to save the Ukrainians from their homegrown Nazis. Were there neo-Nazis in Ukraine? Yes, there were. There are also neo-Nazis in Germany, France, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Perhaps that sick minority of people will always be around, or at least in the near future. But that is the price of democracy, the good and the bad. To claim that the Ukrainian government is being ruled by Nazis…well, ask their Jewish president Zelensky if this is so! 

One of Putin’s other big excuses is that he felt threatened by NATO. NATO is a purely defensive organization and has never invaded anyone. And why does NATO exist? Formerly, it was to protect Free Europe from the Soviet juggernaut, and currently it is to protect Europe from Putin’s insane ambitions. The Soviet Union eventually collapsed, due partially to the corrupt inefficiency of the communist regime and also the USSR’s attempt to keep up with and outspend the U.S. militarily. Well, history sometimes seems to repeat itself: same ambitions, same threat. 

Two of the consequences of Putin’s invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine were that it unified the NATO members in Europe like never before, pushing both Sweden and Finland to join this protective, defensive alliance. Beyond that, and perhaps most poignantly, are the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been lost in this war. That is blood on the snow! The slaughter and rape of innocent civilians!

The Song: Ukraine!

The pain of this realization led me to do a number of things to support the courageous Ukrainian people. And out of my own interior struggle with sorrow and outrage came a song: Ukraine! I had not written a song in many years and this song felt like a truly wondrous creative rebirth for myself as a songwriter and musician. 

This is the second version of the song, which I recorded in a studio near where I live. The rhythm guitar, drums, and bass are from the first take with a talented group of musicians who joined to support this. The lead guitar is me, and this is the first time I’ve been recorded playing lead guitar. I started practicing playing lead guitar when I was 50 years old to see if, with the help of practice and iAwake’s creativity-enhancing tracks, an old dog could indeed learn new tricks. The vocals are all mine, and my wife Pam added the feminine voice. It was added thanks to my assistant Heidi’s observation that it felt too masculine. Thanks, Heidi!

The song Ukraine! is an outcry against the injustice of this war and its war crimes. But most of all, it’s to express my deep admiration for the Ukrainian people. They have shown us in the often cynical West that there are things worth fighting for, things worth dying for—and therefore, things worth living for. I tried to put into my guitar playing, vocals, and lyrics, the passion, the hurt, and the courage that the Ukrainian nation has demonstrated to the world. No matter what sophisticated political science nonsense people come up with to justify this bloody invasion that focuses on civilians as its target, the Ukrainians have shown us that this is their country and they are not going to run or surrender. 

May this song, which came from the heart of the Ukrainian people through my heart, reach your heart. 

→ Listen Now: Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube Music | Amazon Music | Pandora (U.S. Only)

Watch the official music video of Ukraine! below directed by Anna Parapan.

The Conversation: Ukraine, One Year Later

The Ukraine! song is also played in our Deep Transformation podcast Ukraine, One Year Later: Finding Meaning, Purpose & Ways to Contribute Amidst the Hell of War

The podcast conversation with Dr. Kateryna Yasko and Vytautus Bučiūnas in commemoration of the anniversary of Russia’s invasion was an extraordinary experience for me. Again, it was one of those Deep Transformation events that all who have been a part of this, both as producers and audience, have experienced—in the midst of our metacrisis, war, and suffering, we are finding the light of God. 

This episode, Ukraine, One Year Later, gives a first-hand account of what is going on in Ukraine and what it’s like to hear the air raid alarms and move to underground shelters as explosions shake your city, Kyiv. What I find really amazing about this conversation is that after a year of war, Kateryna and Vytautas, as well as their countrymen, are inspired and getting stronger. What an example to the rest of us! At the end of the conversation, the song Ukraine! is played, and you can listen to it with me, Kateryna, and Vytautas. It’s a very powerful and poignant moment. 

→ Listen Now: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music

You can also watch the full video podcast episode on YouTube: Ukraine, One Year Later

This blog is also a cry for help—below are some links to trustworthy organizations where you can send your financial love and support. These organizations are doing a great deal of good on the ground in Ukraine and come recommended by Dr. Kateryna Yasko.

Trustable charities working hard in support of Ukraine

  • United24, the official fundraising platform of Ukraine initiated by President Zelenskyy, founded to protect, save, and rebuild Ukraine:
  • The Foundation for Competent Assistance to the Army, “Come Back Alive,” has launched a fundraiser to purchase equipment that will help the Ukrainian military defeat the occupiers in cyberspace:
  • Serhiy Prytula’s Foundation is a charitable organization with both a military headquarters focused on supporting the Ukrainian army, and a humanitarian headquarters  providing assistance to civilians in the occupied territories:
  • Folk High School. We encourage you to support the first Ukrainian Folk High School, “Vovchok,” created by a Ukrainian integral practitioner, civic activist, teacher, and rescuer, Serhiy Chumachenko. This is a school for adult people from the Chernihiv region that allows them to pursue lifelong education with a special focus on training in tactical medicine. Trainers and students of the school support Ukrainian civilians and military in getting pre-medical assistance and medical kits necessary for urgent help. You can donate here.

P.S. If you would like to purchase the song, it would be a big help. All the proceeds are committed to the Ukrainian people. Also, feel free to share this song or use it in any way that is helpful for the cause.

John Dupuy CEO iAwake Technologies

John Dupuy is the CEO of iAwake Technologies, co-host of the podcast Deep Transformation: Self-Society-Spirit, and author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction. John travels internationally to teach and inspire on the subjects of Integral Transformative Practice and the use of brainwave entrainment technology to deepen one’s meditation practice and in the treatment of addiction, depression, and PTSD.

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