The Sky and Satan

Once, the sky was our salvation. People turned to the sky, pleading for justice. The sky could love — but could also deliver just punishment. People went to the heavens to rest in peace. Wrapping up in clouds like in crystal-clear clothes. Becoming light like feathers. Losing weight; overcoming the force of gravity.

But today, the sky is a danger rather than salvation. It is missiles, not angels, that fly from the sky nowadays. What has been and still is a window into eternity is becoming a window into potential death. And our dead might no longer want to go where gloom is now coming from.

Sometimes, the sky turns away from the earth — it just cannot bear to watch what’s been happening to its sister. It either gets cloudy, hiding from gazes or pushes the clouds away, becoming pure and transparent again. This spring, the sky has been changing too fast. It was restless, just like us.

Something happened to humanity: a symbol of salvation has turned into a source of death. We beg to close what used to be God’s home. There is something satanic in the fact that today the biggest war is the war in the sky, for the sky, with the sky. We look up into its blue flesh, not searching for a falling star but in fear of seeing a missile flying by, cutting through the air — and then cutting people’s lives short.

This war is the war of a global terrorist. Terrorists usually fight against the governments, but the Russian terrorist is a state. Terrorists usually want to overthrow the order of violence, but the Russian terrorist is ordered violence. He wants to conquer our land; he wants to conquer our sky.

He mixes good and evil when trying to conquer our sky, erasing the line between them. He destroys Russian-speaking people ‘to liberate’ them. He commits genocide ‘to prevent’ it. He organizes Nazi crimes ‘to denazify.’ He continues bloody murders of the empire to defeat ‘the Western imperialism.’ He claims that good is evil, and evil is good.

It’s just that Russia lost its capacity to differentiate. Words and things have lost their meanings, torn out of their places. Freedom now means slavery — and the other way round. Tyranny now means democracy — and the other way round. Religion is now whitewashing crimes. Satan has been placed in the sky.

The Russian ‘unlimitedness’ has played a nasty trick on Russia. If there are no limits, things lose clarity, and darkness descends. If you cannot differentiate between yourself and someone else, you can no longer be responsible. You can go and kill others, claiming ‘it’s not me.’ That’s how Russia goes and kills people, claiming again and again that ‘we have been dragged into this war.’ They commit genocide against Ukrainians, claiming again and again that the murders they commit are ‘the genocide of Russians.’ They claim that their war of aggression is the war of ‘Russia’s independence of the West.’ They seize grain and agricultural equipment from farmers in the Kherson region, just as Stalinists did in the early 1930s, organizing a new Holodomor — and all the while claiming that this Holodomor is being organized by the West that buys Ukrainian produce.

Nowadays, Russians do not have a core. One Ukrainian man made the correct diagnosis for them once, even though he sold his soul to the devil for it. Yes, they are dead souls. That’s why Putin is their only core. Almost a hundred million of small, remotely controlled wooden dolls. They will flee from responsibility. They will say, “It’s not me. It’s happening to me.” This war has just happened to me; it just happened to me that I’m killing innocent people; it just happened to me that I raped women. It’s not me — please take pity on me. They gave their conscience away to someone else. They transferred it to an external medium.

But if you transfer your conscience to an external medium, you find yourself on the other side of good and evil. You no longer feel responsible for your actions. A connection between you and your actions is lost. You see yourself as a victim while, in fact, you’re the executioner. You place Satan in the sky.

I do not know how long this might last. How long Satan will keep laughing up there, in the sky. How long we will be standing in this bloody rain. But we will win, no matter what. A country of conscious and free people will surely defeat a country of remotely controlled dolls. A country of dead souls.

The sky will come back one day. And we will look up at it again with hope. We’ll take lessons in peace from it. Listen to its tranquil music. Admire it hovering above us like a huge heavenly whale. And rejoice that Satan has finally fallen into his hell. Forever.

* The Ukrainian version of the text was written for the Kraina Magazine, translated into English for the “Wars.Ukrainians.Humanity.” programme with the author’s consent.

The Sky and Satan-2

Author: Volodymyr Yermolenko, Ukrainian philosopher, writer, translator

Translator: Hanna Leliv

Illustrator: Nastia Haidaienko

Content Editor: Maryna Korchaka

Program Directors: Julia Ovcharenko and Demyan Om Dyakiv Slavitski