Dick O’Hary. Return to the ancestors
To Live in a Royal Way
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In the previous issue of our magazine, we published the story of an Austrian traveller, publicist, director and actor, Dick O’Hary. The first time, we met at a show in the Russian Cultural Center, where Dick presented the trailer of his documentary film, “Soviet Russia through the Eyes of an American”. The film trailer made a strong impression on the audience and on me, personally, and I wanted to take this opportunity to interview this interesting man, whose veins are bleeding from one of the oldest civilizations on earth.
His incredible power strikes you from the first moments of communication. He writes, travels and takes pictures, all without stopping for a minute. This Master of political science, who speaks eight languages, travels throughout Russia, visits its most remote corners, gets acquainted with traditions and becomes a participant in the oldest rituals and rituals, is an endless fascination.
To learn about how he changed his worldview after travelling to Russia, about the call of ancestors and about the most important thing in the life of every man and man, read the following interview with interest.
I am curious. How did you, the ethnic Indian, ended up in Cyprus?
I wouldn’t call it ended up. It’s just a point in life, I would say. But, you see, for me to decide about where to live is an ideological thing. I decided, when I was a kid, that I would never live in a country that oppresses, colonises or feels superior over other countries! So, I always chose a decent country with decent people and this small island called Cyprus has done no one any harm. So, it fits my ideologyJ
You grew up and studied in America, but decided to move to Europe. How did you make this decision?
Well, being a Native American or even looking ‘native’ in the U.S. is not a good thing or advantage, as lots of people may think. No, it’s actually a huge disadvantage. You would have to confront lots of racism and prejudice. Myself, I was lucky to be adopted at a very young age, so I didn’t really have to go through lots of the misery of the Indians on the reservations. It’s hard for me to live in a country that was built on unjust slavery, stolen land and on the biggest genocide in the history of this planet. Do you know any other race in the world that lives on a reservation, except Indians? The answer is “No” and that simply sticks in my claws…and, that’s why I came to Europe. It wasn’t easy for me because, in Europe, they didn’t recognise my law degree or my Master’s degree for work, but, luckily, I am a basketball player and I started to play professionally. It turned out to be a very good thing, though, because I got to travel everywhere in the world. It gave me a good living and, at the same time, I was totally free…and, so, I kept it that way.
Where did your interest in Russia start?
My father was a very smart and educated man. This is just the truth, regardless of the fact that he was my father. As a tiny little kid, I always heard Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, etc. in our house. I didn’t know what music it was, but it was very familiar and touching for me, somehow. As I started to read (at a very young age), he would give me books about every part of the world…about history, mythology, literature and world explorers, and I loved to read. Reading has opened my horizons on one hand, making me understand lots of things and making me see the whole picture from above, but, on the other hand, it also made me lonely. I couldn’t connect with any kid my age or even much older than me… So, I went on my lonely way. Also, this wide horizon made me sick of the little closed-minded society and made me extremely hungry to travel and see the world. Back to your question, I must say that, from all the literature that I read, from all the different corners of the world, Russian writers touched me the most. The sadness in their hearts touched mine. I felt so touched by the so-called Russian soul. For me, it’s beautiful and genuine, deep and pure. It quenched my heart. I guess I have that much sadness in my heart, as well. That’s when I dreamt about seeing Russia, its people and the culture; to see the places that Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, Gogol and Tolstoy wrote about!
Oliver Stone also sympathises with our country. How do you feel about this figure?
He is a genius. He has always been, when he made features movies and when he turned, now, to documentaries. I have always been a fan of his. He has just two huge problems, though. He has no fear and he tells the truthJ. We really need more guys like him: Smart, fearless and idealistic. Believe me, the world would be a better place! I like that interview that he made with your president very much. They are both very smart and wise and they showed the western world their ignorance, arrogance and their hypocrisy. I think Putin is probably the last real leader in this world; a strong, charismatic man of honour and dignity and, without him, they would have destroyed so many people and countries in this world. I thank him for that. One day, I really wish to meet him personally, too!
What do you think about what is happening in the world in general and in relation to Russia in particular?
We all can see what is happening in the world! Capitalism, if you like, is the destruction of solidarity, has turned us into beasts on the loose. I guess that’s why we are now where we are! I think the main problem is the deadly combination of “greed and ignorance”. It’s a world with totally new so- called values that ignore all values humans knew for thousands of years. That’s about the world. In relation to Russia, I think that the western countries are terrorised by the fact that this great, powerful, and traditional Russia exists! It is a country that doesn’t play the game of hypocrisy and greed with them! They are doing anything they can to undermine it, destabilise it and, hopefully, to see it fall! They are making tons of propaganda against it. In my opinion, I think none of these western countries has a damn right to point a finger against Russia, and that’s for many reasons, but let me mention few of them.
1st: Those countries pointing at Russia colonised and suck the blood out of every non-European nation in the world for hundreds of years (and that’s not just history. It was going on until the 60s and 70s. For example, Namibia got its independence only in 1990).
2nd: They never left any of these countries with their own will or peacefully (locals around the globe fought them and died to be free). Algeria got independence from France only in 1962 (over one million Algerians were kiled in the fight for independence).
3rd: They are the only ones who dropped the bomb (regardless who is good and who is bad, who is wrong and who is right! It’s all relative, and we also know that, unfortunately, winners write the history).
Well, Russia did none of these acts! Not the big bomb, not the genocide of people and not the colonising of the world, so I think there’s not one of these countries who has the moral position to point a finger at Russia! I hope I didn’t get too political.
Your travels to Russia, to the most remote corners, did it affect your perspective?
Travelling in Russia is fascinating, hard sometimes, remote and exhausting, but I must say that it’s very rewarding. First of all, I’ve seen nature like I’ve never seen anywhere else on this planet. Second, the people are so kind and gentle, but, I must say, what fascinated and, somehow, shocked me the most is the harmony that all of those different races in Russia live together with. I lived in western countries all of my life and you won’t believe how much racism I have had to face, directly or indirectly, rude or hidden.We would say that humans are racist by nature, no matter where! That’s true, but…but, I must tell you, in Russia, I’ve seen it the least, felt it the least and sensed it the least. I saw people with all kinds of looks from all different parts of Russia, were all living together without the slightest tension. Behaviours like this in a society show certain characters of its people. It shows understanding, simplicity, compassion, enlighten and self-confidence, among others. It is also extremely safe wherever you go, no matter a big city, a small town or a village! It was, somehow, shocking and I felt sad and angry at the same time about that I’ve heard about Russia in the west. I was nicely surprised and I developed a deep respect for those values and this society. I also wished that many countries in the world would take an example from this!! Still, I am not stupid enough to be that optimistic.
Any memorable moments from your trips around Russia?
I was filming in the Altai. I stayed with my Siberian cameraman on some tourist’s camp, along the riverside. The Altai lady who ran the camp was staring at me all the time, whatever I did, and it made me kind of nervous, somehow, but, in the end, I went to my tent and tried to ignore it. The next morning, while my cameraman and I were having breakfast in the shed of the camp (there were so many Russian tourists around), the Altai lady from the day before came over, stood in front of me holding a wooden map of the Altai in her hand and started to talk to me. She made a speech, which I hardly understood, but my cameraman translated for me!
She said, while everyone in the shed was listening:
“I know you. You lived here thousands of years ago, but they troubled you and you went away; far away. We never saw you no more! But, now you’re back home. I am happy you’re here. You’re my brother and I want to give you the map of your home. Please accept it.”
Then, the lady handed me that wooden small map of the Altai, while everyone was watching! I was so touched that it made my eyes glassy and I really felt that I was home; a feeling that I never felt anywhere else, even in my so-called home country! That day, I couldn’t work with the camera at all… I was lost in my mixed thoughts.
Do you believe that everything in our life is not for nothing and everyone comes here to fulfil his or her mission? What do you see as your mission?
I don’t know if everyone in this world has a mission to fulfil or not! I doubt it, somehow!! It sounds nice and smart, but, sadly, I must say that I see tons of people on this planet who live without a clue or understanding. Anyways, for myself, I don’t see it as a mission. I only see it as a kind of personal task and a way to lead my life. So, I want to stay genuine, straight and stand against injustice, no matter how mighty or powerful the oppressor is, and I’m trying to do that through my movies!
Ancient Indian rituals are of the same nature as shamanic rituals in Russia. What do you think about the resettlement of souls and the fact that, in a past life, you could live in the Siberian part of Russia? What do you think about “the call of ancestors”?
Strange you ask this question because when I went to the Altai region last summer, it was a journey for me to go back to the ancestors. I felt the urge and the need to go there and to start my first movie there! I didn’t really know why! It was unexplainable, even for my own brain, but something was just dragging me there, so I just followed my instincts! Now, I am really glad that I did. It was strange for me to see that the people who might not look physically like the Indians in America nevertheless had their values, feelings and rituals almost the same! So, it was certainly a call from the ancestors.
What should the world be like in an ideal?
Every one of us has a clear idea in his or her mind of how the world should be, even though we are not ideal ourselves! These ideas that we have can vary radically from one to the other, but, at the same time, we have to share the world together! So, I think that having my own ideal vision about the world is already a start of conflict with someone else, in itself! I hope you understand what I mean! So, myself, I don’t have any ideal world, but I believe that humans must act with dignity in general! If they understood that respect should not come only from others, but also (mainly) from within, then they wouldn’t do a lot of the things that they do. We would have more a just and beautiful planet to live on! …
What do you consider important in the life of every person and a man, in particular?
I still believe that living with a code of morals and dignity is the most precious, genuine character a human being can possess. It’s a virtue and a weapon with two blades. On the one hand, it gives you a strong sense of self esteem and self respect and, on the other hand, it makes you shine among others and gain their respect, without even saying a word! Our old people said: “It’s the virtue of all virtues”
What do you think about the future of Europe, Russia and the world, in general?
I am not a fortune teller and I am really glad that I am notJ, but, from the current situation of the world and the facts, you can see that Europe is on the fast way down (Too crowded, too much tense between them). What I see is that Europe is a sinking ship, no matter how hard they try to patch it up! Those countries hated each other for too long and that didn’t change inside their hearts! They just hide it on the outsideJ. I always wonder how this ship called Europe can steer anywhere when every country in it is trying to get the best for itself; only thinking about its own interest and profits! Anyways, they lived too well for too long and, now, it seems like paying time has come. About Russia, I think it is on the way up and I am not saying that to you because you are Russian. No! I’m saying that because it is a fact. Russia is a huge country, territory wise, with huge resources and reserves, and with only half the population of crowded Europe or the US. There is no tension or aggression between races there (as I’ve seen with my own eyes), so the future looks bright for Russia. We must remember that no one stayed on the top forever or on the bottom forever. It’s a wheel turning and “every dog has his day”.
Anyways, I can only say that I see dark clouds hanging on the horizon. I am sorry to draw that picture, but I just can’t lie, be numb or fool myself when the facts are like the sun. From the facts, from the actions and from the dumb leaders who are leading this world, you can see that we are heading towards a huge conflict. We are marching to the high, deadly cliff. What I see, now, brings memories back of sad and ugly pictures of our modern history. More than ever, the world is radically divided, this time into the “West and the Rest”. Hate is overflowing the pot and it seems that we’re waiting for the tiniest excuse to blow it all up! Haven’t we committed this horrible mistake already twice in the last 100 years!! Now, I am silent…I say no more.