BETWEEN THE EAST AND WEST

In the essay "The Gordian Knot" (1953) Ernst Jünger carefully distinguishes between the East and West as the geographic and historical, spiritual notions or two kinds of the human attitude with the shifting demarcation line: in the ancient times the coastline of the Ionian sea and cities like Alexandria belonged to Europe; in the middle ages the majority of Balkans was a part of Asia; after they were conquered by Turks, Constantinople became the last fortress of Europe in the oriental space; today the Mayor of Istanbul Gökay says that Turkey is the last stronghold of Europe. This proves, goes on to say Jünger, that it's mind that sets the borders. So it's not true that he reduced the East to Asia, as Julius Evola observed in the critical review of this essay.



Jünger used the term "Asian" interchangeably with "Eastern" on purpose, because he wanted to describe the difference between freedom and despotism, the law and the arbitrary claims to absolute power, respect and disrespect for human. Thus he considered Russia European only in times of both Alexanders, as well as Elizabeth and Catherine, but not in times of Stalin. As the birthplace of the world revolution, Russia is Asian. For this reason German soldiers before the retreat defaced the graves in which their comrades were buried to prevent exhuming the corpses, robbing their uniforms or discovering the reconnaissance data by the Russian partisans. Another example of the Asian Bolshevik attitude is the mass grave of Polish officers in Katyn. Similar features, though, Jünger found in Hitler's regime, and some liberals even accused Jünger of trying to whitewash Europe by portraying some National Socialist crimes as "Asian" manifestations. It also makes one think of Ernst Nolte's historical observation, according to which namely the need to fight against Bolshevism made NS more Bolshevik itself and thus more Asian.

Anyway, it means that the difference is not between the peoples, nations and religions, although Jünger admitted that Islamic and Judaic imagery contain especially cruel scenes unknown to Europe, and the attacks of Huns, Mongols, Tatars, later Turks, since the times of Herodotus were perceived as natural disasters, flood or epidemy, and lasted for centuries after that. Why am I writing it instead of my thesis as declared? Because, as compared to these invasions, "conservative vs. liberal mores" largely become a domestic problem, and no matter how many idealists are attracted to such formations as ISIS, burning a hostage alive in a cage is the worst embodiment of the Asian brutality, so a mushroom cloud over that place would not be that unfair. Anyone who wants to relativize these two kinds of attitudes by referring to the variety of cultures, nations and traditions or the complexities of geopolitics, stay away from our lands.

In different periods of history the question of the demarcation line between the West and East arises anew, says Jünger, and today the closest to Ukraine and Europe Asian enemy, unfortunatly, is not ISIS, but the terrorists from "DNR" who to a great extent consist of the Caucasian people and act quite similarly. Sudden terroristic act in France helps Europeans understand us better. Just a day ago we said a last goodbye to Isa Munaev, a double hero of the Chechen and Ukrainian war who took our side in the joint anti-imperialist struggle against the Russian Federation and its Kadyrov's mercenaries, his personal enemies, but this man earned fame of a gentleman and left a civilized comfortable life in the EU to fight in our war. His attitude is European as compared to those savages from ISIS or DNR. In Jünger's words: "The Gordian knot should be interpreted as the vital question; it ties itself over and over again the same as the question is constantly posed anew. Alexander's sword appears in a new light, enlightenment in a higher, solar sense, the doubt, spiritual power. It does not matter that it's the sword: the myths are full of images in which the early encounter of substance and spirit is described. The arms of the great conqueror, Hercules' bow, Perseus' shield, and Sigurd's sword are the signs of light. The double symmetry of the spirit is reflected in them, whereas in the webs, labyrinths, and serpent's bodies appears the symmetry of the vegetative system." Therefore, we need Alexander the Great who will be able to cut the gordian knot of the West and East today, even though each time it costs a lot of blood. Otherwise, Europe will perish.

By Olena Semenyaka

Ukrainian Crusade

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