Picture of your rapist in your bedroom

This blog post is aimed at my international friends.

If somebody would rape you, your family, neighbors and other people for years and years, would you keep this person's picture in your bedroom? Even if he once beat up another bad man? I didn't think so. We wouldn't want to see that picture ever.

This is what is going on in Estonia right now. There is (was) a bronze statue erected for Soviet soldiers in Tallinn in 1947 and it was put in the heart of the city. Soviet army occupied Estonia during World War II and the occupation lasted for 50 years. 50 years of rape. 10% of the whole Estonian population was killed and/or sent to concentration camps to Siberia. Would you see why Estonians wouldn't want to have this statue in the heart of their capital? A picture of the rapist in their bedroom?

Ever since there was talk about removing this statue (re-locating it to a military cemetery), it was cause for growing ethnic conflict between Estonians and Russians and a reason for Russia to blame Estonia for being a fascist country.

For Russians the statue symbolizes the Soviet soldiers who died in World War II fighting Nazi Germany. I can understand how this is a noble thing (fighting against Nazi regime), but when one terrorist regime beats the other one, I don't think we should celebrate the first one. It doesn't wash them off of their crimes (whoever doesn't know enough can research the crimes against humanity carried out by the Soviet regime, plenty of information available everywhere).

Ethnic Estonians see the memorial as a symbol of 50 years of Soviet occupation, while Russia considers it a symbol of the fight against Nazism in World War II. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has called the statue an insult to Estonians and "a monument to mass murder".

"In our minds, this soldier stands for deportations and murders, the destruction of our country, not liberation," he said in an interview with the BBC earlier this year. I agree with him whole heartily.

Recently the government of Estonia announced the plans to remove the statue from the city center and put it in a military cemetery, and that set in motion a series of horrendous events.

Yesterday around 1,000 pro-Russian protesters opposed to the statue's removal had gathered in the square in central Tallinn where the authorities had cordoned off the monument to Soviet Red Army soldiers.

It is known that a couple of leaders of Russian youth movements in Estonia had met the ambassador of Russia to Estonia a few days before - my guess is they received instructions from Moscow.

The demonstration was full of provocation and it turned into a six-hour riot and looting spree. The police used water cannon, rubber batons and flash grenades to disperse the crowd and prevent youths from forcing their way through a security cordon.

What followed was just damn horrible - total anarchy. Russians started to smash nearby cars, stoning windows, breaking in to businesses, set newspaper booths and a house on fire. Just for fun. They looted liquor stores (and got drunk), attacked journalists (both Estonian and foreign ones), broke in to a nearby Hugo Boss (to steal suits and jeans), eye wear shop, restaurants and pretty much everything that was on the way. The stealing and maraudering that was going on was crazy... Total havoc and terror. Total damage done yesterday was worth close to 2 million dollars. For what? Most of the people taking part of the vandalizing acts where in their late teens and 20ies, they don't have any close personal connection with the past events, most likely most of them don't know the course of WWII. I am just so surprised how people can be so open for brainwashing, which was done heavily using many different channels. Reading the live commentary of all the horror that is happening is quite terrifying... Can you see how this creates more ethnic conflict and might make Estonians think Russians are a violent bunch, not much improved since WWII? This is what you can read from the comments on internet portals.

The 2-metre (6 1/2 ft) high bronze statue was taken away overnight after the worst violence seen in years in Estonia and its current location is being kept hidden for the sake of peace. I welcome this decision and think it was the one and only thing to do to keep public order.

Now Russia is enraged over this statue and is threatening with diplomatic and economic sanctions, cutting off all ties and some members of the parliament have said they should go to WAR with Estonia. Can you believe this? I can't. I am glad our prime minister has firmly said this is a purely internal matter. Can you imagine any foreign country telling your country which statues you can have where? Especially if the statue is erected for your rapist? And now attacking Estonia because of a statue???

People in Moscow are protesting in front of the Estonian embassy - and demanding an apology from the Estonian nation among other things. Unbelievable... Well, I do think an apology is in order, but it should be for all the occupation and massacres Soviet regime did.

Russia had ca 20 media channels present during the riots, forwarding extremely biased information and are now trying very hard to make Estonia look bad in front of the international audience, trying to portray Estonia as a fascist country. This leaves me baffled. Why such hostility and anger? Why not even trying to understand? How in the hell can you accuse Estonia as being fascist? They are missing the point, so far off... it only goes on to prove how a big country chauvinism can blind you and see only what you want to see.

And its not like the statue is being destroyed and the soldiers buried under it dumped in the sea. The statue will be just moved to a different place and soldiers re-buried with dignity and according to international law (Russia was offered to send an observer to the re-burial to make sure they are also satisfied, the proposal was rejected).

How did this stupid, stupid thing get so big? How can people be so emotional over something and lose rational thinking?

You can check out what international press is writing about it as well:
http://www.afp.com/english/news/stories/070427093324.p19r7xy4.html
http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKL2754678920070427
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6598269.stm

You can see videos and pictures here: http://www.delfi.ee/news/paevauudised/eesti/article.php?id=15694269

The trouble isn't over, there a big gangs of hundreds of Russians and now also Estonians in the city and there is a chance of fights happening...

I just wanted to let you know and let you know what is happening before you hear it through a Russian news agency. I am happy to talk to anyone about it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kas siis kuidagi ei saa levitada meie seisukohta, et see on mälestusmärk okupeerijatele ja vahet pole, kas need olid saklased või nõukogude armee. Kas venemaa tahab enda territooriumile mälestsmärki SS-i võitlejatele, kes hukkusid teises maailmasõjas?
Lühifilmi (animatsiooni) stsenaarium:
Kaks kõrvuti asetsevat maja, ekraanile ilmub "1940"* Suuremast majast loivab välja punatähte rinnus kandev kuju, kes suundub väiksemasse majja ja koputab selle uksele. Uks avatakse ja külaline lastakse sisse. Külaline vaatab toas jultunult ringi, möliseb midagi majaelanikega ja rebib seinalt maha perekonda kujutava pildi ning otsib tagataskust välja suhteliselt väikese ja kortsunud pildi endast, mille ühtlasi seinale riputab. Kui üks pereliikmetest selle vast protestib, saab ta vastu lõugu. Kohe aga tormavad sisse haakristidega vennad, kes punatähemehe välja viskavad, ise peremehetsema hakkavad ja punatähemehe pildi asemele enda oma paigutavad. Siseneb punatähemees koos kaaskonnaga, ühiselt (koos majalistega) visatakse haakristikandjad välja. Punatähemees vaatab hapu näoga seinal olevat pilti, rebib selle maha ja kleebib asemele suure pildi endast. Üks sissetungijatest läheb majaperemehe juurde, vaatab himuralt selle saapaid, annab siis peremehele vastu lõugu ja tirib saapad jalast. Sündmuspaika tormab punatähega pealik, annab oma vandaalitsenud kaaslasele koslepi - majaperemees rõõmustab, kahjuks enneaegselt, sest punane pealik haarab saapad ja topib need hoopis endale jalga. Järgnevad pildid, kus osa anastatud majalistest saadetakse naabri aeda tööle, osa rühmab kodus, töötavad ka mõned punatähemehega kaasa tulnud tegelased. Punatähemees aga laiab, lagastab ja peremehetseb igal mõeldaval viisil. Naabermaja aias surevad osa sinna tööleviidutest. Ekraanil jooksevad numbrid, kuni 1987 alustavad anastatud streiki, on näha plakatit, mis kujutab filmi alul majas seinalt maharebitud pilti perekonnast. Ekraanil jooksevad 1991-1994, punatähega pealik ja osa kaasatulnuid lahkub tagasi oma majja ja aeda, osa jääb paigale ja tundub koos mahajääjatega rõõmustavat. Ekraanil 2007, toas käib suurem seletamine - pererahvas tahab punatimuka kolletuvat pilti tahatuppa tõsta ja enda oma selle asemele, kuid mahajäänud pisikesed punased kaitsevad seda rinnaga ja sõimavad majaperemeest ja teisi elanikke fashistideks.


* Vägede varajasema sissetoomisega ei hakka asja keeruliseks ajama, küll aga võib baaside lepingu lõputiitrites ära mainida.

Seif said...

Peep, i would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the estonian government that despite all the threats and sanctions done by the russians on estonia, they still succeeded to remove the statue from its place . This is what should have happened since the beginning. I ahope all the damage effected in tallin will be recovered ..

Augusto said...

Peep, unfortunately the statue is only the top of the iceberg, and although I totally agree with all your comments in the blog I must also say that the problem lays on the Russian integration in Estonia and it seemed to me (during my year in Estonia) that not big efforts have been done(and definitely no results achieved) by the Estonian government. I guess such integration is not easy considering the histocial background, but the same way the Russian should not be brainwashed by their media, so Estonians should understand that not all russian are communist that want to invade and control your lives. Maybe it's just a matter of time and the recent history of Estonia still burns too much, but on the other hand an effort must be done by both sides... In Italy we still have Fascists and Germans are still called Nazists from some stupid people...

Peep said...

Thanks for your support, Seif.

Augusto - I agree with you that integration has failed in large part. Tough subject, especially now when ethnic conflict is at its highest following the independence movement late 80s and early 90s. I don't see any easy solutions, but increased focus on this issue is imperative indeed.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that Soviets facilitated ethnic cleansing during the Soviet Rule and were barbaric.

But, that does not mean that Estonians should do the same with the Russians. In what age are we living?

One of the EU’s many accomplishments in facilitating NATO expansion has been to ignore its own laws. Currently it is condoning a form of ethnic cleansing against Russian speakers in Estonia. Just as it turned a blind eye to punitive language laws in Latvia.

As Amnesty International explains, in EU Estonia today, every third person is a potential victim of discrimination. http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR510052006

I totally agree with your blog post. You are not wrong in anyway at all. But, you also need to reflect on the opposite side.

Peep said...

Ethnic cleansing in Estonia? What the hell are you talking about? This can't be further from the truth.

I support the language laws and there is nothing discriminatory about it. In France you need to speak french, in Germany german and so on.

As for the Amnesty link, then thats bullshit and the world knows it. For instance check out the Economist:

http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_RQPNRDR&CFID=1638189&CFTOKEN=29507714

Augusto said...

It urges to me to support Peep in saying that there is NO ethinic cleaning in Estonia towards russian. Please do not confuse lack of integration with ethinic cleaning!! As netiher Estonian nor Russian, I've lived in Estonia for a year and I'm just trying to bring in an objective point of view. Estonian is still in the process to afferm its culture and therefore pushing for Estonian things to come up (language, culture, dances and so on). Each country must preserve their own culture which does not mean to discriminate for what is different, on the contrary that must be accepted and integrated... and beauty must be found in diversity!