pühapäev, august 13, 2006

Shades of Stonewall

On hot evenings in late June 1969, a cozy corner of the West Village in New York City turned into a riot zone. On the evening of June 28th a routine police raid on a bar known as a hang out for gays and lesbians turned into a violent fight between the police and the the patrons of the bar, the Stonewall Inn. In total it is estimated that 2,000 gay people did battle with 400 police officers in what became known as the Stonewall Riots.

The great "awakening" that shook the US and Western Europe - and other parts of the democratic world in the 1960s and 70s happened at a time when the economies of the communist countries - still licking their wounds of Stalinist mass murder - began to stagnate. When stronger Russification policies were introduced in the Baltics in the early- to mid-1970s, they fomented an awakening of a different kind - a nationalist reawakening, which culminated with Singing Revolution and Baltic Chain in the late 80s. Estonia didn't have a youth awakening like America's 1960s youth awakening. Estonia had its own, different nationalist awakening - not unlike the rise of Solidarnos in Poland or the 1968 uprising in Prague.

Now that Estonia is part of the "West," the movements of the the personal awakening of the 1960s and 70s are spreading their global movements into previously closed territories. Hence, Tallinn Pride 2006. It should have gone well, but it ended up with a bunch of skinheads throwing stones, rocks, and eggs at innocent people.

Coming from the epicenter of the modern gay rights movement, I can say that gay people don't march because they are soliciting new recruits into some perverted same-sex sex land. They march because they are a tiny minority, engulfed by straight people. They are horribly alone in the world. When I walk into a room filled with women, it is hypothetically possible that there is a romatic encounter lurking in every one of their jeans. I'm a heterosexual male. But for them, they must find company in special bars, and deal with the scrutiny of people that cannot understand something they probably had a hard time coming to grips with themselves. They are different and controversial. That's why they reach out in Tallinn and Riga and Warsaw. Because they know that there are young people there that need to not feel alone and not feel scared. To feel tolerated and accepted.

Enter the Skinheads. Tallinn has a skinhead problem. It's not the only country in Europe that has one. There are plenty of skinheads in Berlin and elsewhere. So it's not just an "East European problem" (sorry). Fortunately, problems in Estonia are not those of immense size. There are perhaps less than fifty active skinheads in Tallinn out of a city of 350,000 or so people. However, they are organized and they know how to stir shit up. Because their ideology is nihilistic, destruction to them is an ideal. In their perverse universe, they'd rather see the Estonian forests burn than have a 60-year-old statue to dead communist soldiers in central Tallinn. And they'd rather pelt innocent people with eggs and rocks than accept the sexuality of their fellow Estonians and allow them to walk down the street holding signs.

Estonians are cool to these marches. Tallinn is a quiet northern city. It hums, but it makes little noise. So the idea of dozens of lesbians, gays, and especially transgendered people marching down its quiet streets might not make the old ladies of Estonia particularly happy. Still, Estonia puts up with its share of bothersome intruders for the sake of welcoming tourists and their dollars. It puts up with drunk Brits - among the most vile of creatures - fondling its daughters at their Tallinn "stag" parties. It puts up with haughty Finns loading up on cases of Saku so they can go home and get drunk in the quiet of their Helsinki apartments. It puts up with some members of the Russian minority who display and honor the flag of the nation that killed their best writers, intellectuals, and plucked their family trees bare.

But gays? Holding signs? Is that too much for Estonia to bear? Give me a break. Get a life. Get over it. I understand that Stonewall did not happen in Tallinn. I understand that there was no Estonian Woodstock or No Nukes movement. But Tallinn has proven it is a tolerant town. And the only people it has to blame for this latest disturbance are about 30 to 50 shaven clowns.

Estonia is a democracy. And in Estonia you can be a skinhead. You can be a curmudgeonly bitter old communist. But you can't burn down forests. And you can't vandalize monuments to the dead. And you cannot assault your fellow Estonians just because you don't like what they stand for.

15 kommentaari:

An Angry Estonian ütles ...

Shut your mouth, you dirty liar! You know perfectly well that the threat to burn down Estonian forests was not real. It was probably made by some Soviet shithead in order to discredit the nationalists. Most of the homosexual exhibitionists parading in Tallinn were not even Estonian citizens. They were from Italy, France, Spain, Finland, and other foreign countries. You may be a supporter of the gay international but, pleaaase, stop spreading lieas about Estonians.

Giustino ütles ...

I started this blog because I identify with Estonian nationalists. My wife is from Estonia, my daughter is half Estonian, and it is my hope that Estonia will remain on the right path after a black past.

But I don't see how shaving ones head and throwing rocks and sticks and eggs at other people - whether they are Estonian or not - does anyone any good.

It's assault. It's against the law - whether you accept homosexuality or not. The point of this post is that a small cadre of skinheads are using these opportunities to hurt people and physically intimidate others.

Unless the law (or hopefully not ) other people come down on those that do assault other people, they will continue to be a black mark on Estonian society. They will continue to contribute to an unhealthy Estonian society. And that is, ultimately not in the interest of any patrotically-minded Estonian nationalist.

Sky ütles ...

I dont appreciate people who use "glory holes" as a form of entertainment. I dont appreciate that AIDS hasnt taught them a lesson yet, and so they continue to infect themselves and others. I dont appreciate them in my face with their perversion peddling. What they do in the privacy of their homes is their business, but dont expect me to approve of it. These people are out of control, and all the countries of the world that grant approval to them will fall... just like all past nations have.

Eppppp ütles ...

Giustino, I think you have captured very well the essence of being gay... why do they need these clubs? Because they are lonely and their choises are limited. They needs people, like we all need...
Ok, that is about clubs and organizations.
But.

Why do they need to parade?
Honestly: I dont know. I dont undesrtand it fully.
It looks a little like a role game: "we are gay people, we have to parade", "we are skinhead, we have to protest against it". Whats the name of the game? Democracy. I guess Im so tolerant that I tolerate both groups. Hypothethically.

But! the the very first stone crosses the line.
When people are throwing stones to other people?! Even eggs could still be the part of the same democracy game (for me). But stones... How can you take a stone and throw it to the other human being, what is your excuse?
"They are not Estonian citizens?" No comments...

Im shocked and ashamed by the todays news.

eppppp ütles ...

and sry for typos.

T! ütles ...

@ "an angry estonian": wow...your opinion...well, you seem to be a really angry man / woman (I don't know)...hmm,"Most of the homosexual exhibitionists parading in Tallinn were not even Estonian citizens" right, because Estonians aren't gay, right?. Because all that damn gay thing is brought into Estonia from Western European Countries,right???...poor Guy, I am sorry for you.
@sky:" I dont appreciate that AIDS hasnt taught them a lesson yet, and so they continue to infect themselves and others" hmm, isn't Estonia with the highest HIV infection rate within Europe and thats because of the Gay's here???(and as the angry person said they are not even Estonians). Well, I guess you know the posters in the bus stops, around 2 infections per day or something, I can hardly see a gay couple on that picture...ahh, right the HIV infection in Estonia is because of the Russian minortity in the east of Estonia, who are drug addictives and f***** around like rabbits...right, it's so good to have someone else to blame...
Well, you Guys will not appreciate my opinion: First of all I am a foreigner and I dare to have my own opinion about the Estonian culture and you know what, I am a straight person but I also like it to visit the cafe Angel's just because it's a nice location and I don't give a s*** whether there are straight or gay people...And the reason why here something happened like the gay pride is just because that the gay minority still has to hide themself, still feels disrespected and as long as they will feel this way as long they will march and you know what, next time I should go the parade, should take my Estonian football scarf and will spend them my applause for trying to bring more tolerance here...

Luarvik ütles ...

I'm apalled and ashamed by what happened at the parade on Saturday. I never thought it would actually go as far as cracking someone's head (head of a French citizen, mind you) open with a bat. There was I thinking to myself that, cool - noone seems to particularily care this year. Not many articles in the press, everyone's laid back and cool about the parade. Good stuff. I also hear that a lot of the skinheads bussed themselvs over to Tallinn from Latvia. It's amazing how much bitterness and anger there is out there.

Velirand ütles ...

"ahh, right the HIV infection in Estonia is because of the Russian minortity in the east of Estonia"
Yes, thats right. HIV in spreaded mostly within etnic Russians, because there are many injectig drug-users among them. There are nearly not at all injecting drug-users among ethnic Estonians

lounamaa ütles ...

Nothing like a pro-gay post to attract a bunch of narrow-minded jerkoffs to your blog and spark off a delfiesque hatefest.

Giustino ütles ...

Nothing like a pro-gay post to attract a bunch of narrow-minded jerkoffs to your blog and spark off a delfiesque hatefest.

But of course. :)

Giustino ütles ...

I dont appreciate people who use "glory holes" as a form of entertainment.

Eh, straight people go to glory holes too. I've seen it happen on the Internet, though I'll let you find your own link ;)

Giustino ütles ...

Why do they need to parade?
Honestly: I dont know. I dont undesrtand it fully.
It looks a little like a role game: "we are gay people, we have to parade", "we are skinhead, we have to protest against it". Whats the name of the game? Democracy. I guess Im so tolerant that I tolerate both groups. Hypothethically.


I am unsure of the why. My guess is that it is to familiarize people with their sexuality and not make it such a shadowy, hidden subject.

Giustino ütles ...

...ahh, right the HIV infection in Estonia is because of the Russian minortity in the east of Estonia, who are drug addictives and f***** around like rabbits...right, it's so good to have someone else to blame...

I think that most of the HIV
infections are not due to 'fucking', but are due to sharing needles.

The current epidemic started in the St Petersburg area in 2000ish and spread to the Narva-Ida Virumaa region.

That being said, I don't think Estonians - or Europeans in general - are the greatest practitioners of 'safe sex.' So it has spread fairly easily in that context.

The connection between unemployment and drug use is not coincidental. But is the Narva problem really the result of bad state management in that case?

When it comes to the problems in Ida Virumaa the bad state actor was pretty obviously the Soviet Union. If you think about it this way - in about 1940 Narva's population was around 40,000 (if that). By 1989 it had ballooned to more than 80,000. Since 1989 it has fallen to 68,000.

Locations can foster organic population growth or decline. USSR population transfer, however, encouraged inorganic population growth.

That's why these areas are the hardest hit by HIV and unemployment. They just cannot support X amount of people. The population there will continue to shrink until it finds balance. Until then, people will continue to suffer the affects of poulation transfer and communist economic central planning.

Arkadi Zuk ütles ...

Estonian skinheads do not fighting only with homosexuals. They have also slogan -"All 3 niggers out of Estonia"

Anonüümne ütles ...

uhke loom:
You're so correct. If you see someone with dark-colored skin on Tallinn's streets, then he's either a tourist or a local celebrity.