esmaspäev, detsember 17, 2007

the auld argument

Crap. I just finished several long days of writing a 12-page foreign analysis paper for school. My chosen topic was to explain why Estonia seeks to integrate with and identify as part of the Nordic community -- I know, how predictable.

Reading through the literature it really brought back splendid memories of arguing over the significance of different periods of submission to foreign powers in Estonia.

But after reading through many sources and weighing those in terms of different IR analysis approaches, I came to the conclusion about arguing the merits of Estonian Nordic affinity is something akin to arguing over astrology -- definitions are highly subjective and there exists no genuine test to say whether someone on the cusp is exhibiting traits more similar to Leo or to Virgo ...

What I did find out though is that the whole discourse has been bogged down in Ilves' Jõulumaa construction of a northern culture of workaholic, joyless alcoholics who like sitting in front of the Internet all day long. People, like me, sitting around trying to convince people that Estonians and Finns have stuff in common.

If anything the reason that the concept hasn't been warmly embraced in Estonia is because Estonians don't really embrace anything. They know who they are-- Estonians, and that's all they know. It took them awhile to warm up to Lutheranism. It took them a long time to figure out they were Estonians. I don't think they ever enjoyed the USSR in any capacity -- maybe the cartoons. And when they joined the EU? Yawn. Estonia is like a little northern island. Who cares what is going on on the other side of the Läänemeri or Peipsi järv? Tantsud Tähtedega is on.

But back to the main point. I discovered the reasoning behind these policies is quite deep. There is the economic factor of attracting investment from the ultra-wealthy Nordic countries. It makes sense to assuage their provincial paranoid selves about investing in the "Wild East."

Then there was the constructionist argument -- that if Russia is going to construct the former-Soviet Union as the "near abroad", then it made sense to construct Estonia as part of the West for security in the widest sense. It was just a post-Cold War region-building exercise.

Finally, the clincher that drives this policy -- Finland and Sweden have stuff and they are right next door. Question: What's the closest foreign capital to Helsinki? Answer: Tallinn. Question, what is the closest foreign capital to Stockholm? Answer: Tallinn. Given that basic geography, the fact that these are all relatively small European states sharing maritime borders -- the lifeblood of Baltic trade -- it kind of makes sense that Estonia might wish to pursue highly-integrated relations with both countries.

But more to the point, which one of those flags is your favorite? I am sort of partial to the one in the third column on the bottom row ... it's quite striking.

24 kommentaari:

Pierre ütles ...

First column, bottom row, IMHO. I have to say that adopting the Scandinavian look adds pizzaz to the Estonian flag. I like it!

Indrek ütles ...

First two columns are too cartoonish...
I would pick the middle one in fourth column (to stress that Estonia and Finland are related), but I think this would cause a negative reaction by Finns. My second favorite is the last row of fourth column.

Trek ütles ...

I think I'm partial to the first row, column 3. Mulle meeldib kuidas sinine ja must värv tulevad valge taustal esile.

Blogaddict ütles ...

Having a black flag would make a kick ass macho statement. Nobody would fuck with the stern looking guys carrying the balck flag with a white cross, eh? Let's have it adopted and ready for next year just in time for pronksmehe commemorative riots that are sure to take place. :-)

Indrek ütles ...

Having a black flag would make a kick ass macho statement. Nobody would fuck with the stern looking guys carrying the balck flag with a white cross, eh? Let's have it adopted and ready for next year just in time for pronksmehe commemorative riots that are sure to take place. :-)

This would be cool :D
Alternatiivne eesti lipp

Flasher T ütles ...

Either first column bottom, or second column third row, for me.

Kristopher ütles ...

I agree with site host -- cross with narrow bands.

Though if you go for the cross with the thick bands, what should also be considered is making them vöökiri. You know, that traditional folk motif on rahvariided etc. Kind of fractal, and traditional at same time.

Something tells me that Nordic cross motif might have something to do with...Christianity or something, so you want to throw a dash of the old time in there.

By the way, why is Tallinn's flag one of the options in the right column?

Trek ütles ...

I really like Indrek's black alternative flag too. I'm just not sure it portrays a peaceful Nordic nation the same way a lighter colored flag would. It sure would look great on a Viking ship heading into battle though!

Max ütles ...

I second Flasher's choices: first column bottom, or second column third row, with slight preference for the latter.

välismaalane ütles ...

Years ago my initial thoughts were that Estonia had missed a trick in not adopting a "Nordic" style flag... but to have changed the flag in '91 would have undermined the argument of legal continuity of the Estonian state. Maybe now is the time to do it. My vote goes to the bottom of the second column (but not if some nazi flags had a black swastika and a white fringe...)

Giustino ütles ...

Is it really possible to change your flag? I know Venezuela does it all the time but, seriously ...

Max ütles ...

Is it really possible to change your flag?

Põhimõttelist küll, as went the refrain in the old Sov-era 'Radio Yerevan' jokes. Seriously, though, the venerable trio of primary colors has already found a variety of rearrangments in various official flags, ensigns and the Estonian Navy's jack. IMHO re-adapting the layout to harmonize with the whole Scando motif has merit.

Not to diminish in the least the importance of the EÜS flag dedication of 1884, but we might recall that it WAS preceded by another design, the sinine-must-roheline, the brainchild of Prof. Köler. This blue-black-green tricolor flew in Kadriorg for three days in June 1880 during the Third National Song Festival...

Max ütles ...

Mea culpa, meo typo!!

That was supposed to be:

Põhimõtteliselt küll...

Anything's possible. Just no superabundance of red, no aggie tools, hammers, or funny fucked-up crosses with twisty ends on 'em...

Pierre ütles ...

"Is it really possible to change your flag?"

Canada changed its flag back in 1964 (or was it 1965?).

Max ütles ...

That's right. The flag popularly known as the Maple Leaf or l'Unifolié made its appearance on Feb.15, 1965, after a ferocious bun-fight in parliament and across the land, strenuously opposed by many (esp. WW1 and WW2 vets who had fought under the Red Ensign bearing a Union Jack in one corner). All sorts of silly designs considered and rejected.

It's universally respected now. Everyone seeems happy with the clean, simple design...

Pierre ütles ...

"It's universally respected now."

... and an important component of every American tourist's travel pack. :-)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6666338/

Max ütles ...

Actually, I meant to write 'universally accepted' (though I suppose it's respected) here in CANADA after all the initial fuss and feathers in the 1960s.
Round-the-world regard for a plain-vanilla flag with a big red tree leaf on it might be an unreal expectation.
;-)

Add to that a big fat rodent as the national animal, and it's pretty bland. Now, if people don't KNOW it's the animal, and are simply told that Canada's national symbol is a BEAVER, well -- they might perk up, and say, "Hey, cool!"

BTW, 'furriners' are onto that maple-leaf-on-the-backpack trick. Figure the bearer for a Yank in drag. Canadians are thinking about sticking the stars and stripes on their own packs. That way real hostile folks will figure them right ripsnorting kamikaze types, too crazy dangerous to bother with...

Seriously, I was oblivious to a small maple leaf logo stitched into the logo on my mountain jacket last time abroad. A couple of people drew it to my attention: 'American?'

'No, Canadian,' quoth I.

'Well, same thing,' was the unemotional response. (One in Frankfurt, another in Helsinki.)

Indrek ütles ...

A couple of people drew it to my attention: 'American?'

'No, Canadian,' quoth I.


Why are Canadians less Americans than USA citizens (also Mexico and the rest of Latin-America)?

If someone asked me if I am an European I would answer "Yes, Estonian" instead of "No, Estonian". Because One is a subset of the other.

Max ütles ...

Indrek,

Because 'American' denotes a citizen of the US. Canucks and Mexicans would answer to 'North American' or 'Norteamericano' as a continental monicker. I was just pointing out that Canada's profile abroad is a lot lower than that of her southern neighbor. Being mistaken for a Yank would not offend any Canadians I know...

Robert ütles ...

i prefer the old flag, tho the crossed ones are cool too. The current tricolor means too much to be changes just to make our country look scandinavian :P We know who we are, we don't need to belong to nordic council to know that we are north europeans.

Max ütles ...

The current tricolor means too much to be changes

For the sake of debate, I said "Põhimõtteliselt küll," but if push came to shove, I'd have to go with you on the old smv/bbw tricolor as well. Some things are just too precious to be elective or negotiable.

lk ütles ...

Estonians might know they are Nordic or northern European, but most of the rest of the world does not.

I believe that was part of the argument a few years ago in the suggestion of adopting a Nordic cross.

Giustino ütles ...

Estonians might know they are Nordic or northern European, but most of the rest of the world does not.

Estonia is in a bit of a gray area. When I was applying for scholarships, awards for "former Soviet Union" did not include Estonia -- because it is in the EU and not part of the CIS.

Awards for "Eastern Europe" similarly did not include Estonia -- because it is northern Europe, as defined by the UN.

Finally, awards for Scandinavia included Finland, because it is a Nordic country, but not Estonia. You could get money to translate Karelian poetry into English, but not Estonian poetry because Estonia is not officially a Nordic country.

So, basically, Estonia did not exist as part of any major regional grouping.

Painter of waves ütles ...

The correct Nordic tricolor look would be column 3 and 4 (aspect ratios 6-1-2-1-12 horizontally and 6-1-2-1-6 vertically). Alas, only Norway and Iceland have three colours, while Denmar, Sweden and Finland all have two colours, making the aspect ratios 6-4-12 and 6-4-6.

However, the Nordic Christian-looking flag is passe. Norwegians turned Christian only by force, it went skin deep and it's peeling off again. New layers of Christian cosmetics is added continuously. It's time to replace all the Nordic flags with something truer to the viking age: Thor's hammer for Norway. (We tend to go to war on the US side all the time, even though we're not officially at war.)