teisipäev, mai 22, 2012

maramaa

His master's voice.

Each morning, my daughter and I pass this statue of August Maramaa and his unnamed dog. My daughter is four years old and very curious and she knows that Maramaa is dead, so she always asks me how he died. Maramaa was mayor of Viljandi in the 1920s and 1930s, and had great plans to turn Viljandi into a summer resort, some of which were realized. But, oh, you know the rest. Do I really have to tell you how he met his end? Fine. Maramaa was arrested by the Soviet authorities in 1941 and deported to Siberia, where he died in a prison camp near Kirov, on the day after Christmas.

How to explain this to a four year old? I told her that he was sent to a prison camp far away, to Siberia (the very word sounds remote and ominous, even to a child's ears). "But how did he die?" she inquired. The answer to this question, I honestly do not know. Was it disease? Probably. My impression is that the men in the camps were worked to death, that is that they did not receive adequate nourishment for the work they were assigned to do, and thus quickly dropped, like flies, as they say. Maramaa was 60 years old when he died. A man of that age cannot expect to last very long in a Siberian prison camp in winter.

My poor daughter. She doesn't know who the Soviets were, she knows nothing about class struggle or Nazi racial theories, or Estonia's first president Konstantin Päts, the "father of the nation," the attempted 1934 rightwing coup that led to his rule, and the subsequent liquidation of the state in 1940. How am I supposed to explain any of this to her? Fortunately, she only asked one more question.

"How did the dog die?"

"The dog died happy," I said. "He lived a long, fulfilling life."

"He?" she raised an eyebrow. "Don't you mean she?"

"Yes, I meant she."

"Yeah, I thought it looked more like a girl dog than a boy dog," she said. "I could just tell."

14 kommentaari:

Meelis ütles ...

"1934 rightwing coup that led to his rule and the subsequent liquidation of the state in 1940."
Typical logical fallacy, which is called: Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Giustino ütles ...

Let's see if I can construct a better sentence: the attempted 1934 rightwing coup that led to his rule, and the subsequent liquidation of the state in 1940. Done!

Meelis ütles ...

"and the subsequent liquidation of the state in 1940."
So that events of March 1934 caused Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and Second World War? Really interesting theory.

Liivimaa parim ratsutaja ütles ...

In comparison, did Finland have a democracy that pervented that "subsequent liquidation"?

This phrase is loaded. I wonder if you care to expand on that a little.

Giustino ütles ...

It's a list of things to explain to my child:

She doesn't know who the Soviets were, she knows nothing about class struggle or Nazi racial theories, or Estonia's first president Konstantin Päts, the "father of the nation," the attempted 1934 rightwing coup that led to his rule, and the subsequent liquidation of the state in 1940.

Nazi racial theories also did not cause the "liquidation of the state," nor did "class struggle." I am not trying to make an argument about interwar politics in Northern Europe. It's a post about having to explain very complicated things to a small person.

If you want to have an argument with somebody concerning various theories about why certain things happened in history, you are more than welcome to, but not with me. I am sure there are plenty of "lurkers" who would gladly indulge you.

Giustino ütles ...

This phrase is loaded.

Sure it is. Estonia was in a crisis, probably from 1933 on. One thing did not necessarily lead to another, but a lot of crisis-like events did seem to happen at that time.

Liivimaa parim ratsutaja ütles ...

1920s irrational exuberance ended with the 1930s hangover that led to the 1940s carnage.

Add the Soviets with their supersized human experiment with collectivism and this is what you got - lot's of pets left wondering what happened to their masters.

History never repeats itself, but still ... it is interesting to try to predict what happens next now. Let's see, we just emerged from the multiple bubbles of irrational exuberance of the 00's nursing increasingly painful economic and political hangover. Russia is as paranoid as ever. Middle East is on fire as always ...

Well, it is really hard to predict right now. Just as hard as it would have been in 1932. People always hope for the best and refuse to look at the facts in the eye. By 1938 it should have been clear not to invest in real estate anywhere in Europe.

So let us try again ... Will the first domino to fall now be Israel attacking Iran? Then who takes it from there?


Whatever happens next, it will all sort out around 2020 and this is where we'd all want to be - in the middle of the new era of reconstruction, boom and exuberance. Lot's of happy puppies then.

Marko ütles ...

Interesting topic, Guistino, altough you should remember that Päts is a bit of a dirty word in this part of the country (South-Estonia) and not often mentioned in polite conversations, for reasons you can guess from comments above. At the same time Maramaa is the complete opposite. What a great man! One of the poshest streets in town is named after him (or what used to be a very up-market street, anyways). Oh, and did you know he used to nap on park benches occasionally (!) - nope, he was not homeless, but apparently he had a lot of pride in his town and he just wanted to prove a point that it is absolutely safe to do so. And what I've heard from older people he used to be very friendly, down to earth and a compassionate man. A real peoples politician with great pride and great vision. But that all makes his tragic departure ever more so grotesque and distubing. Just tell your kids the truth, however inconvenient or brutal. We were all whispered it in to our little ears while we were little and I think after the initial shock, you just appreciate Viljandi even more than before. Through his story, the story of Viljandi can be told. It gives the town a face and a soul, if you wish. It brings it to life and it becomes part of you.

Artmmln ütles ...

Sorry but just to be exact: Kirov is not located in Siberia. It's somwhere between Moscow and Ural. But winters are cold there just like in Siberia.

Artmmln ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Kristopher ütles ...

Meelis: Not consequent, subsequent. Subsequent only refers to post hoc, there's no implication of propter.

Anyhow, it's good to remember these things. The deportations, I mean. Meanings of words, too, of course.

Kristopher ütles ...

Meelis: Not consequent, subsequent. Subsequent only refers to post hoc, there's no implication of propter.

Anyhow, it's good to remember these things. The deportations, I mean. Meanings of words, too, of course.

Simo ütles ...

"lurkers"...huh! I resemble that remark.
I'm guessing the respondents don't have kids (children)
Sometimes it's just as hard to explain to an adult as evidenced

Giustino ütles ...

It's a good point about Kirov/Siberia. The sign says that he was deported to Siberia and died in Kirov region. So, somebody made a mistake, I guess.