laupäev, aprill 26, 2008

the ansip malaise

It's springtime in Estonia. The birds and the bees are buzzing in the trees. No longer burdened by lousy weather and darkness, youth congregate on benches, drink in one hand, laptop in the other, to soak in the endless sunlight.

I spent the afternoon at our friends' daughters' fourth birthday party. The backyard was thick with children. There was the birthday girl, Liisa, but also Helena, Marta, Anna, Marta, Krõõt, Minna, Uku, and Kaarel. One young mother of two even had a third on the way. Happy times, and yet a certain unsteadiness hangs in the air.

It's been twenty years since the Singing Revolution, remarked Ott, who was then only 17, but is now 37 with slightly graying temples. As he stood before these happiest of times, he also managed in his infinite wisdom to identify the missing ingredient. The will to act.

This is what is lacking from Estonia right now. The will to identify problems, of which there are a few, host an honest and open debate, and come to some consensus about how to solve those problems. There is a feeling that there is still more to be done, but that no one is willing to do it, and that the political leadership is incapable of acting without self-destructing in the process. The people are getting anxious. Society feels a bit irregular, in the digestive sense.

Minu kallis naine accurately pointed out that the current leadership needs to marinate a little more before its thrown on the grill. I agree.

25 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

I think some of the unsteadiness is accounted for by the fact that on some level people are waiting for the other shoe to fall with regard to fallout from Russia over hr. Pronks.

Giustino ütles ...

Is it possible to institute reform without taking Russia into account? Just asking.

Unknown ütles ...

The Pronks-saga is dead. Yeah, sure Öine Vahtkond gets a bit too much publicity, but that's it. Nobody really cares about it anymore. More people are anxious because the thought of happiness and wealth not coming through loaning still puzzles them a bit. Maybe when that phase goes through, we can really see some work being done in Estonia.

Giustino ütles ...

I agree. Öine Vahtkond seems to exist only for publicity purposes. Maybe Taagepera was right. Ansip had the chance to get some things done, but he blew it on the statue.

Anonüümne ütles ...

shallallaaa, on eesti tütreke vormitud minule, kõik ta parameetrid vastavad mu ihule, shalllalaallaa

Doris ütles ...

And when the political system has sat and marinated with no more major upheavals for about 5 more years I might even consider moving back to Estonia. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my homeland and I very very much like most of the reforms so far but having been the guinea pig for all of my life I'm just to sick and tired of it. I want some boring stability instead of surging ups and downs for a while. I want to know that three months or three years from now nothing major has been changed just because they can. The current quibbles over non-issues are NORMAL. I just hope the situation continues to be normal for a long enough time.

Unknown ütles ...

I have a feeling that what we are seeing now is just a normal phase in the process of getting out of the post-soviet phase. It's like a hangover - last 10 years were quite hard for Estonians, in a economical sense. Last few years we have experienced a growth in welfare and stability. People of my age remember the early 90s, when bombs were exploding on streets (organized crime, racket). They remember shortage of goods and enormous for us these days bills for heating. We have unnoticed moved into a far more stable state of living. In one hand, it's a relief - we have more time to think about solidarity, about democracy, about integration etc. On the other hand - now we also have more time to complain. We have been working our butts off in order to get our children well-fed and now we suddenly don't have to worry every morning about it. We never complained about prices, when Russia turned its gas pipes off and declared - you must pay our price! We were willing to pay it, it was the cost of freedom. We had to work and struggle so hard that we hardly noticed anything else. Now we have time.

Now we suddenly realize that there are a lot of things we could have done better. For a post-soviet society it is hard to coupe with problems like that because people are still having the old habits - they are still waiting for the "government" to do something, to resolve all the problems. They have not fully understood, what it means to live in a democracy and in a society of modern open economics - in order to get something one has to take action. There is no Big Brother out there, taking care of the thinking and decision making.

"Government" can't force people to participate in the society. It can only "suggest" and promote it. It's the thing about integration (lõimumine) - we have come to an end of the first phase of the process, where the government and governmental institutions had to do the work, while people were to busy with keeping themselves alive (I'm exaggerating a little bit, but not much). Governmental institutions can never reach every person and can never come up with personalized solutions or "products". This can only be achieved by the efforts of "simple citizens", the 3rd sector or NGO's.

So, I think, it's all a part of a normal process of getting rid of the past and restructuring our state, not only on levels of economics and financing and political aspects, but also in the society itself, in the minds of people. Maybe it was a bit of a harsh reminder (the last April, I mean) that we are stepping into a new phase, but, well - we are no fortune tellers. The center of the integration process has to be shifted strongly towards NGO's and promote all kind of activity on that level, while the governmental support and programs (developing the education systems, harmonizing the study programs, Estonian language courses) will continue, of course. Juhan Kivirähk agrees with me :).

Anonüümne ütles ...

When Estonia has reached Goodtimesville, it should think about starting to accept immigrants from the Third World. And not just for labour, but asylum-seekers. Otherwise, it won't possibly be able to maintain the "Nordic" image.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Yeah, let's bring in like 500,000 starving bushmen from sub-Saharan Africa and we'll be all Nordic up to our eyeballs.

Giustino ütles ...

Some Turkish food would be appreciated.

Anonüümne ütles ...

But it's our duty.

We'll set aside space for one doner kebap stand -- in the median strip of Taara pst.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Well the immigration topic is in my opinion quite difficult. At the moment we already have enough immigrants to deal with from the soviet times. I ain't saying that all Russians living here should be concidered immigrants but there's enough of them who still haven't blent in. So accepting more immigrants from Africa, Turkey and such countries atleast atm would be difficult for me to accept. I don't have anything against those people and if some of them live here, then it's fine by me but I would like Estonia to be still Estonia in 50 or 100 years not some country where half the population is black/brown. Besides we all have seen/heared what has happened in France and other EU countries where there are a lot of immigrants and I guess nobody wants this shit to start happening here. People should try to make their own homelands better not to run away to other richer countries besides it ain't our fault they have such a shitty life there. I like the saying GIVE A MAN A FISH AND HE WILL EAT FOR A DAY - TEACH THAT MAN TO FISH AND HE WILL EAT FOR A LIFETIME. So IMO rich countries should help those poor ones with financial aid and know-how and not to take so many immigrants in cause then we could just as well make one unified County of the World right now.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Ethnic homogeneity is highly overrated. Estonians better evolve browner skin in any case as I don't think ozone depletion has completely gone away.


In the case of the Mauritanians, I guess you mean, give them Western fishing technology and boats so they can compete with the European pirates who are currently emptying their waters of everything but bait?

Oh, I'm sorry -- send Western consultants so they can set up an NGO that teaches Mauritanians to build better boats.

Mauritanian boat people are a fact of life on Canaries. Maybe every Estonian who take package tour to Gran Canaria should sponsor a refugee for a year if they aren't ready to take them into their neighbourhoods. Just a modest proposal.

I already know what the capitalist response will be -- that the tax at the tourist fish restaurant and hotels they frequent will trickle down to African refugees? Take package tour and all boats will rise?

I'm very skeptical.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I seriously doubt that those Mauritian fishermen want to me here or anywhere cause usually such nature people are attached to their homeland.

The ones that want to move are usually those who have some distorted idealized picture of western life where all people are nice and every day is like living in Disneyland. They hope to get a good job as soon as they get here and expect us to wait for them with our hands open. As all of us know, the life here ain't picture-perfect for all of us and we still have to fight for survival every day but in a different way compared to theirs. And I don't even want to start with the cultural differences and what problems they cause.

And Lembitu, I suggest you to watch some documentaries where the people who want to migrate and those who already have migrated are interviewed so you'd see what they expect to find from Europe and what usually happens to them who finally get here. And although ethnic homogenity might be overrated for you, it ain't for me and I know that most of the people agree with me on that matter. Our ethnicity is the only thing that makes us us and not British or French or Indian or what ever.

Anonüümne ütles ...

"I seriously doubt that those Mauritian fishermen want to MOVE here or anywhere cause usually such nature people are attached to their homeland."

A little typo in the first sentence :P

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

Tellingly, you also confused Mauritania and Mauritius. What is that, 9000 miles difference?

Check patronizing and racist attitudes ("nature people", "brownies") first, then proceed to spell-check.

Anonüümne ütles ...

From the BBC website:

"The UK, France, Sweden and Germany each deal with more than 20,000 asylum requests per year.

At the other end of the scale, Estonia had only five asylum requests in 2006, followed by Latvia with 10."

Hmm, interesting. I knew Estonia wasn't a major magnet for labour migrants, but I didn't also expect such a low number of refugees heading there. So this discussion is academic at this point in time.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Off topic but I wanted to respond to Kristopher:

The world would be a much better place if people wouldn't be offended by some words that 99% of time aren't said because someone wants to offend another person. Why should be calling someone "brownie" concidered more offencive than a dark skinned person calling a caucasian "whitie" ? If I'd go to Africa for example and someone said "look at that white man" or smthing like that, then should I be offended? IMHO ofcourse I shouldn't, I am white so why the hell should I be offended if someone calls me white or whitie. All that stupid political correctness and such false politeness just makes me sick. You have to watch your every word if you don't want to be prosecuted. And Kristopher, if you really think that I said "nature people" because I think less of them or I wanted to offend them then you are mistaken. And to make you happy I'll write it correctly this time (or atleast I hope this is the correct version) - MAURITANIAN.

BTW what would be a "correct", non racist term for such people?

Giustino ütles ...


Anonüümne ütles ...

Well "muulased" can be used for foreign people living here but it would be strange to say muulased about Mauritanian fishermen :P Besides I wanted to know an English term for that. In Estonian there is a word "loodusrahvad" and I thought maybe in English that would be "nature people" or something like that but it turns out I'm a racist bastard for using such word. Maybe "native people" would be more suitable then?

Kristopher ütles ...

I'm not a supporter of political correctness, Kalev.

Believe me, if you had said you hated nature people and thought they should all be placed in the nature oven, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Just as If someone is being obnoxious, I'm all in favour of exercise my right to refer to them as an asshole.

If names were only used to OFFEND people more or less to their face, there wouldn't be a problem.

The problem is exactly with the 99% that you mention. It's a little more sneaky what with all the misattribution and false generalization.

Example: an Ohio farmer in 1951 saying, "I don't want any of those Estonians with their Slavic language and balalaika dancing in my fields."

Next thing you know the town is up at arms over the Estonians and their onion-eating, Cossack-dancing, blue-windowframe-painting ways and sponsorship applications for that town get misplaced.

Giustino ütles ...

It would take an awful lot of Mauritanian fishermen to have any demographic impact on this country.

I think the word you were searching for is 'aboriginal' by the way, though I guess that any word applied to a historically repressed group will have a negative connotation.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Kalev, your words were just and almost well-spoken. Clearly your antagonist was out getting lacquered with Moorish aboriginals earlier in the day. In general, only women and epic characters (and the blogmaster) are to be considered authorities in these matters.

I have seen the future and it is a marvelous one indeed, Estonia, but it is also a cafe au lait coloured future. I have spoken

LPR ütles ...

wow-wow-wow, kristopher, hold it right there, you racist-nationalist-facsit pig! What was that about "their onion-eating, Cossack-dancing, blue-windowframe-painting ways"...

That is sooo hurtful. Especially to those of us who happen to lead eactly this "onion-eating, Cossack-dancing, blue-windowframe-painting" lifestyle.

What next? Are you going to stigmatize people who make love to animals?

Stop it right there you brute! ;-)