neljapäev, juuli 24, 2008

só danço samba

The Estonian word for column is often declined as samba, which makes me expect Tom Jobim to spring forth, guitar in hand, anytime the word samba is dropped in Estonian discourse, which, if you haven't noticed, is quite often.

In all honesty, the ongoing and somewhat predictable controversy over the victory column in Tallinn has passed me by. I mean I don't live in Tallinn, and some construction and a large obelisk definitely will not eclipse the roving gangs of inebriated Britishers in search of a late night hamburger in terms of Tallinnese unpleasantness.

I agree that the gentlemen of 1918 deserve an imposing monument that reminds us all that without their sweat and blood this blessed peninsula might have gone the way of Ingria or Karelia. And yet ... the first time I went to Tallinn my naine-to-be and I ate pizza on that hill overlooking Vabaduse Väljak. She told me a story about the 1980 Olympics and I said nothing, as I have no memory of the 1980 Olympics.

If we climb the same hill next summer, our view will be interrupted by what feminist scholars might refer to as a large, white, phallic object with a cross on top of it. Fine. States build monuments; people are resistant to change; I'll always have the memories.

It's a funny thing, too, because I really feel 1918 like only a history-loving weirdo can. What I love about Estonian history is that it is so globalized; there are always so many players, there's always subtlety and intrigue. At various times, the Estonians of 1918 fought alongside Finns, Swedes, Danes, Germans, Brits, and Russians.

Surely, they deserve some attention-grabbing monument in their country's capital. And yet, when people actually build one, I zone out. Maybe it's because I don't live in Tallinn. Or maybe it is because a story will always be more powerful than a monument can ever be.

11 kommentaari:

Bäckman ütles ...

Verbs are conjugated, nouns are declined. And this invitation to samba should have been declined.

Just because it's so costly. And there's some hypocrisy here, too. Some locals did a monument with the exact same iconography at Lihula, and the Parts government sent in bulldozers to remove it.

Unknown ütles ...

To be frank, the hypocricy does not excist here.

Lihula monument was depicted wearing an Iron Cross - without the swastica, mind you, but still clearly a German military decoration, not Estonian one.

I don't mind the monument. It does give out a big "fuck you" to Russia, though, so that's why so many are upset.

AndresS ütles ...

mpechter is right, the timing is off imo. It's been 90 years in the waiting but for some reason the monument has to go up so close to last years troubles.

Also, I just think it's plain ugly.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Verbs are conjugated, nouns are declined. And this invitation to samba should have been declined.

That was the most elegant pun I've read for a long time, thanks.
Of course, since the best that the other side has to offer is that you are a Commie who hates the independence and Vabadussõda and deserves to be sent back to Russia. So the competition is not so tough. Although the not-so-bright-guys are the winners, as usual. I hope they retain their optimism when the cross starts disintegrating or simply turns grey. Or when they see how this thing looks irl.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Russians seem to be just fine with the idea of Vabadusrist. Only the meanest refer to it as the grave cross for Estonian nation. Which is also fine by them. So if the idea was to irritate Russia, then that didn't work, either.

So far, "väljanägemisjoonis" (instead of "detailplaneering" or even "projekti makett") is my favorite neologism coming off the Defense Ministry. Shows their level.

Giustino ütles ...

Verbs are conjugated, nouns are declined. And this invitation to samba should have been declined.

That's midnight blogging for you. Why do I suddenly feel like I am back in Latin class?

LPR ütles ...

To decline to samba IS funny. 1 0 points. This kind of brain dropping is exactly what keeps me coming back to this page (to a great chargin of puu, of course, but hey, eventually we too can make friends. I'll by her a drink next time she hangs out at Fells Point)

martintg ütles ...

It's a pity that the monument design isn't more like this:

Now that's a monument worthy of our war dead, and with an interior space, the ghosts can keep warm in the winter :)

Anonüümne ütles ...

Hirnu, what about your Korean love all alone in Seoul,
heartbroken in the wetspot you created together? What about her feelings... does she not deserve a Natty Boh?

Unknown ütles ...

Talking about the War for Freedom (Vabadussõda) one should remember it was a war against foreign powers, the Soviet Russia and Germany. If Russians have something against our War for Freedom, it must be because they feel ashamed - THEY 1. did not success in creating a country with a democratic government; 2. they betrayed the basic human principles by supporting murderous Soviet powers and not actively confronting it, even when terror and killings reached their villages and swept away their families and neighbors. So, if they have something against it, it must be due to their bad conscience.

Irritating Russia - come on! If a country gets upset and irritated by a perfectly honorable monument, the country hardly deserves to be named a country. At the same time, Russian government keeps talking about Radovan Karadzics, and reminding, that it's Serbia's inner business. Killing some hundreds of thousands of people is an inner business (like the Tchetchen War, I guess...), but removing a statue or building a new one is not... I think, even Russian government can't be so dumb to believe their own words.

You should remember that the monument will be for those young men and women, many of them as young as 14, who of their FREE WILL went to protect their country, though for so many others it seemed an impossible task.

I must admit - I didn't like the design of the monument at all. Anyway, do we need so much monuments? But when I project it in my mind it seems more and more fitting to the surroundings. One thing that clearly does not fit there, is the metallic clock tower, uh so ugly and useless, designed by L. Lapin, one of the biggest critics of the planned monument. There was a plan, that Lapin gets all of the Vabaduse Square area to his hands and gets to design it from A to Z - that plan was introduced in TV in a documentary, and it went down to the toilet. Is that the reason behind his venomous statements? If we'd remove those phallus-like symbols, the Vabaduse Square (Freedom Square) should look much better, and the monument would also fit there better.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I can forgive everybody for digging up my favorite square, only because the archeologists found those neolithic pottery pieces. I mean, that stuff is cool. It means that my ancestors might have lived at the very place 6000 years ago. Guess the cross (and the parking lot, of course) was worth it.