teisipäev, veebruar 26, 2013

where to?

Ilves: "Today, on the 95th anniversary of Estonia, the thought of independence has, once again, become natural. It neither requires interpretation nor explanation because it is a basic truth. // Standing on this foundation, we compare ourselves to other nations, and no longer to those who used to share our fate, but instead to those whose history and opportunities have, in the meantime, been different. // And this is exactly what it should be like. For we cannot endlessly search the past for the cause of our problems like a former colony that continues to blame it all on some 19th century injustice." Laar: "Right-wing parties have been in power for so long and this is a risk because in politics it is clear that things change because people would like to see new faces. They would like to try something new, new concepts or trends. But this is a luxury that you can afford in a strong democracy. I don’t know if Estonia would survive such experimenting, life will tell." // ERR: "The countrywide survey indicated that 23 percent of decided voters would support the Reform Party if elections were held tomorrow, an increase of three percentage points from last month." // Ilves: "No, I do not consider the current government to be irreplaceable, nor do I consider the way our decisions are made to be the best. Both will inevitably change if only the citizens so wish." // ERR: "The two opposition parties, Center and the Social Democrats continue to lead the polls, each with 26 percent support in February. January's figures were 28 percent for Center and 27 percent for the Soc Dems." // Ilves: "One of the greatest virtues of democracy is the legal transfer of power without the spilling of blood, in which the state continues, and decision-makers change. Democracy teaches us that if one is insensitive or deaf to the murmurings of the people, someone else will soon come to power, already after the next elections." // Laar: "There is a possibility that when people come to power, they will also come to their senses. This is always a possibility and very welcome. But more often than not, it will not happen. Then it will be difficult, especially if you look at promises that have been made in public. When these promises get to be implemented, the consequences will be dire."

23 kommentaari:

Temesta ütles ...

Is Laar aiming for a right-wing dictatorship with himself as head of the state?

Marko ütles ...

Nice collage, what an interesting way to write!

None of the old school heavyweights can't be underestimated. I mean these were the young guys, who presented themselves to the Supreme Soviet and told these guys to go and f#ck themselves. And they not just lived to tell the story, but thry are doing rather well.

I think we should keep the public eye focused on them. But dictatorship in Estonia? No, it's not gonna happen. Kaitse Liit is too pro democracy to allow it to happen.

Marko ütles ...

Actually, Giuostino, maybe you should write about Kaitseliit and what it means to ordinary citizens. We have nothing like that in Britain, maybe just a handful of small organizations in Northern Ireland and Scotland, but nothing too comparable.

I also find that foreign commentators are often unaware of it's psychological role in Estonian society.

Temesta ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Temesta ütles ...

Kaitseliit frightens me. Maybe that´s because the only time I experienced ´xenophobia´ was in front of a Kaitseliit building. Some guy came out from it and when he heard me speaking english with my girlfriend he shouted and made the Nazi salute. Afterwards another Estonian friend told me I shouldn´t care and that Kaitseliit is for fat men who like to drink beer and play soldier. Oh, they also publish scary books.

Marko ütles ...

Oh dear. I actually know quite a few members and they are decent people. Although there are nutters in it, no doubt. But the way I see it, if there is a serious threat within the country, a la a political leader goes nuts, or police goes rougue, they will sort it out.

Did you report this incident to the police? I think you should if you were made feel threatened. Even though it would not classify as a crime, it will go into the statistics and police would already have a note in their file just in case things do take a more sinister turn. That's what I was advised to do, when I experienced something similar in England.

Temesta ütles ...

So they could be useful when Laar´s prophecy (his latest interview in Postimees) about what would happen under a left-wing government would come true. :)
No, I didn´t report it to the police.

Marko ütles ...

Well, Kaitseliit is a bit like a snake without a head. It's formed by the people and for the people. It played big role in the early nineties when the borders didn't hold properly and herds of Russian criminal gangs flooded the towns and the countryside. Thanks to Kaitseliit we are more like Estonia and less like Bulgaria or Lithuania.

Apparently, or as the old wives cossip in the sauna, they wanted to take the streets in 2007 during the Russian riots. Im relieved that they didn't, but im also relieved that there's someone else out there to face violent confrontation when law and order needs to be restored if state's hands are tied.

Laar has a role in Kaitseliit, but he will never command it for his own personal benefit. As most members are former farmers and landowners and he singlehandedly is being considered responsible for putting them out of business through his Thatcherist reforms of mid nineties.

Temesta ütles ...


This blogpost by Jaan Kaplinski reminded me of another thing that Mart Laar said in the Postimees interview. He is strongly opposed to immigrants coming to Estonia and he said something like this, if I translate it correctly:

"Receiving immigrants is like pissing in your pants, at first it is warm and nice, but then it becomes very cold."

I know that this man is very respected in Estonia, but I dislike him. He is the Estonian version of Jean-Marie Le Pen. I have heard from some Estonians that they are proud that extremist parties are not popular in Estonia. They are wrong: the extreme right is a part of the mainstream in Estonia, which is even worse.

Marko ütles ...

Temetsa, I can't believe that I'm stepping up here for Laar, but I think he is not an extremist. Far right extremist in my book is someone who will go further in their policies than the moderate middle. You don't see him harassing people, or putting them down or something. He's an old fashioned conservative with no concept of political correctness. He's one of those guys who speaks bullshit to get a reaction and then candidly thrives in confrontation. He has been prime minister, so he had plenty of chances to fulfil far right agenda - deport foreigners, ban homosexuality, ban abortion, restrict religious freedom (as has happend in Hungary, Lithuania, Poland etc.) - he hasn't done any of that, quite the opposite. That's why he doesn't qualify as a far right extremist.

Laar is just an old fool, who should know better by now. Like a little boy who keeps playing with matches.

Marko ütles ...

Oh, I know what we should do. We should make Mikser the next PM, and we should give the keys to the Ministry of Agriculture to Laar. That would be ironic on so many levels ;)

I can so imagine him walking up to Sven, his hat between his fingers, and gently whispering to Miksers ears: " Põllumajandus on siin liigis täiega pelses. Palun vabandust, almuline hälla". :)

Temesta ütles ...

I go to a bar now. You have some valid points. Maybe I am unfair, maybe not. I will answer later.

Temesta ütles ...

Maybe he is just an old fool but his ideas have an impact on people's lifes. Recently I had a conversation with someone who knows something about the policy of Estonia towards asylum seekers and I remember this:

- Border guards kan decide if people can apply for asylum or not, and they can immediately send them back over the border.
- Only refugees who know what are their rights and can communicate in English, Estonian or Russian can make an application. Otherwise they are not informed about their rights. If you can't communicate with the border guards, it is your problem, no help is provided, you can go back to Russia or wherever you came from.

These are all somewhat unofficial instructions the border guards received from the Estonian government and they are encouraged to send as many people as possible back before they can even enter Estonia.
If they can make an application, the officials who decide are as strict as possible, if you don't have definite proof that you are in danger in your home country, you can just forget about it.

Estonia also has a law that makes it easy to detain people during the application process. The UN has said that these articles violate European and international law.

http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/5124f7b92.html (p. 12)

We are talking about less than 100 people who apply for refugee status every year in Estonia. But still it is seen as a grave danger for the nation. It is just paranoid. Whatever Laar and his friends think about gays or abortion, these are policies that I can only categorize as extreme right.

Marko ütles ...

It maybe different in Belgium, but British border agency goes even further - they opened up a unit on French soil, in Calais, to stop illegal immigrants already in France to keep Britain safe.

I think you are mixing up categories here. Asylum seeker is not someone who starts walking from Afghanistan, goes through 4-5 reasonably civilized states and suddenly asks for asylum in Valga. These are economic migrants, chanchers. Of course they too might have had it tough, but since the law doesn't accomodate their presence on Estonian territory, they'll have to go.

Genuine asylum seekers contact Estonian embassies abroad, or through other Western embassies, and decision will be made promptly and then they are allowed to settle in Estonia, they will even greet them at the border and provide support - money, translators etc.

And I myself remember the time when Estonian borders didn't hold - trust me, you don't want to know what was going on. State has the obligation to keep our streets safe, I applaud any measure that helps to keep us out of harms way. With, or without Laar.

Temesta ütles ...

Belgium receives tens of thousands of asylum seekers each year and they do not apply for refugee status through our embassies in their countries, or maybe only the elite. And I agree that a lot of them come for economic reasons that's why most of them don't get refugee status, but still they must have a fair chance to apply for it and they should not be locked up and treated as criminals during this process. There's a thin line between being a political refugee and an economic refugee. When the war in Afghanistan started, migration from this country to Europe hugely increased, the same for Iraq. Does this happen because suddenly they decide en masse that life in Europe is so good or is it because their country is wrecked by war?

Yes the UK also has detention centres, like many other countries. Detention is allowed under certain circumstances. The problem is that in Estonia the grounds for detention are much wider than is allowed under international law.

And what's that about keeping the streets safe? Would you really say that Estonia has a problem with illegal immigrants swarming into the country and harrassing people? Or do you conflate them with Russian criminal gangs? Yes, Estonia has to protect it's border, but it should do this with respect for human rights.

Marko ütles ...

obviously human rights are a priority, and if some Estonian border guards have violated them they should face the full force of law.

My point was that in past, when we did not have all the right checks and balances in place, an awful lot of abuse of the system took place. Immigration quotas and numbers for asylum seekers, however can and should be debated. I believe Estonia is in a position to provide shelter to genuine refugees ten times over the ccurrent figure.

My family and friends in Estonia take me as I am, worts and all, I have never felt that I should somehow feel bad about myself. But I have been made feel like shit by some Russian mobsters, justifying my lifestyle as if it was me who should have left the country as to suit their "values". No Estonian youths should put up with this nonsense from people who shouldn't even be in this country. And I will fight this corner with every bone in my body.

Immigration is fine and necessary, but we have to make sure that people coming here are the kind of people we actually want and need here. Establishing this can be tricky indeed, as in many ways we have to put our trust in strangers.

Temesta ütles ...

There's a difference between migration policy in general and policy towards refugees. In the former you should indeed look at wat your country needs, but with refugees it's different, you don't take the ones you need (well, actually you could also do that), you take the ones that need your help the most (within reasonable limits).
Ah, and then there's the question about the position of Russian speakers. Can you believe that recently I got into a heated discussion with someone (also a foreigner) about this issue? He argued that the decision of Estonians not to give automatic citizenship to people who migrated to Estonia during the Soviet occupation, was an act of racism. While if I have mixed feelings about the issue, I strongly opposed his opinion and argued that it was a quite pragmatic policy that prevented Estonia from descending into political chaos in the worst case or giving Russia to much leverage in Estonian politics. He compared Estonian attitudes towards Russian speakers with the ideology of the Ku Klux clan. And that wasn't a joke. :)

Marko ütles ...

Oh dear. I'm of slightly different generation, but all my Estonian Russian friends are indeed Estonian citizens and do speak only Estonian to me, just occasionally spicing it up with Russian rude words :). But to me they are like Estonians. That is in Viljandi, of course, in other parts of the country situation might be different. I have no issues with people who are born here but who's parents are foreign. I have issues with some migrants from the former Soviet Union who are difficult for the sake of being difficult, couldn't we just somehow get on?

Oh, and your friend could actually try out to live in some of the places where policies of opposite nature were adopted - Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and then report back to you. That's not a joke either. :)

Marko ütles ...

The fact of the matter remains that in the early 90's assassinations and car bombs were daily news, as compared to the news headlines of today - democratic divisions, high energy prices and the discussions of the best Estonian football player - we have come a long way. There are many factors that influenced this process, but Laar's watertightening the borders definitely added to it. And that's why I think he deserves some sort of recognition. Not everyones cup of tea, but he has done Estonia proud, at least on this minor level.

Mardus ütles ...

There is this thing called carriage return, also known as the "Enter" button, also known as the "Return" button, which should greatly help in separating paragraphs from one another. This in turn should help legibility of your posts.

Mardus ütles ...

@giustino ^ button > key

Mardus ütles ...

I really like the collage, attribution and formatting to separate talking points. Maybe it was meant to be put together like that into one paragraph.

Giustino ütles ...

I thought of it as one burst of thoughts, or a confused man talking to himself.