teisipäev, juuni 25, 2013


Wouldn't it be an interesting plot twist if Edward Snowden wasn't in Moscow, but instead was already safely in Havana, or Reykjavik, or some other city that disregards the wishes of the US State Department? What I find interesting here in the US, where I am at the moment, is the deep ambivalence most average people seem to feel about Snowden's actions. It's not that they really see Snowden as a champion of transparency {I think most of us thought that the government was collecting such information}. It's that they can't find it within themselves to cheer on the same institutions that are spying on them. No way. At least today, you won't hear a mouth say, 'Go NSA!'

reede, juuni 21, 2013


We have eight passports in our kitchen drawer -- one for me, one for Epp, and two for Marta, two for Anna, and two for Mannu Leenu. Uncle Sam doesn't mind how many passports we have, but according to a 1995 Estonian law, M, A, and ML have to give up their Estonian or American passports upon turning 18. All of us with multinational children in Estonia hope that the government will at last come to its good senses and repeal this law, or at least amend it to allow children born with two nationalities to maintain them. Foreign Minister Paet is in favor of that. So are the Social Democrats and the Centrists. But the conservatives see things differently. When it comes to loving one's country, Interior Minister "Kõva Käe" (Heavy Handed) Ken-Martti Vaher is an ardent monogamist."A quality bond between a person and the state is only possible with one country," says Kõva Käe Ken. "Loyalty conflicts, especially concerning public service and military service, could arise."


I just happened across an ongoing online cartoon strip - Scandinavia and the World - that peddles in the same cheesy jokes about Scandinavians that one can hear on any night of the week in the student clubs in Denmark - "We're like this, they're like that," etc. - Sweden is prudish and Denmark is more laid back and Norway, he just loves nature - Finland is brooding and has a knife, and Iceland is very silly - Estonia has featured in four comic strips since SATW debuted in '09 - in each one, she is portrayed as wanting to get into the club, but being denied - "Oh, no, left out again!" - She has social aspirations, that one - The truth is that most of the Scandinavians are toffs, Dansk, Norsk, Svensk - they think the sun shines from their buttocks - the Light of Lego, the Illumination of Ikea, the Radiance of Rimi ...

teisipäev, juuni 18, 2013

party 'til you puke

When President Ilves called the heads of Estonia's four major parties to Kadriorg for a chat about how their vote rigging and assorted antics were having a deleterious affect on the health of the nation's democracy, one had a glimpse at a stagnant political system dominated by the same revolving cast of musical chairs personalities: Ansip, Savisaar, Reinsalu, Mikser ... The latter two are "newcomers," or at least fresher faces, but those are relative terms when Savikas has been playing the game since the game began, and Unzip's been prime minister since Juhan Parts' government bit the dust eight years ago (it seems like forever ago). Now Ojuland's been booted from Reform, and Reform has recruited Vilja Savisaar (the better looking, more sympathetic Savisaar) to run against her ex-husband for Tallinn mayor, and Laar is flirting with leaving the coalition (but not really, for what could the other government constellation be?) You have to ask, what do any of these people stand for (and did they ever stand for anything other than themselves?) Yes, Ilves is right to counsel the party leaders, but he cannot change the party leaders, or their other candidates, or the parties themselves.

pühapäev, juuni 09, 2013


Remember the woeful tale of the border treaty with Russia? FM Paet flew out to Moscow in '05, came back waving the magic paper to fix the line between the two lands, told newspapers it was a "done deal," but then pesky parliamentarians added a preamble that made reference to another law that referenced the 1920 treaty that established Estonian statehood. Then Putin got wind of it in the Kremlin and he had FM Lavrov bring him the treaty on a platter so that he could retract Russia's signature, using liquid paper I presume (that was before he crumpled it, stomped on it, blew his nose on it, judo chopped it, and threw it in the fireplace). Now the signing of the new treaty is set to occur again (this time, they say, in Tallinn in July), and it seems like there will be no troubling preambles, and Putin can keep his trusty bottle of liquid paper in his desk's top drawer. Lavrov, meantime, can fly in and ride past the inspiring supermarkets that line the road from the airport to the city center and look out on the glorious Hanseatic skyline from the precipice of the Foreign Ministry on Iceland Square and feel deep and bone-aching sorrow for not getting to be the FM of such an awesome country.

kolmapäev, juuni 05, 2013


Has it occurred to any of the hijackers or knifers or hackers or exploding backpackers that the number one killing entity of Muslims worldwide is probably other Muslims? Or do they think it's their exclusive job to kill themselves? How many car bombs have been set off in Iraq's sectarian civil war, hundreds of dead, the perpetrators -- OTHER MUSLIMS. And yet the fists are shaken at drones and stray bullets and Americans and Britons and French, because these legacy colonial administrators have obviously not taken their mandates seriously! There is this tendency among the Left to feel, deep down in the inner lining of their entrails, that while "terrorism" is abhorrent, it is somehow justified (or at least explainable) because of our neocolonial policies. Yet the unenlightened child minds of these exotic lands continue to murder one another, to even eat each other's hearts. Perhaps the schism is not religious or political, therefore, but merely human stupidity, the cancer of all existence, period.

I honestly don't know where I sit in all of this, other than being a bemused nihilistic rambler man. No, Mr. Cameron, your little task force isn't going to solve a thing. Task forces, roundtables. I've got an idea, boys, let's tie it all up in red tape. Stick the failure of multikulti in committee and kill it. As if it was a law! That's what you get when you let lawyers run countries. O, Britain, incubator of sectarian violence. Norsemen and Anglo-Saxons, Romans and Celts, Catholics and Protestants. Everyone's got his own justifying almighty. Here I recall an Estonian newspaperman lamenting EU accession many years ago. "If they let the Muslims in, we're done for," said sad-eyed he. But, Estonian newspaper man, don't you see ... we're already done for.