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Showing posts from 2010
Right is Right? By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 16th December 2010 "Estonia is too Republican. Young people should be caring and socially orientated, but not here in Estonia." This blunt comment comes from Kadri Simson. I met up with the Riigikogu member and deputy chairman of Keskerakond a little while ago. She seemed very sincere in her beliefs. "Even when George W Bush was highly unpopular all round Europe he was still popular in Estonia," she continued. She was keen to meet me but she seemed to feel that foreign writers in Estonia were all right-wingers who were deceiving the Estonian people. "There is some kind of attitude lower taxes for richer people or bigger benefits for wealthier people is justified are prevalent," she said. "I am also surprised when some foreigners or people from Western Europe, where these attitude are not so strong, are coming here and starting to give additional arguments towards this. "Those people w
Extracts from an interview with women's magazine: Home and Family In Estonian(Eesti keeles) , Published December 2010 Is divorce a solution? Divorce is only a solution when you shouldn't have gotten married in the first place. I can't speak for Estonia, but in my own country, England, I think the time has come to get rid of civil marriages altogether and just have marriages in church, temple or mosques, a holy place. A marriage should be a holy sacrament. Everybody else can have a civil union. People get divorced because marriage is too easy. How do you solve problems in your marriage? The only way you can solve problems is by discussing them. Sometimes you have to accept you can't have your own way. Most men, if they are intelligent, intuitively know they should allow their wives to control them.
Why I write in Estonia By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 06 October 2010 For those of you who don't know who I am, I'm a Black English journalist based here in Tallinn. I have been living in Estonia, writing in Estonian newspapers for almost two years now. I normally write about politics and economics. There are some who say I shouldn't be writing. I knew one young lady, let's call her Liina, who said that it is arrogant of me to write, this is a view shared by many. Most writers get criticised for what they write, I get criticised for writing at all. I think the time has come to knock this on the head once and for all and answer Liina and her kind. Liina and her kind would argue that I'm not Estonian therefore I shouldn't write about Estonia. It's true, that I am not Estonian and I had no profile in Estonia prior to living here. It's also true that I haven't lived here particularly long, though I speak the language only a little, but I can r
to Sotsid aren't freaks By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 26 August 2010 Who'd want to be a Social Democrat right now? According to political analysts they lack leadership, vision and ideas. They even lack respectability. Worse, their own PR makes them look like freaks or perverts. "What connects these three people, Tony Blair, Olof Palme and Tarja Halonen,.... all of them are Social Democrats," shouts their website in their internationally themed banner heading. It's as though their saying to voters. "Look people, it's OK to be one of us, it isn't weird, it isn't kinky, it's perfectly normal!" Some people think gays are perverts. Gay pressure groups use the same tactic. "Elton John, Leonardo Da Vinci and Yukio Mishima. All of them were gay." Quite frankly it would be a happier time for a politician or public figure if they came out as gay. There'd be some acceptance, some understanding, some sympathy even. Once you
Room 101 By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 12 July 2010 In Orwell's 1984, the main protagonist, Winston Smith, is brutally tortured and mercilessly beaten in the Ministry of Love. In the course of his torment he becomes aware from other prisoners that there is a place inside the ministry where something even worse is going on; Room 101. Later he is given the opportunity to ask a question on any subject what so ever, but he doesn't really want the answers to the questions he had been seeking throughout the story, he only wants to know one thing. "What is in Room 101?" In Room 101, it turns out, is the worst thing in the World. It varies from person to person. It could be death by fire, or burial alive. “It is worse than death, it is unendurably”. In Winston's case, for those of as we all know, it is rats. Estonia has it's own Room 101, as any visitor to the country can observe. The notion of national extinction, the fear the nation might die because
Go West, Follow-up article Martinson: in up to 90 percent of business regions, we are in Eastern Europe. Fir st published Postimees 21 June 2010 In risk capitalist Allan Martinson's evaluation, we are for most people, generally, an Eastern European country and to become a Nordic country will take at least a generation. Abdul Turay wrote in today's Postimees an opinion piece that in Europe, Estonia is beginning to be considered separately from the rest of Eastern Europe and is becoming more a part of the Nordic countries. In Martinson's view the firms' structures and ownership relationship are on the one hand structurally Baltic and on the other hand leaning to the side of the Nordic countries. “We have very many important firm still with a Baltic structure. Managers go between Riga, Vilnius, Helsinki or Stockholm. “In economic thinking we are a part of Eastern Europe. In Europe we are to in business regions, as far as 80-90 percent of people are concerned, an
Go West By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 21 June 2010 Some people, when they go abroad, are ashamed to tell people they are Estonian, even when it is clear that the person they are talking to is sophisticated enough to know such a country exists. A person I knew once told me about a girl he met in a wine bar in London. On spotting that she had a slight accent he asked her which country she came from. Instead of saying the specific country, she paused a little and finally said she was from... well..... em......“a country in Northern Europe”. This guy who has pretty good detective skills thought about this for a while and then said without any embellishing remarks: “You must be from Estonia.” This guy described how the girl blushed and looked round uncomfortably, like he had found out a guilty secret. He explained if she were from a “real” Northern European country like Denmark or Sweden she would have said I'm Danish/Swedish end of story. Therefore she must
Go West follow up article Musician Jaan Tätte's view: As far as foreigners are concerned, we are Russian. First published Postimees 21 July 2010 Musician and traveller Jaan Tätte's experience is that foreigners think Estonians are Russians and mostly Estonia has to be introduced via neighbouring countries. In today's Postimees opinion piece Abdul Turay writes that gradually Estonia has started to be separate from other Eastern Europe countries and more and more it is becoming part of the Nordic countries. Postimees asked Tätt what his experience shows. “When I meet with a foreigner and explain where Estonia is located, then we talk at first about Finland and Sweden. Yes And Russia is our neighbour,.... then there is understanding,” he said. The musicians evaluation is foreigners think Estonia is Eastern European. “The more intelligent understand that we want to belong to there the North but actually we belong still to the East,” he said. “For many acquaintance it
The greatest speech of all time. By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 11 May 2010 Think of every great speech from history. They all use parallelism. Think of the beatitudes. All blessed are the meek , All blessed are the peacemakers,All blessed are the poor. Think of Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” speech. Think of Winston Churchill Battle of Britain speech. We shall fight on the beaches, We shall fight on the hill, We shall fight on the landing grounds. Now we have a have candidate for great speech for our age. Andres Mähar, playing a disgruntled losing Unite Estonia candidate, ranting on a roof top and shouting f*** you to everybody; politicians, their supporters, country folk, the Janitor, even himself. The “F*** you (Kai Perse)” speech. “F*** you internet commentators, thanks to you, you can't get your point across without saying f*** you,” he said. Estonia has one underlying political problem. People dislike the government, as they should be after years o
For Europe's sake stop the Tories By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 4 May 2010 One brutal statistic brings home what Estonians really think of Britain. According to the British Office of National Statistics (ONS), more than eight times as many Latvians or 38140 registered workers and almost 13 times as many Lithuanians 57620 have emigrated to Britain in the last five years as have Estonians – 4520. Clearly more than any other country in the region, Estonians don't dig Britain. They don't rate it as a place to live, work and make money; and they don't care about the British election. The challenge therefore is to convince you that this coming election really does matter to Estonia. What many Estonians don't realise is that far from being weak, in decline, with it's glory days behind it, Britain is strong, getting stronger and increasing it's influence in Europe and the World. To find out how and why, read on. The man who becomes the next British Prime Min
The libertarian tradition By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 30 March 2010 “There is nothing nice about the USA. When you go to hospital you have to pay” So sang legendary Scottish punk band the Exploited in their seminal track “F**k the USA” Estonian medical practitioners make the same point albeit rather more tactfully. “In the US people are not even in the health system, it is not working,” Dr Margus Viigimaa, President of the Centre for Cardiology said. He goes on to explain that when the health system in Estonia was set up in the 90s they borrowed ideas for Sweden and Britain but not from the United States. The healthcare debate not only show that Estonia is in many ways a better place to live than the United States. It also shows the people who oppose health care reform, American libertarians, are dangerous not just to Americans but to the Estonia nation. To understand why we have to look at how Americans see themselves and their place in the World. The passage of the
Featured articles City under siege Right is Right? Why I write in Estonia Brave new Estonia Cancel the debt Who's in charge here How the leader of the opposition can bully the PM. The man who annoys Estonians: Q and A with Priit Pullerits Postimees did this in depth interview. Black men, Estonian women the truth An opinion piece. The title is self-explanatory. Pyrrhic Victory About the recent local elections in Estonia. The Sexiest man in Estonia Guess who? The Playboy bunny and foreign policy Laar's Dilemma About the former PM of Estonia. Cult of Youth Why Estonia is run by kids Quiet genius who brought East to the West How the Koran came to be published in Estonia. Bigotry and denial Race relations in the Baltics in particular Lithuania A hard landing indeed Let's eat potato peels Fighting to preserve a Nation's heritage
Brave New Estonia By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 21 February 2010 When my editor called me to write a piece about Estonian Independence day my first thought was: “why me?” I am aware there are a lot of people interested in reading what I have to say about this, that and the other, but surely a big patriotic event like Independence Day is best covered by native writers? But then I realised, everything that can be written about Estonian Independence Day and the new national awakening Estonia currently is going through has already been exhaustively covered. I can imagine the words. “Estonians fought to preserve the nation’s freedom, Estonians must still fight to preserve the nation’s freedom.” What else is there left to say? Well actually looking at it from as an outsider there is quite a lot to say. I can say this with authority. Patriots from other countries envy Estonia. This is an exciting time to be alive and be Estonian. To us outsiders what is going on in Estonia is an
Cancel the debt By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 28 January 2010 I was going to write about something else. In fact I'd already written it and was about to hit the send button, then I read this from American journalist Amy Goodman, who has just come back from Haiti, on her Democracy Now broadcast. “We sat and watched as doctors came from Denver Children’s Hospital performed this amputation that, in most cases, would have been unnecessary if the patient had received care at the beginning. The number of amputations without anaesthesia—now, let’s remember that it’s not only amputations, but it’s all operations.” Reading about people getting their arms and legs hacked off without any anaesthetic makes the subtle manoeuvres of Estonian politicians seem kind of trivial. Estonian politicians are angels compared to another group of people, international bankers. This destroyed nation owes international banks about a billion U.S. dollars. Most of it to the Inter-American Developm