EKRE party, Estonian’s far-right conservative party, in the country’s most recent parliamentary election had a surge in support, taking nearly 18% of the votes.
This may be a victory for the party, but it merely represents a failure concerning many aspects, human rights on the front line. At least, what makes me claim such assertion is the approach that is leading the party: an enmeshment of racism and intolerance.
I ask myself: what kind of opposition is the one that has no trust in the government, and whose main concern is to avoid Estonia from being replaced by foreigners considering migrants the cause for the replacement of indigenous people? EKRE Deputy Chairman Martin Helme was enough clear when declaring “I want Estonia to be Estonian”.
I strongly encourage anyone, Estonian or not, to search for information about those latest events, since I truly believe it is our responsibility to be aware about what is happening in realities not that far away from us and to make considerations upon them.
To me these events serve as reminder that democracy is not an easy process, rather complicated and full of challenges. Is this the face of the new mainstream? Are Estonians really willing to comply with this side of Estonian politics?
Before I have come Estonia, I was given a lot of warnings about how it is difficult to be a student and foreign abroad. I just knew that Estonia is a small European country which is one of the safest and most peaceful countries before coming to Estonia. So this #myestoniatoo protestation is a reaction against people who cannot empathise and tolerate with ‘other people’. Even if people have seen the horrible consequences of intolerance against people throughout history, they still expect the different consequences from their same horrible and nonsense thoughts. Anyone chose their country, nationality, etc. Our choices are about what we do for human beings, world, peace, freedom and other things which make life better. Therefore let Estonia protect from the bad thoughts and actions, keep the big beauty of this small country.
It is impossible to deny that ultra-right movements have been targeted by social movements within Europe. These groups advocate being respected and tolerated, but it is impossible to tolerate intolerance.
Before coming to Estonia I did not think it would be difficult for a student’s life. Estonia is a small country of the European Union, but one that is highly developed, and with an incomparable digital presence.
These far right groups only focus on people’s objective characteristics, such as the nationality and skin color of people to form a society, but my question is should we not focus on the internal characteristics of a person to do so?
A society consists of many individuals who will contribute in different ways, and I believe that it is not possible to judge based on objective characteristics.
Please, do not convert Estonia is a nation of intolerant, we protect the new generations of these totalitarian thoughts, and we continue to grow as people.
“I am [an] honest person. I didn’t do anything bad to my neighbours. I never polluted the River Nile water, I never lied in my life, I never taken what is not mine, I never looked at my neighbour’s wife… “A text written on wall of a temple in Egypt goes back to the pharaonic era. This text goes on and on about citizen duties and freedoms and his/her responsibility towards other peers or the natural resource. These rules and abiding them is the main criteria for being a good citizen or bad citizen to enter heaven or to be thrown in hell.
“The rights, freedoms and duties of all persons and of everyone, as set out in the Constitution, apply equally to citizens of Estonia and to citizens of foreign states and stateless persons in Estonia.” Article 9, Estonian constitution This article is in away or another sums up how I felt about Estonia when I arrived here. I come from Egypt and had left behind in Egypt a substantial amount of fears and concerns regarding my freedom, safety and rights. Coming from a context that doesn’t guarantee you safety or rights if you are a lawful citizen and you abide by the rules. My initial impression when I moved here is that this country guarantee me freedom and rights if I’m accomplishing my duties, if I’m following my ancestors’ commandments I shall be welcomed and integrated. And to be honest my impression was correct till now.
The recent updates though made me concerned about my status as expat in Estonia, I don’t feel welcomed and I’m worried that I’m judged based on my race not my practice. The recent statements by deputy of EKRE and the potential coalition between center party and EKRE makes me concerned and skeptical about my future in Estonia and on which basis I will be treated, would article 9 of the constitution rule or populist discriminatory principles would rule. I believe that what helped Estonia achieve a smooth transformation after soviet era is the respect of individuals rights and freedoms and the culture of acceptance. These elements have achieved prosperity over the last 29 years that would be shameful to waive them to seize power or keep an office.
Studying abroad had always been a dream of mine and same was realised when I was admitted for a master’s program in International Law and Human Rights at the University of Tartu, Estonia which is an affordable top university in Europe. Leaving my family and friends was difficult but I was eager to experience new things and meet new people. Acclimatising took some time but studying and living in Estonia has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I believe in the right of every human being to be treated equally without bias as to race, gender or religion. I know that love knows no colour, gender or religion as I do not feel like a stranger in Estonia because of the friends and colleagues I have. Love conquers all fears and prejudices, gives strength and energy to live and strives for noble goals. Estonia is filled with beautiful and kind people who smile at me and I smile back and this helps me know that the distorted and unsubstantiated views of a select few is not the view of the majority and as a result of this, I can proudly say that this is my Estonia too.
Violet Andrew Saliu
Before race, color, religion etc. we were human first and that should reflect in the way we treat each other. My erstwhile perception living in one of the Baltic states for almost three years changed when I moved to Estonia for studies. For me Estonia felt more like home, as it was more welcoming, beautiful and the people were kind, warm and at least no one interferes in your business, or make you feel unwelcome. However, the recent turn of events because of the statements made by the deputy of EKRE party during an interview about black and most especially Nigerians, makes me wonder if I can still feel the same way I felt in the last few months prior to that moment. Then again, I have had the opportunity to cross parts with some of the most awesome people in Estonia and that alone demonstrates that the assumption of a trivial percent of the population does not reflect the thought of the general populace. To this end, I am human, a woman, a friend and a hardworking colleague, and should not be judge based on race, color or etc. I believe in a world where everyone is equal, free and have access to equal chance at life and opportunity. As a people, we should choose compassion over hate, harmony over disunion and dignity over derision. Without reservation, this is my Estonia too.
Believing that people can be separated on the grounds of nationality, race, ethnicity, language etc. is the biggest mistake that our world can commit, and as we all already know- was committed in the past. There is no such thing like “pure race” or a difference between citizens and foreigners. We are all humans! The humanity has long ago overcome the times when one group of people could live isolated from the others. Now what do we have to do? We do not call ourselves the “people of the 21st century” for nothing. The times we live now are the times of inter-relatedness, cooperation and the will to act for the common good. This is what people always wanted and what we actually deserve- an open world! An open world begins with an open mind!