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Estonian Deportations and Dignity

The longer you live in a country the more you understand it.

Since the recent death of Lennart Meri and subsequent digging in Estonian history (nowhere near as much as I would like – time pressure) I am seeing some of the incredible strength and dignity of the Estonian people.

For example, on June 14th in 1941 about 30,000 “Baltic people”, many of them Estonians were deported to Siberian prison camps under the orders of Stalin.

Many died en route or during the many years they were forced to spend there.
Many died of starvation or were shot, most were separated from their families.

It was a terrible crime, a huge human tragedy and I know people personally whose families were involved. Every Estonian knows someone with a “horror story”.

But actually and this is my point, even though there was, and is still, so much obvious pain associated with these events the Estonians were not “destroyed”.

In fact one could argue it has made them even stronger.

When I speak with the Estonians about this sensitive subject their dignity shines through.

Of course there are some people on both sides of the fence who are destined never to learn anything positive from the tragedy of Soviet occupation and the deportations but I am optimistic that as time goes on, and the truth slowly emerges, that the Estonians will emerge stronger and wiser and with a well-earned respect from their new European “neighbours”.

I am not a nationalist but, for what it is worth, I support the move to place a plaque at the European Parliament to draw attention to the many crimes of occupation which have so obviously not been fully explored, reported or punished.

And anyone planning to visit Tallinn should pay a visit to the Museum of Occupations – that’s right, sadly there was more than one occupation 🙁

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