Pablo Veyrat: You, Estonians, are being lied to about race

What angers me the most about what happened to me last Saturday evening in Tallinn is that it was all a lie. It’s not that the middle-aged swastika-tattooed Estonian man who told my friends and I from his table at a restaurant, “Estonia is for Whites only, go to your country”, didn’t believe in what he said – idiots be idiots everywhere – but the fact that he was echoing a false debate taking place right now among Estonians is worrisome. This lie has a strong potential for harming the country, and something maybe even worse: to make it waste its precious time.

The truth is immigration is not a problem in Estonia. There are barely any economic migrants coming here; it is rather the opposite: Estonians tend to be economic migrants themselves. Neither giving shelter to 150, nor 1,064 poor devils fleeing a war-torn country will turn this country into the deranged fantasies of the new racist party – EKRE – and of other extremely ignorant or extremely cynical individuals. It is enraging to see even ministers using this to try to score populist points putting forward ridiculous laws, such as the proposed pre-emptive ban on burkas, or Kristiina Ojuland talking about “the future of the White race” in deeply concerned terms.

“It feels very strange having to say this in the year 2015, but the colour of your skin doesn’t make you more prone to violence, crime, drug addiction or to burning Estonian flags.”

It feels very strange having to say this in the year 2015, but the colour of your skin doesn’t make you more prone to violence, crime, drug addiction or to burning Estonian flags. The way you are generally treated by the people surrounding you, particularly when you are in a moment of deep need – such as when you have had to leave everything behind and start a new life in a strange country – does. In what is a dark-skinned Estonian different from a white-skinned one exactly? He or she speaks Estonian, probably loves kohuke and kama too, and has been raised on a diet consisting on potatoes and imported Spanish tomatoes in the winter. What is so terrible about this person? Ok, they are black. So what? They don’t look exactly like your grandfather. Big deal. They are Estonians, they feel and think like Estonians, because that’s what they are. Maybe they have some cultural traits they have inherited from their foreign parents, but, for example, since when have Estonians traditionally been so addicted to spicy food or prosecco as they are today? Cultures change, evolve, constantly. There is not such thing as a “pure Estonian” or “pure German” culture. If that’s what you want, you should shut the Internet down immediately.

“What racists are hiding are the millions of immigrants and descendants of immigrants who are perfectly integrated and contribute every day to the success of their countries.”

The preachers of hate, xenophobia and racism in Estonia are scaring you by hand-picking examples of crimes committed by individuals who happened to have a black skin or be Muslim. They speak of Sweden, France, Germany, the UK, as examples of countries ridden by a horrible immigration wave that is suffocating their cultures and economies. Is that so? How are these countries even managing to be so successful and a model for Estonia then? What racists are hiding are the millions of immigrants and descendants of immigrants who are perfectly integrated and contribute every day to the success of their countries.

Yes, each of these countries has made its own mistakes in how they treated the populations they received from their former colonies or from their generous asylum policies. Chiefly among them, they developed at some point in their history racist policies blind to cultural differences that have resulted in the creation of pockets of poverty and crime, due to unequal opportunities because of race. Consciously or unconsciously, they made a problem out of race. Shouldn’t we be profiting from their experience and studying the abundance of lessons they have produced to avoid making the same mistakes? Instead we are being led exactly to the same trap, so we make the same mistake and get the same results. We can be better than that.

“Estonians are moving to other countries and other people are coming to ours.”

Because saying “no” to immigration is not an option. Sooner or later other people come to live by your side, that is how our species is. Estonians are moving to other countries and other people are coming to ours. The main difference between you and those 150 is that they are poor. They are very poor because they have lost everything. And they want to work for a better life. Wouldn’t you want that should you be in their place? Anyone else who tells you stories about loafers and crime empires is either consciously lying to you or being extremely ignorant. While you are busy worrying about keeping out of Estonia 150 people in need, you are not worrying about fighting the inequalities and corruption that keep too many Estonians struggling economically. But, hey, let’s ban the burka.

“Repeating racist ideas without stopping to think has consequences in real life. My sense is that the current public debate is encouraging the racist to behave like such, making Estonia a worse place.”

Repeating racist ideas without stopping to think has consequences in real life. If the debate on immigration hadn’t taken the ridiculous kindergarten turn it has, an idiot with a swastika in his wrist wouldn’t have felt feel bold enough to go to five Spaniards (he had balls, I’ll give him that) in a restaurant and tell them what he did. My sense is that the current public debate is encouraging the racist to behave like such, making Estonia a worse place. And it is so because it seems to me Estonians are not standing up to this nonsense. You are letting the racist get away with racist comments and arguments without telling them that is stupidity and they are idiots. Well, you shouldn’t. The usual indifference is not an option here. When fascists – yes, that’s what they are behind their sensible-sounding arguments about the “survival of the nation” – feel brave to go shouting around, it is usually just the beginning.

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The opinions in this article are those of the author. The article was first published by Pablo Veyrat on his website. Cover photo: a scene from a 2012 Finnish-Australian-German comic science fiction action film “Iron Sky”.

Read also: Sten Hankewitz: Grow up, Estonia.

11 thoughts on “Pablo Veyrat: You, Estonians, are being lied to about race”

  1. What a great article, full of truths that need to be heard. Estonia is a wonderful country, let’s not let a few rotten apples spoil the batch. I agree It is so important to educate the public and that responsibility lands squarely at the feet of government. The government needs to address any incidents of racism and lead by example. Indeed most Estonians find expressions of racism abhorrent, they need encouragement to respond in no uncertain terms that racist behaviour will not be tolerated in a democratic society that aspires to the ideals of equal opportunity for all it’s citizens regardless of their countries of origin. New arrivals have such an enormous contribution to make to the fabric of this small jewel of a country. Estonia may be small but it can be great, so much depends on the intelligence of it’s leaders in this time to be vigilant and not allow close minded thinking to lead it astray.

    1. yeah, lets take ten boat fulls of rotten apples so the few rotten apples wont spoil the batch.
      Stupid idiots.
      No one has anything against immigrants who are NOT MUSLIM
      WE DONT WANT MUSLIM MEN… they are soldiers for the future.
      Google “white genocide” you leftist marksist pices of scum

  2. Hey “Spaniard”,

    I wrote a wall of text, but in the end i deleted it and realised You wouldn’t be open for it. Get over your victim mentality.

  3. You, as a nation

    You, who were not ashamed of the genocide of native americans
    The grandson of slave traders, who never apologized
    The son of colonialists, with no remorse

    Teach these poor people
    Tell them, who never hurt anyone
    How to be polite and not to be racist…

    When you judge a whole nation your nation will be judged.
    When you forget to mention that Estonia has the biggest non-native population in Europe, it seems that you are missing something.

    Yes, estonians maybe are rude and a bit racist, but still no crimes to be ashamed of other than those thought crimes. When Eastern europe was fighting for its freedom against tyranny in the 50’s and 60’s, people in western europe attended human zoos to watch bushman people.

    And now search for “salad slaves” on youtube.

    Regards,

    An immigrant in estonia.

  4. Amazing. And some people already write very personal comments to the author here. A textbook case how not to participate in a debate. Thanks, Pablo! The ones who agree with you (and there are many of those, too) keep agreeing. I am afraid the other half will not change their minds too. When fear is in the game, we are psychologically designed not to listen any rational arguments. It is a completely different part of the brain that works. I hope there will be less fear in Estonia. All afraid creatures can be dangerous 🙁

  5. The truth is: Estonians are not worried (yet, just right now) about their country becoming somehow ‘harmed’ or ‘wasted time’. They go by the first (‘looduslik’) so-to-say ‘natural’ impression. This means: “If I don’t like something right here right now – this is the most important feeling and NO FURTHER debates, thinking, advice, etc, can really change my mind! Not in a foreseen future!
    The REAL TRUE estonian logic is: “I don’t like immigrants. Period. (In fact I don’t like anybody, but at this moment speaking about immigrants – I don’t like immigrants!) Don’t explain me anything else! If it harms my country or ‘wastes time’ somewhere in future – I don’t care! I prefer when you (i.e. EU, the World, – whoever) gives me money, because I suffered a lot in history. You say many estonias flee the country? I – basically – don’t care: it is more space left for me! Remember: you are only allowed and ‘Teretulemused’ (=Welcomed) to come here temporary to spend your money. The more you spend – the better. We will cater you. But eventually (the sooner = the better) you must leave.

  6. This might be true, but as we have seen on other countries all those immigrants have raised their voices, bc they dont get the same lives as those who work for i, and they want it for non working and so on, open your eyes see the both side of the immigartion ..

  7. Well i am good they could come here, but we will not like how they will raise theyr voice and want their right and the same mutch money and what so ever, as a peapol whi have worked for it 10-30 years, and they want it just with weeks,, but still if those immigrants come here and will works for themselfs, it would please my hearth 🙂

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