Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bigmouth Goes On Striking

Yesterday was the birthday of Morrissey, and I went to a really nice Morrissey birthday party in Stockholm. DJ played only Morrissey and The Smiths... And the crowd was crazy, singing along and dancing all over the place. Lovely, lovely event... Another sign that the world is not moving towards doomsday. Not yet, but who knows... So don't be a lazy sunbather, do something to make this world a better place! At least try to be gentle and kind in this otherwise often very cruel world...

Some photos from the party can be found on my Latvian blog page.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Touch Me (Not)

I have nothing against close body contact. Hugging, kissing, you name it. It's a nice way to show your affection for another human being.

It is not so nice though when close body contact means being searched by security personnel at the airport.

I was going to take the plane from Riga to Stockholm, it's a flight that takes just some 40 minutes. If anybody wants to blow up any plane, I think this one would be the last option. And me? Did I have any of what those anti-terror warriors call signal elements? Hmm. Was it my blue jeans, my newly acquired Brainstorm t-shirt, or perhaps Gucci glasses? I have no clue. The fact is that after entering the security check area (and by the way, I was the only passenger there at the moment) and calmly walking through the metal detector, I was called aside to be searched. Hands up, and I had to experience finger gliding all over my body, at one point almost touching my balls. Disgusting.

I thought that confiscating my hair spray (it was bigger than 100ml, and the fact that the bottle was almost empty was ignored by the security personnel) on the way from Stockholm to Riga was enough. Apparently it wasn't.

So you see, there is a reason why I hate flying and prefer taking train or bus. Unfortunately, it's not always possible. Therefore now and then I am forced to enter an airport - which is undoubtedly a mystical place, since just by entering the building you automatically lose a part of your human dignity. Go there, stand behind the line, take off your belt, show your passport, drink your water here or we will take it from you, etc etc ad nauseum.

Am I mad? No, I just want to keep a bit of privacy and secrecy. The absence of secrecy is a totalitarian society. And I still have some hope that we are on the way towards something better, not falling back to repetition of yesterday's mistakes.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Take Care of Yourself

"Take care!" How many times have I said this when leaving or written at the bottom of letters... But not often I have thought about it in the meaning that Viktor Tsoy entailed in his song Следи за собой (Take Care of Yourself). Curiously enough, he himself died in a car-crash in my homecountry Latvia... And the final album of his band which features Следи за собой was released posthumously.

You can listen to it on his band's Myspace site. Here are the lyrics translated to English...

Today they say "Goodbye" to someone,
Tomorrow they will say "Farewell, forever"
And the wound in your heart bleeds profusely.
Tomorrow someone returns home,
Only to stand upon the ruins of their own city.
And someone will fall from the top of a crane...

So take care of yourself... Be careful...

Tomorrow morning, someone lying in bed
Will realize that there's no cure for his sickness,
Someone leaving home will get into a car accident.
Tomorrow, somewhere in a hospital
The hand of a young surgeon will slip.
Someone walking in the woods will fall into a mine...

So take care of yourself... Be careful...

Tonight an airplane flies above us,
Tomorrow it will crash into the ocean
And all the passengers will die...
Tomorrow, somewhere, who knows where?
There will be war, an epidemic, a huge blizzard...
And black holes in the vastness of space...

So watch out for yourself, Be careful...

Integration Problem in Latvia

Finally somebody said it. Latvian politicians live in their own world, disconnected from society they are supposed to rule. Integrate them, now!!!

What kind of integration can we brag about, if even the government has problems to integrate in Latvian society? Therefore we have society not with two communities, but with three communities, the third one being the ruling class.
(Newspaper DIENA)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Swedish Comment on Tallin and Moscow Incidents

Swedish minister for foreign affairs comments after the latest developments...

Sovereign states have the right to take sovereign decisions about where to place their statues and memorial signs. This is what Estonia has done.

Sovereign states have the responsibility to respect international rules regarding international contacts. This is what Russia has not done.

With all this said, it should be added that we all probably have the responsibility to treat European history with a dose of carefullness, and try to show mutual respect.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Estonian Lesson about Historical Symbols

Riots in Tallin. Who has not heard about them by now? One must be deaf and blind to have missed the hype.

Lots of talking about different views on history, (un)successful integration, Russian pressure, European attitude etc. It's all fine. Political analysts have something to chew on, and journalists have something to fill the editorial columns with.

But for me there is only one question. What the heck was the point with moving the damn monument? Some Estonian scholars (and I want to stress this - all of them were Estonians!) warned about the consequences. Does not seem that Estonian politicians have listened though. Symbols are powerful tools for power politics. Logical and rational thinking can easily be put aside when the heat of hurt feelings kicks in, especially when it comes to such violent outbursts like riots.

Why stir people's feelings then? The monuments from the Soviet time in Baltics that could and should have been removed have already met their destiny of destruction in the beginning of 90-ies. I still remember how a huge statue of Lenin was removed from the central square at my hometown. What I don't remember is any protests, what to speak of riots. Just a huge crowd of people watching how the statue is being uprooted by a powerful crane and brutally thrown down to the ground. Clapping hands and smiling faces. Singing some patriotic songs. In other words - sort of reclaim the city party! I have no idea what happened to te monument. But it was certainly never reinstalled in any other place, as it was done with the Bronze Soldier in Tallin.

Well, there are still some ugly monuments reminding of the Soviet era for many people in Latvia. As well as Estonia and Lithuania I guess. I would say - let these monuments stay where they are. As reminders of the past. History cannot be erased, it can be only interpreted in different ways. Good scientific arguments about the history would at this point, more than 15 years after regaining independence, be much better than messing around with historical symbols.

Hopefully Estonian lesson will not be forgotten.