Things That Suck: the Victory Monument

Posted: May 31st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Estonia, things that suck | No Comments »

The Victory Monument

The planned Victory Monument of the Freedom War (Vabadussõja võidusammas) is being built without regard to the principles for which Estonia stands for me. I will not honour the monument and will use any and all means reasonably possible to discredit this antithesis to freedom or the memory of the victory. I love Estonia, but I hate the monument the way it is planned. I was not always against it, I am a great believer in the power of the arts so I welcome any new development that would enrich our public space in my home town of Tallinn. But everything changed when I saw the design and found out more about who and why is building it. For some reason the monument is being built under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence, which as far as I know does not deal with planning of public areas in Tallinn.

Here are the reasons for my decision to disown the monument:

  1. The cross: Estonia has never been a Christian country, we are mostly atheists/pagans and proud of it. The cross has for Estonians the meaning of oppression and foreign conquest rather than victory. The teutanic cross is also very similar to nazi regalia, which might confuse some people.
  2. The process, which ran against all good governance principles. The monument process was politically driven and hasty. It did not take into account any of the principles of inclusion, instead it showed that in 2008 democratic Estonia it is still possible to make decisions like in 1978 Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. Dissenting opinions are disregarded and democratic dialogue discouraged with classic excuses (not the right time to raise questions, it is unpatriotic). It seems to me that the people who decide are motivated by the need to be written in history as the ones who finally managed to conclude a project which was in the making since 1918.
  3. It is unsuitable. The general consensus among those who are educated in the field of arts is that artistically it is not suitable to the area. 
There are a number of other concerns, but for me the worst is that it is simply unpatriotic and stupid to erect such a divisive and controversial monument in the year of the 90th Anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. I do not know what have been the intentions, but the result is that people have been disenfranchised and pushed away from their country by this process.
It is sad that such a trivial matter as one monument should cause so much grief, but it again shows what power symbols have.

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