September 11, 2001

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: law, memoir, personal, united states | No Comments »

The capture and killing of Osama bin Laden brought me back my memories of September 11, 2001.

I was at a lecture at the time, it was the beginning of my sophomore year at Concordia University Law School.  I had my birthday the day before, but I do not recall any big party or a hangover. It was a lecture of Public International Law by Maureen B Fitzmahan, one of the American permanent lecturers at Concordia. Suddenly, text messages started arriving that New York City is attacked and the whole city blown up, the skyline gone. Everyone was taken aback, but the lecture did go on, people who had relatives or friends in the US were suggested to go and try to contact their relatives. Concordia at the time was very international, with a few American students.

I was quite shocked and thought about the impact to the world when I was waiting for the bus to take me back to my parents flat in Õismäe from Viimsi, where this small private university was located. It was such a clear and beautiful, sunny day, but I wanted to return quickly to find out more what had happened. The world really seemed different.

There have been terrorist attacks before and after September 11, 2011, but not one of those had the same impact on me.

Song Festivals and being Estonian

Posted: July 1st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Estonia, memoir | No Comments »

As I write this, the projector projects to the wall a live TV broadcast of the Youth Song Festival. It is a powerful event and really brings out the essence of being Estonian. Innocense, youth, unity and the power of singing are things that make me be really proud. One really has to see it to believe it.

Although I watch this on TV now, I am not far from where the event takes place and I did see and hear some of the parade this morning. And I am there in my heart, which I think every Estonian also is.

I think it is great that we have this as the main uniting force, such a positive force. The song festivals are ingrained in our identities, so if anyone really wants to understand or experience what is it to feel Estonian, then going to a song festival will give a better lesson than going to Õllesummer or other similar events.

I have been only to one song festival. It was in 1993, when I was 12 years old. I sang in my school choir, the school being Tallinn Secondary School no 62 (see here ). It was long time ago, but every time there is the song contest, it brings back a lot of memories: how it was in the parade, holding up the school sign; how the rehearsals were; how the interaction with the conductor was; how we had soup there. How there was this massive amount of people who had been gathered together to do something beautiful: sing together.