Canadian-Estonians Marcus Kolga and Laas Leivat propose to engage hundreds of thousands of Estonians living abroad and establish their official representation in the Estonian government and parliament.
Estonia’s domestic population is declining, but our global population remains stable. While we desperately seek ways to create more Estonians, there are 200,000 proud Estonians living outside the country’s borders. Many of us are temporary economic migrants who have traveled abroad in search of prosperity and stable incomes; some of us have emigrated in search of sunshine and warmer weather.
Many of us are the decedents of refugees – like the former president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves – who left behind homes and families to escape the Nazi and Soviet tyranny. They were simple farmers and wealthy entrepreneurs, who gathered few belongings and risked the dangerous Baltic and flooded roads, in search of peace and refuge for their parents, wives, husbands and children. Formerly wealthy ship owners and fishermen alike, were forced to pick up paint brushes, saws and shovels to put food on their tables.
For a long time, I have been deeply concerned about the tone of certain critical articles and reader comments being published on an “independent” Estonian-Canadian news portal which have helped drive countless wedges into our community. Fair, fact-based criticism is always welcome. But many pieces that have been published over the past years, and recently, threaten community cohesion.
Some stories have stoked existing discord. In other cases, trolls regularly target specific individuals with patently false accusations aimed at destroying their credibility. The cumulative contributing effect of this campaign - intentional or not - is a community that has become divided. Questions, critical analysis and debate can be carried out with respect and dignity, without indulging in the slinging of mud. Our community is better than this.