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.
As the Toronto Estonian-Canadian community advances towards a bright future and new home, the time has come to renew the spirit of cooperation that helped carry our community throughout the last century.
Community volunteers who have worked so hard, for so many years, to guide the new Estonian Centre Project towards a feasible reality, deserve our thanks and our help. And those who have worked to maintain our historic home on Broadview Avenue also deserve our respect and gratitude.
However we can no longer afford to maintain, let alone expand, the divides that have been inflicted upon our community. The rifts that have been allowed to separate friends and even families must be healed.
Our new community centre project is in very good hands. We need to trust the steering committee’s well-deliberated decisions and the aspiration they share with all of us, to build a stronger community through a new Estonian Centre.
The time has come to reject the innuendos, rumours and baseless accusations that are intended to divide us. The motivations of those who continue to support and facilitate the creation and dissemination of erroneous information that is intended to sow anger and discord among us, must be questioned and challenged. They must be held accountable.
A divided Estonian-Canadian community is the ultimate - and very real - goal of our enemies. Our greatest defense is mutual respect, co-operation and unity.
Marcus Kolga, Toronto