ESTONIANS: THE KIKE SPEAKS FOR THEM ALL

Kike Silver Tambur

[KIKE] Silver Tambur

Publisher/Editor-in-chief of estonianworld, London, United Kingdom

Education

University of Tartu
Birkbeck College, University of London
Parnu Sutevaka Private School of Humanities

Silver Tambur's Summary

An intelligent, focused, diverse, creative and committed professional. A well presented, confident and articulate communicator and negotiator at all levels.

Specialties

Feature story writing; Editing, writing and proof-reading; Cultural review writing; Project management, research and presentation; Planning, organising and coordinating special events and functions; Contractual negotiation; Brand development

Silver Tambur's Experience

Editor-in-chief & Feature Writer
Estonian World - Webzine
July 2012 – Present (1 year) London, United Kingdom

Estonian World is a global online magazine founded in 2012 to write about cosmopolitan Estonians, their ideas and achievements in technology, business and culture.

Its contributors also write about their environment and life from all around the world from the Estonian perspective, and thus serve as a global focal point for Estonians and for those interested in the development of Estonia.

London Contributor
AS Eesti Ajalehed
March 2012 – Present (1 year 4 months) London, United Kingdom

Eesti Päevaleht ("Estonian Times") is a major daily Estonian newspaper. Delfi is the most popular web portal in the Baltic States. Both are published by the biggest publishing group in the Baltic States, Ekspress Grupp AS.

Office Administrator
Eastwoods Solicitors
September 2008 – 2013 (5 years) London, United Kingdom

Co-founder
Best Before Project
April 2011 – May 2012 (1 year 2 months) London, United Kingdom

Restaurant Manager
The Chancery Restaurant
Privately Held; 11-50 employees; Restaurants industry
August 2005 – January 2008 (2 years 6 months) London, United Kingdom

Silver Tambur's Courses

Script writing course - London Jewish Cultural Centre


Kike Silver Tambur Queerness

Estonian World

Estonian World is a London-based online magazine founded in 2012 to write about cosmopolitan Estonians and their views, ideas, experiences and achievements. EW also writes about Estonia’s global success stories in technology, business and arts.

Our contributors also write about their environment and life from all around the world from the Estonian perspective, and thus serve as a global focal point for Estonians and for those interested in the development of Estonia. Estonian World has no partisan political affiliation and seeks to present the stories fair-mindedly.

We are also happy to consider freelance contributions, to receive news and video content, and to host your blogs. To submit content, see our Contact Us page or send us an email at info@estonianworld.com

Estonian World Contributors

Silver Tambur is Estonian World’s co-founder and editor-in-chief. Silver has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and Politics & Society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. He has previously written for Estonian Times (Eesti Päevaleht), major Estonian daily. As the editor-in-chief, his interest is to explore the impact, developments, and movements of a new generation of cosmopolitan Estonians, who increasingly leave their mark around the globe – let it be a technology, start-up culture, the arts, or even defence.

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist. Having lived most of his life in Estonia, he now resides in the British Empire. He loves writing and besides occasional blogging, he writes for Estonian World, The Times of Israel and other media outlets. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly.

Liisa Berezkin currently studies in Japan, her major being in sociology of religion and new religions at Tokyo Kokugakuin University. Being half-Russian, half-Estonian, she graduated from a high-school in St. Petersburg, Russia and obtained her bachelor degree from Tartu Art College, Estonia. Art is also an essential part of her life.

Chris Glew is a British independent writer and estophile living in London with a background in IT. Currently working in commercial intelligence, previous roles were in third sector fundraising and international development. Passions include “dogs, gin, perfume and opera.”

Reelika Virunurm is currently living in Germany where people always mix up Estonia and Iceland. She is trying to travel as much as possible, learn a new foreign language as often as possible – and not mix up the ones she already knows.

Adam Garrie teaches modern history at King’s College London and is currently engaged in PhD level research in 20th century political history. He is a classically trained musician and enjoys writing about all styles of music, world politics and just about anything to do with Estonia.

Kadri Paris currently lives in Brussels and works in the field of international development. Having previously lived in Lyon, Luxembourg and London, she is a long-term expat who believes that life begins at the end of one’s comfort-zone.

Kristjan Lillemets is a New York-based creative IT consultant, author and freelance photographer.

Triin Pehk loves to observe, think and write, and she even has a degree in people watching – Anthropology. She currently lives with her family in Sydney which is her second home after the beloved Kalamaja in Tallinn.

Andres Simonson is first generation American of Estonian descent. An enthusiastic Estophile, he is an environmental consultant holding a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a Masters of City and Regional Planning, concentrating in environmental planning. He resides in Red Bank, New Jersey with his loving wife and three darling daughters.

Liis Rosenberg is an economics and traveling enthusiast, as well as a fashion lover, who works in banking and finance in London.

Harvard educated Jürgen Kaljuvee has worked as an investment banker in New York and London, currently resides in Zürich. He describes himself as an expat, traveller and coffee table philosopher who after a long journey through various world cities is currently passing through Zürich…

Liis Peetermann is a designer, startup entrepreneur and TechStars NYC HackStar Alumni. As part of the Estonian bustling start-up scene, she has travelled extensively and spent some time in New York, as well as in Santiago. Currently resides in Tallinn.

Sander Saar is Estonian World’s co-founder and the technical wizard behind it. Sander currently also works for tech giant AOL in London.



Kike Silver Tambur Shiksah Cindy Crawford

Connecting Talents with Home: An Interview with Estonian World

Estonian Public Broadcasting News, 2013.05.17

[Photo: Estonian World editor-in-chief Silver Tambur holds court in London]

Curiosity and a healthy modicum of professional envy over a job well done got the best of us. ERR News talked to editor in chief Silver Tambur and Sander Saar about the popular [KIKE] Estonian World e-zine they founded in 2012.

Here's a variation on a question a few of the ERR staffers get all the time, often to their chagrin - are you Estonian or British [or KIKE]? What ties do you maintain to the old country?

Silver: Both Estonian World’s co-founders are Estonian. I come originally from lovely Pärnu and have lived in London for over 10 years; and Sander Saar (EW’s other co-founder) has lived here for four years. In my case, I have spent one-third of my lifetime in the UK and most of my working life in London - so obviously this has shaped my views and style, and had an impact on how I perceive things. These days I tend to say that I’m Estonian at heart, but British by experience - both countries have so far had a major role in my life. One of my British friends used to say that “you can take a man out of Estonia, but you cannot take Estonia out of a man.” But I cannot deny that I have been influenced by Anglo-American quality [kike] media, let it be The Economist or The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian or The New York Times, for example. Living in one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet tends to make one also very tolerant and open-minded when it comes to different cultures and views.

My ties with Estonia started to strengthen more than a year ago when I started to contribute from London for Estonian online portal Delfi and subsequently for Eesti Päevaleht. This led to more intense contact with Estonian expats here in London on one hand and more frequent visits to my old homeland on the other. After starting to publish Estonian World, these ties have intensified further.

Sander: I’ve always thought that one can do more for Estonia and Estonians while living abroad than living in Estonia. Estonian World is one example of that. I’ve never understood the initiative of trying to attract talented people back to Estonia, I think it should be more about connecting talents with Estonia, so that all parties can benefit. I’m still strongly connected to Estonia, my family, friends, and Estonian start-ups and I feel that I’ve managed to do even more for them while abroad than living there.

London seems to be emerging as the place for Estonians abroad, something that it wasn't so much last century when Toronto and Stockholm led the way. What's the scene like?

Silver: Actually, the London Estonian Society dates back almost 100 years, as it was established in 1921 - and the Estonian House in London was set up in the early 1950’s. But you are right to suggest that during the Soviet occupation, the UK wasn’t as major of a place for Estonian expats as was Canada, Sweden or even the US and Australia. This indeed, is changing. There are suggestions that London has recently seen the influx of some of the brightest and most highly educated young Estonians who choose to live abroad. There’s the Estonian Guild which unites young professionals and the London Estonian Society which keeps up Estonian traditions and identity with choirs, folk dancing, and film nights etc. People who have come here since 2004 are also very diverse professionally: from bankers, accountants and start-up entrepreneurs to designers, musicians and artists, from construction workers to bus drivers - the scene is very vibrant indeed.

Sander: London also attracts lots of new businesses from abroad. It’s only 2h30min away (from Estonia) and contains the largest business hub in Europe - and is a great place to learn, find new customers, raise capital and connect with the rest of the world. Besides that there is its diverse culture and people.
Some émigré Estonians who grew up in the States say they experienced a touch of resentment from some locals in the 1990s when they first moved back to Estonia. Is there any of that now - i.e., that too many people are leaving?

Silver: Yes, I think that there is a bit of resentment from those who have never left Estonia nor lived away for a while. I have also felt it sometimes when I visit Estonia, even from some old friends - although I am trying to do my best to retain old friendships and keep those “invisible barriers” down. I think that creating some sort of artificial “us (in Estonia)” and “them (abroad)” barrier is absolutely wrong and needless. It is also a myth that people who have left always live better lives than those left behind. In fact, a struggling artist or an aspiring entrepreneur in London or New York would probably see incomparable hardship for many years, without the friends and family support-system that they would have had back at home.

In the end, it doesn’t matter where one currently lives - we are all Estonians and remain so, regardless of our geographical location. In fact, I believe that it would be useful and healthy for Estonia if as many young people as possible spend at least some time abroad, especially in large cosmopolitan cities - it broadens their intellectual and cultural horizons and makes people more open-minded and tolerant, as well as encouraging fresh thinking and inspiring new ideas. If we look at the statistics, then we see that many Estonians are actually returning to their motherland, too. I believe that it would be for everyone’s benefit that those who return are allowed to put their experiences from a wider world into practice - a belief of common synergy should prevail, rather than resentment. We need to look and learn more of what’s happening in the increasingly competitive world out there, and as a small nation, stick together as much as possible.

What prompted the creation of Estonian World?

Silver: I met designer Sander Saar by coincidence at an Estonian fashion showcase event during last year’s Estonian Independence Day celebrations in London. He had been assigned to take photos of the event and I had just interviewed Kriss Soonik (London-based fashion designer) for Eesti Päevaleht. I was looking for a photographer to cover Sofi Oksanen’s Purge premiere at London’s Arcola theatre (again for EPL) - which became our successful collaboration. At the same time I had started to play with an idea about setting up a dedicated site for young, professional Estonian expats - writing about them on one hand, but encouraging those expats to keep up their (Estonian) identity on the other. I felt that writing for Delfi or EPL didn’t provide me with enough freedom to do it in the way I wanted it. As I was looking for a talented technical wizard, I proposed that Sander should cooperate on this new project and we took it from there.

As a relatively media-savvy person, I had also noticed that many small nations had English-language e-zines, presenting their culture and discussing their identity (I followed couple of remarkable Jewish webzines, for example) - in other words, “selling” their people and “story” around the world. But there wasn’t anything equivalent for Estonians (ERR’s site is more dedicated to domestic news).

Yet I felt that there had been many reasons in recent years to do so - Estonians developed Skype and are arguably behind more start-up businesses per capita than any other nation in Europe. Estonia has also produced world class composers, singers and artists - many of whom are yet to emerge from the increasingly global, younger generation. Increasingly, there are also people around the world who have done or are doing business with Estonia, or who follow its culture and affairs.

I came up with the name Estonian World out of the blue, but it indicates that we are not a slave nation anymore, and shouldn’t in any way behave like one - Estonians are punching above their weight in many fields, notably IT, and it’s time to keep our heads up high in the world, but supported by a modern and sophisticated identity. The idea is not to be a nationalistic or political voice, waving flags without a reason, but to be a professional and global focal point for cosmopolitan Estonians, and for those interested in the development of Estonia, be it technologically, commercially, or culturally. Sander came up with the tagline “how Estonians see it” - our idea is to shed insights into how we (Estonians) see and do things.

In short – we felt that Estonia had come to deserve a [kike] site like this!

Where do you get your funding? [From other Kikes?] Labor of love? Or is there an Enterprise Estonia grant somewhere in the mix? [You leech money off of Estonians?]

Silver: We have a soft spot for Estonian start-ups and we treat our webzine like one. We have managed to keep costs to a minimum and our funding is, at the moment, coming from our own pockets. At the same time it’s clear that in order to become sustainable we have to commercialize sooner or later, and monetize it one way or another. We are reluctant to apply for a grant from a state-associated fund, simply because it would probably jeopardize our reputation as an independent media outlet. So the answer is no - we are currently not receiving financial support from any institution.

Sander: Estonian World is independent and free, managed by its contributors and founders. We’ll never let funding change our independent direction. As with anything, at some point, one has to start thinking about covering the costs and time involved, but we want to do it in a non-intrusive way. Great content will always be at the heart of Estonian World.

Do you get the sense that there's significant interest in what's going on in Estonia outside the expected niche of Estonian expats and foreign Estonians?

Silver: Well, one of the reasons why we created EW was the fact that other international media outlets were writing about Estonia’s success stories, but we (Estonians) ourselves were not! So the interest is definitely there. The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times and TechCrunch have been writing in increasing rotation about Estonia since about 2005, when the first signs of the emerging “IT-tiger” burst onto global scene. This positive image was strengthened during and after the 2008 financial crisis. A flood of Estonian start-ups invading London, New York and Silicon Valley since 2010-11 have only added to the “Estonian story”. Taking part militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan seems to have stirred up interest; despite our output being comparatively small. Add to this number of Estonian designers and artists making their way into urban magazines in London, New York and Berlin and the full picture starts to emerge.

When we recently published an hour-long documentary made by Ericsson about e-services in Estonia, it attracted massive number of international views and over 3,000 “likes” on our page, which is more customary to established sites like TechCrunch, rather than a nine-month old webzine. So we have to agree that Estonia’s international image has never been as good as it is now.

Sander: “Life in a Networked Society” attracted more than 30,000 views on YouTube, out of which more than 10,000 (so more than a third) views came via estonianworld.com. Compare that to any other media brand in Estonia, which attracted more than 10 times less.

Will you be covering sports? What about politics?

Silver: We are not planning a sports section as yet, but it’s a future possibility - just like some other sections which it’s too early to discuss about. At the end of the day we see ourselves as an online magazine, not a news site - hence, even if we introduced a sports section, it would come with a twist, including insightful feature stories etc.

Estonian World is a celebration of the good things, and that's fine, but at what point would you consider critical opinions? Where do you draw the line?

Silver: That is a delicate question. Most of our authors and contributors (and we have also attracted a couple of British writers in London) live abroad, so naturally our view of Estonia is a bit rosier, than that which might appear locally. Indeed, looking at the comments and opinions on local Estonian media, you could be forgiven for thinking that we are writing about a different country!

To start with, we have to take into account the fact that there are very few English sites writing about Estonia and the foreigners reading them might not necessarily be interested in the local dirt or short term political scandals. On the other hand, we are not a tourism site, but an independent media channel - and most of us being Estonians, who frequently visit our homeland, we naturally have our individual concerns about local issues. For example, the other day I had a look at a comparison table of average salaries in Eastern and Central Europe and if in information technology itself Estonia is a leader, then on a salary league we are lagging behind many other former communist countries - in fact, we are more or less on par with Russia and Poland, but lagging behind Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, for example.

Most of us have also lived long enough in established democracies where minorities are treated with the same respect as anyone else, so it’s quite embarrassing to hear local (and supposedly “macho”) politicians treat women with disrespect or compare gay people with animals etc. I believe that most of us involved would like to see a modern Estonia in every sense.

To deal with those topics, we introduced an opinion section where various authors express their views about those issues. For example, our British editor Chris Glew recently called on Estonian politicians to take a stand against homophobia.


In the future, we would like to pay more attention to social issues generally and I would like to stress that this platform is open to politicians from both left, right and center - Estonian World has no partisan political affiliation and seeks to present all stories in a fair-minded way.

Sander: We promise to keep the flow of good content coming and ask everyone who feels that they have something to say about Estonia or Estonians to step on board and we’ll do our best to accommodate them.


Kike Silver Tambur

Shmuel Lazikin — an Israeli who blogs in Estonian, for Estonians

By [KIKE] STEN HANKEWITZ, in LIFE, estonian world: how estonians see it, Oct 4, 2012

TAGS: ABRAHAM GUREVITSH, CHRISTIAN, ESTONIAN DIASPORA, ESTONIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY, ISRAEL, JEWISH, JUDAISM, KUULAIISRAEL.DO.AM, RAUNO NUORAHO, RUSSIAN, SHMUEL LAZIKIN, SOVIET UNION, STEN HANKEWITZ, TORAH, YIDDISH

Kike Shmuel Lazikin

“Despite the fact that I love it in Israel, I’ve always had this sense of my Estonian roots. I think it’s great, because there was a lot of good (in Estonia). And it’s also good because the bad things that happened in Estonia, also taught me a great deal,” says Shmuel Lazikin, 64, in Eretz Yisrael — the Land of Israel — that has been his homeland for the last 22 years.

Shmuel was born in Tallinn in 1948, four years after the [KIKE-RUN] Soviets came for the second time and stayed for almost 50 years. Hence the comment about “bad things”—it wasn’t easy to be Estonian in these years of hardship, and it was even harder to be an obedient Jew. These were the days when religion was suppressed, traditions wiped out and people subjected to a regime everyone loathed.

Estonia—the best place in the Soviet Union

His family had lived in Estonia for 250 years. “There was no question for my parents whether to enrol me in an Estonian- or Russian-language school. My native tongue is Yiddish, we spoke it at home, and our second language was Estonian.” Shmuel didn’t speak Russian — interestingly, he only learnt it after he had immigrated to Israel decades later.

“I realised in Estonia that the best place to be born would have been Israel, but within the Soviet Union, Estonia was absolutely the best place to be born,” he recalls. Why? “My mother’s brother Abraham Gurevitsh — blessed be his memory — was the Rabbi in Estonia and he had a great influence on me. Secondly, in an Estonian school I learnt about Russia’s “moral values” quite quickly.” On the other hand, he says, quite often the Jews were a tiny bit more preferred compared with the Russians: “both us and Estonians were oppressed.”

Up to the Second World War, the Estonian Jewry enjoyed a flourishing cultural autonomy in Estonia. Estonians, traditionally fairly tolerant people, did not have anti-Semitic tendencies. The [KIKE-RUN] Soviet occupation, and especially the German occupation brought all that to an end. The Estonian Jewish Community was [OBVIOUSLY NOT] annihilated, and Estonia was [PREMATURELY] declared judenfrei. “And I knew this didn’t happen only through the hands of Germans,” Shmuel hints at some of the Estonian Nazi collaborators. Unfortunately, some of the anti-Jewish sentiment remained in Estonia even after the war [WHILE ESTONIANS WERE BEING USED AS SLAVE LABOUR IN KIKE-RUB GULAGS]. “At school, I was stressed out the entire 11 years. I started properly learning only after graduation.”

A big change

At the age of 42, in 1990, at the brink of the Soviet Union’s collapse, Shmuel made a life-changing decision. He and his family sold their car and flat, gave the money they received to relatives, and took a ferry to Finland. He had began his journey to Israel, the Promised Land: “For me the Soviet Union was the most awful place in the entire world. In some ways even worse than Nazi Germany.”

Shmuel and his family arrived in Finland with hands in their pockets. They didn’t have anything, not even passports. “I remember how comfortable it was to travel without it,” he calls to mind. However, the Finnish border guards didn’t share his enthusiasm and threatened to either send them back to theSoviet Union, or to arrest them. “I gladly agreed to go to jail. Our friend in Finland, Rauno Nuoraho, had made a deal with the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs that we were to be allowed in the country, so I asked them to arrest me and told them that I would give a press conference in the morning from my cell.”

“The border guards were very nice people. They started to look for our names in most wanted lists. When Rauno saw that our interaction with the authorities was dragging, he spoke to one of the senior border officials and promised that he would take us to his place to spend the night, and if we didn’t get the permit from the Foreign Ministry, he’d bring us back in the morning.”

Surprisingly, it worked. The Finnish border guards let Shmuel and his family go. “By the morning we had solved all issues and I didn’t have to give the press conference I had promised.”

A huge donation from a complete stranger

But Shmuel’s luck hadn’t run out. “A few days after he had arrived in Finland, Rauno told me that a Christian woman [CRYPTO-KIKE? OR ZIO-ANTI-CHRISTIAN?] wants to donate 5,000 US dollars for our family to make our journey, and settling in a little more comfortably. When I wanted to thank this lady, Rauno told me that she wanted to remain anonymous. “The warm attitude of this Christian family towards us was something I had never felt before,” Shmuel remarks with a smile. “To this day I have no idea — was the kind donor really some anonymous Christian lady, or was it Rauno himself?”

For Shmuel and his family, the 5,000 dollars were like a fairy tale. They were coming from the Soviet Union, they were poor — and then suddenly they were travelling loaded!

Learning Russian in Israel, of all the places!

As mentioned earlier, Shmuel didn’t speak Russian in Estonia and he only learnt it, once in Israel. “It wasn’t easy to learn it in Estonia. It was a foreign language, not too many lessons. However, in Israel, one million Russian Jews arrived within a short space of time, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. You could hear Russian everywhere; a Russian radio station started and Russian newspapers appeared on sale. At first, this gave me information in a tad more understandable language than Hebrew was for me at the time.”

Soon after that, Shmuel began giving lectures on Judaism in Russian. For the last 16 years he has worked at a private learning centre for children from mainly Russian Jewish families.

“I think it was easier for me to start a new life in Israel, than for many others coming later,” he asserts. “Israel helped us a great deal. When I left the airport, I already had my passport and a cheque for an amount sufficient for renting a flat and keeping it together. Using it sparingly, it was possible to live on it.”

Blogging in Estonian about Israel and Jews

“When reading news about Israel in the Estonian media, it quite often feels as if the author doesn’t know absolutely anything about what he’s reporting on. The stories are dull, translated from somewhere and almost never impartial — there were exceptions like Sten Hankewitz’s articles (Shmuel insists on adding this remark to this article). It either feels that the writers are completely influenced by the left wing media’s stance, or that their level of intelligence wasn’t necessarily too high.”

Another thing that annoys Shmuel are many readers’ comments in relation to matters concerning Israel, which indicates a lot of ignorance among many people. “And thus I came to an idea to create my own portal that would at least try to offer an alternative to the disinformation prevailing in the media – an issue not just in Estonia but everywhere.”

With that in mind, a blog called http://kuulaiisrael.do.am (Listen,Israel) was born. “I want to write about both good and bad things. About problems and accomplishments. Of course, I haven’t yet achieved much, because I am working on it out of my free time and I don’t have a lot of it.”

His blog has 10-20 readers a day ["SO LET'S BOOST THE OLD KIKE IN 'ESTONIAN' WORLD!"], which isn’t a lot, Shmuel admits. But it definitely is a start, and one can hope that these 10-20 people learn something that they won’t necessarily learn from the mainstream media. “One day I hope to find a sponsor and then dedicate more time to it. Right now I don’t have the funds to advertise it, nor offer photos or videos that could potentially make it more interesting.”

“One subject in the portal is especially sacred for me — Memorial Day. In December, I’ve covered this for a year already. It’s about Jews that have been murdered — throughout centuries, every day.”

“Estonians should build Estonia together”

Are Estonians home and Estonians abroad different? “To a certain extent, yes,” Shmuel says. “But in my opinion, all Estonians in the world should stick together — only this way they will prevail. We Jews know about assimilation very well. There are assimilated Jews everywhere, even in Estonia.”

“It would be for the best if Estonians returned from around the world, went back to Estonia. They could build the country together, with a purpose, and maintain their roots. I remember, when I worked for the Estonian Philharmonics, I discovered Estonian folk traditions for myself. Read the first book on the subject within days. After that, I started giving lectures and concerts on the subject — we had a musician, two singers and two dancers. We were all on stage, me included, in Estonian traditional clothing. People were always astonished to see this — it wasn’t every day they saw a Jew in Estonian traditional clothing talking to Estonians about their traditions!”

Shmuel notes that in his opinion, it’s harder for diaspora Estonians than it is for diaspora Jews to keep their traditions alive — because for Jews, there’s the Torah (the Jewish Bible) that ties them together. As Shmuel points out, the Torah has been the spiritual foundation of the Jewish people that has kept them together for millennia. “It means that Estonians have to work harder on upholding their uniqueness in the world. If that were to disappear, G-d forbid, the entire world would lose.”

“I want to tell all Estonians, at home and abroad — stay Estonian. Don’t assimilate. After all twists and turns in history, your independence is G-d-given and you have to cherish it with your heart and soul!”


Kike Silver Tambur KikeBook

Is Europe declining or not?

ESTONIAN WORLD OPINION · MAY 20, 2013

Although it may seem that Europe is down and out as it struggles with multiple crises, things are in fact far, far better than they appear on the surface.

By Hans Kundnani & Mark Leonard, estonian world: how estonians see it

This article first appeared in Foreign Policy magazine and European Council on Foreign Relations website.

“Europeans are from Venus”

Hardly. In 2002, American author [KIKE] Robert Kagan famously wrote, “Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus.” More recently, Robert Gates, then US defense secretary, warned in 2010 of the “demilitarisation” of Europe. But not only are European militaries among the world’s strongest – these assessments also overlook one of the great achievements of human civilisation: a continent that gave us the most destructive conflicts in history has now basically agreed to give up war on its own turf. Besides, within Europe there are huge differences in attitudes toward the uses and abuses of hard power. Hawkish countries such as Poland and Britain are closer to the United States than they are to dovish Germany, and many continue to foresee a world where a strong military is an indispensable component of security. And unlike rising powers such as China that proclaim the principle of non-interference, Europeans are still prepared to use force to intervene abroad. Ask the people of the Malian city of Gao, which had been occupied for nearly a year by hard-line Islamists until French troops ejected them, whether they see Europeans as timid pacifists.

At the same time, Americans have changed much in the decade since Kagan said they are from Mars. As the United States draws down from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and focuses on “nation-building at home,” it looks increasingly Venusian. In fact, attitudes toward military intervention are converging on both sides of the Atlantic. According to the most recent edition of Transatlantic Trends, a regular survey by the German Marshall Fund, only 49 percent of Americans think that the intervention in Libya was the right thing to do, compared with 48 percent of Europeans. Almost as many Americans (68 percent) as Europeans (75 percent) now want to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Many American critics of Europe point to the continent’s low levels of military spending. But it only looks low next to the United States – by far the world’s biggest spender. In fact, Europeans collectively accounted for about 20 percent of the world’s military spending in 2011, compared with 8 percent for China, 4 percent for Russia, and less than 3 percent for India, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It is true that, against the background of the crisis, many EU member states are now making dramatic cuts in military spending, including, most worryingly, France. Britain and Germany, however, have so far made only modest cuts, and Poland and Sweden are actually increasing military spending. Moreover, the crisis is accelerating much-needed pooling and sharing of capabilities, such as air policing and satellite navigation. As for those Martians in Washington, the US Congress is cutting military spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years and by $43 billion this year alone – and the supposedly warlike American people seem content with butter’s triumph over guns.



Negro Muz Estonian British American Chinese Abdul Turay

British-Estonian political columnist Abdul Turay: “A Jamaican is culturally more similar to an Englishman than an Estonian.”

By [KIKE] SILVER TAMBUR, estonian world: how estonians see it, June 6, 2013

Abdul Turay is a British-Estonian [n.b., He was born in England, studied at SUNY, and worked in Hong Kong and Taiwan, so he must be an African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim ~ 卍心の耀] political columnist working for Estonia’s leading national newspaper Postimees. After living and working in Estonia for so many years, he published his first book “Väike Valge Riik” (“A Small White Nation”) in December 2012 (the English version is due this fall). The book deals with issues relating to Estonia’s fast road to capitalism and the current, as well as future challenges that this road has brought to the country.

We have been discussing with Abdul for some time about collaborating on some articles here, on Estonian World . It is therefore admittedly with a slight embarrassment that we finally got around to it only because of a marginal Estonian far-right politician who recently came up with racist comments against immigrants – rare even for a country which is still becoming accustomed to accommodate people from different cultures, after so many years behind the Iron Curtain. This week, Estonian weekly Eesti Ekspress invited Abdul to debate with an aforementioned politician on the issue. Afterwards, Abdul found some time to answer our questions about life in Estonia and the recent debate. We have also republished Abdul Turay‘s letter to Estonian Public Broadcasting, highlighting the reasons for agreeing to debate on this controversial topic, despite his initial reluctance.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] Abdul, first of all, what brought you to Estonia?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] I came to Estonia for family reasons. It was a difficult challenge and a big risk, because I had to take a huge pay cut when I came here. The company I worked for, a Russian Latvian company, turned out to be dodgy. They weren’t paying staff members, so I quit on the principle. My wife was terrified, I had given up a well paying job in England to be unemployed in the Baltics in the middle of the worse recession in living memory.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] What has been your general impression about the developments in Estonia and do you think that it’s heading in the right direction?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] A difficult question to answer. When I first came to Estonia I thought it was a kind of paradise, a winter wonderland. My reasons for coming have changed over the years. I am more aware of the daily grind that most people go through to get by.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] What do you think should be different?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] Drivers should stop at zebra crossing. I will never get used to that.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] Have you ever experienced any racism in Estonia and in what form?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] You have fallen into the trap of asking about race. I am not sure I am even qualified to answer that question. I can only speak for my own experience not for others, and since I am not part of any black community in Estonia, I can’t speak for the community. There have been a few incidences, but it only came to blows on one occasion; I won.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] What do you think could be done more to avoid ignorance about people from different cultures and races?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] Nothing.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] Coming back to the UK – how well do you think people from different cultures and races have integrated into the UK society? How well do you think they have embraced the traditional culture and customs in the UK?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] Again the trap. I am not qualified to answer this question. I know what every other Briton knows, which is that some communities assimilate well and others badly. A lot of it is based on language.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] Is there anything negative from the UK experience, based on multicultural society, that you would like to change – or Estonia could learn from it?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] Yet again the trap, multiculturalism means different things to different people. People confuse race with culture. If you tell an Estonian that a Jamaican is more culturally similar to a white Englishman than they are, they don’t understand that. But this is clear to us, Brits. Jamaica was colonised by Britain and the mother country has been kind of colonised by Jamaicans for the last 60 years. We share cricket, the English language, the legal system, school uniforms, reggae music, Anglicanism and Levi Roots (Levi Roots is a British-Jamaican reggae musician, television personality, celebrity chef, businessman and multi-millionaire – Editor [Kike Silver Tambur]).

What could be more English than cricket? Muslims play cricket, Estonian don’t. Even Bin Laden’s children, growing up in the former British colony of Pakistan, played cricket. Estonians don’t even understand the rules.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] What is your opinion in relation to recent troubles in Sweden? And how would you respond to claims by some politicians (incl. Angela Merkel) that “multicultural society has failed”?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] I am definitely not qualified to comment about the riots in Sweden. I am not Swedish, nor to live in Sweden, I only know what I read in newspapers and given how the riots in England were portrayed in the international press, I am not sure the coverage is accurate. As to multiculturalism I refer you to the answer above.

[Kike "Estonian" Silver Tambur:] Considering the recent statement by far-right politician Helme, do you think that there’s something deeper to tackle in Estonia – or is it really just an ignorant statement from a marginal politician?

[African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay:] I debated him and he backpedalled significantly, he went from “kui must, näita ust” to agreeing to have black people in his party. What he said was racist, but that doesn’t mean he is. He does appear to have a disgust for Black Africans – a lot of people do, even other black people. Africa is poor, people despise poverty. Whether that disgust extends to all black people, I don’t know.

I think that I understand him – he will deny it, but his views are really all about money, most things do come down to money (or love). He dislikes anyone poorer than him, or any country poorer than Estonia. He dislikes Africa most of all because it is the poorest.

He has a hard time accepting that there are a lot of people in Britain and the other Western countries, including Black people, who unfortunately feel the same way about him – a poor Eastern European.

Abdul Turay’s letter to ERR News:

Bring it on.

This is not a news article, but it is news.

You heard it here first on ERR (Estonian Public Broadcasting English portal – Editor). On Monday June 3, I will debate Martin Helme, the leader of the Conservative People party. The article will be published in Eesti Ekspress, and filmed. You can read more about the outcome of the debate on this portal and elsewhere.

For those of you who don’t know, Martin Helme is the chap who said: “Kui must, näita ust” (If black show the door) which translates well as “if you’re black get back”. He has argued this dictate should form the basis of Estonian immigration policy.

It saddens me to have to do this debate for more reasons than one. I trained as a reporter, I want to write the news, I like to write the news, I don’t want to be the news. I guess it’s a dilemma a person faces when he goes to a place where he doesn’t look like everybody else. Instead of seeing the attractions, he becomes the main attraction.

I am sure that the other English language writers in Estonia won’t mind me saying this. Myself, Scott Diel, Justine Petrone, and a couple of others, do not have agendas. We just want to earn a living for our families, the same as everybody else. We are put in this interesting and sometimes uncomfortable position where we are expected to act as unofficial ambassadors for various things.

In my case I have been obliged to represent my country, my Queen at the time of the Royal wedding, my ethnic group, and even my gender. I had written about men’s rights, then came the call to go to women’s conferences where I had to face off against a ton of angry feminists. As someone pointed out, an Estonian writer would would be skinned alive, if he had written what I wrote about feminism. [But the African-European-Asian-British-English-American-Hongkongese-Cantonese-Taiwanese-Chinese-Estonian-Negro-Muslim Abdul Turay got away with it because he has Nigger Privilege ~ 卍心の耀]

Then there’s the issue of race. A casual reader or just someone who can’t read Estonian might assume that’s all I write about. The opposite is true, I deliberately avoid writing about it. I am just not interested, I have to write for my audience. My audience are not black. This is why when I first started writing, a lot of people thought I wasn’t a real person. Here was a black Briton writing about Estonian politics – “How could that be?”

In my book “Small White Nation” out in Estonian and out in English this August, I decided I have to deal with race in the first chapter. It would have been intellectually dishonest not to mention it at all, for the rest of the book I moved on and never mentioned it again.

Other people won’t let it go though. Everybody who has interviewed me, falls into the trap of asking about race. I get invited to conferences to speak about race. I write articles in this portal and other places which have nothing to do with race, and people comment on my race.

And so it was that I got a call for Eesti Ekpress to debate Martin Helme about his unfortunate comments. I really don’t want to do it, really I don’t; but this guy hates everybody. After talking it out with some friends, I felt I had no choice.

I will talk in English because I don’t want to give him an advantage, and he will speak in Estonian for the same reason. The debate will be moderated.

I have heard that Martin Helme is a superb debater, but I am ready for him, bring it on.

COMMENTS

donoliketuray

Is he an Estonian citizen? Immigrants do not "become" part of a country by just spending tie there - he is a British not a "British-Estonian".

Dalek_1963 to donoliketuray

He's not British and he's not Estonian - obviously.

UN to donoliketuray

He lives in Estonia, works for Estonia, and has got an Estonian family. Passport is a piece of paper, it does not necessarily make one to love his/her country not identify with it. Grow up, travel more, and become more intelligent.

Guest to donoliketuray

what about Estonian President? isn't he a refugee?

[n.b., Estonia's current president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, was born in Stockholm to Estonian refugees. He grew up in New Jersey. He received a BA in Psychology from The Kike's Columbia University, and an MA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He lived in Vancouver. After the end of the USSR, he went to Estonia. He opened LOLoco$t-related tourist attraction in Estonia, and laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem LOLoco$t tourist attraction in Kikestan. He looks like he could be Kike. His maternal grandmother was "Russian". If he's a Kike then he was cursed to wander the glbe. If he's Estonian, then he wasn't out of place in Sweden, the US or Canada. ~ 卍心の耀]

Kaarel

Why is it a trap to ask about racism? I don't think this topic has been properly publicly debated in Estonia. There hasn't been much need for this in the past. Perhaps it is about time?

The reason people ask you to attend on these topics means there are things that are not clear. Even if these subjects have been discussed to a much greater degree in the UK and elsewhere, and may have been applied in Estonian legislation, it doesn't mean the society as a whole and individuals are aware of the various aspects of these subjects. I think it's a great opportunity for you to become a significant part of a nation's transformation. And the fact that you naturally stand out, should be used as an advantage :)


Kike Silver Tambur


Kurat – an Estonian language lesson

By [KIKE] ANDRES SIMONSON, in LIFE, estonian world: how estonians see it, June 1, 2013

When non-Estonian friends and acquaintances ask me to teach them essential Estonian words, I typically start the lesson with either “õlu” or “kurat”. The former is the Estonian word for beer and therefore comes in quite handy in the circles I keep. The latter, directly translated, is the Estonian word for devil.

However, I do not teach the word as a synonym for Beelzebub or Lucifer. “Kurat” is so much more. It has transcended theology to take a special place in the Estonian American vocabulary; essentially, it has morphed into a rather fun and handy curse word. Go ahead and give it a test spin – kurat.

For me, my first exposure to the word was within earshot of my parents’ more animated friends during my childhood. It may have been at the Estonian clubhouse or maybe in our home – I can’t really remember. And at that initial encounter of course, I didn’t know the exact meaning. But from the context I was drawn to the word and knew it was something special. It somehow emphasised an otherwise mundane statement and demanded my attention.

This childhood took place in the town of Lakewood, New Jersey, which boasts a rather large ethnic Estonian population (relatively speaking). For many, many years there was a yellow street sign along North Lake Drive defaced in green spray paint with the word “kurat”. I’ve heard differing theories as to the identity of the perpetrator. Heck, he or she might be reading this piece right now. Regardless of the comedian’s identity though, it’s been called a victimless crime. Maybe. Most driving by probably had no idea what the word meant. But me, I know I would giggle at each passing.

COMMENTS

Jüri

When Christianity was brought to Estonia 800-900 years ago the monks sent so called curators (also in Latin: Curator) to every village to avoid old rituals. Those curators were so hated by locals and new Estonian word "kurat" was born. So this old word was originally against Christianity and church.



"Kurat" is probably from "kura", meaning "dirt"/"diarrhea". Or possibly a borrowing from the Indo-European root *kreuə*, meaning "raw flesh", from which "crude" and "cruel" are also derived. And Germans brought Christianity to Estonia, so it's debatable whether local officials would have had Latin titles. And anyway it's obvioulsy a fantastic story that "curators" were sent to monitor every village. Sounds like Kikery to me. But why let reality interfere with anti-Christian lies?

PSEUDO-PAGANISM

In the 20th Century, a pack of Freemasons invented Taarism and Maauskism, two pseudo-"native" "pagan" Estonian religions. In Estonia, the Maavalla Hall represents ABCs (anyone but Christians).

According to the Taaraists, time began with the proclamation of Estonia's independence in 1918. Thus for them this is now year 85.

For the Maausulised the beginning of time is associated with the so-called Billingen Catastrophe when the ice-age Baltic lake broke through into the Atlantic Ocean. The sea level in that region dropped tens of metres in one year and a large part of present day Estonia emerged from under the waters and Estonia's history as such could begin. Therefore the Maausulised call this geological event the birth of the Earth. And so according to them on 25th of December 2003 the year 10217 will begin.

The Sacred and the Organisation

In Maausk there is no difference between the secular and the sacred. They do not look for life's hidden, deeper meaning outside the everyday. The mundane and the sacred are intertwined. Furthermore, in Maausk there are many intimate sacred domains that concern only the individual or a close group. Therefore for the Maausulised, the family, the clan, the village, the parish and the county are all religious units.

To preserve their ideology and customs in today's multi religious society, where there are many identities and trends, many religious organisations have been established under the auspices of Taaraism and the Maavalla Hall.

One of the main functions of Maavalla Hall has become the representation of the Maausulised in dealings with the state and the public. The Hall has been instrumental in gaining protection for many ancient sacred sites (groves, trees, springs, and stones). It has also sought legalisation of their customs, and has protested against the introduction of compulsory Christian religious studies into public schools. In order to represent the interests of non-Christians, the Hall established a round table that unites Moslems, Jews, Buddhists, Bahais and Hare Krishnas.

Ahto Kaasik
Scribe for the Maavalla Hall



Wikipedia

Taaraists hold a monistic worldview regarding all the gods as aspects of one only pantheistic reality, which they identify with the god Tharapita or Taara (a deity connected to Indo-European deities such as the Germanic Thor or Thunor, the Celtic Taranis and the Hittite Tarhunt). Maausk differs in theology from Taaraism being fully polytheistic. The first Taaraist organization was formed in 1933. This organization was called Talinna Hiis (The Sacred Grove of Tallinn). There were several thousand members by 1940. Later these Taaraist organizations were banned, and members were executed because of the Soviet Russian and Nazi German occupation.



Oy vey! They were hallakawstid!

Kike Silver Tambur


RIPE FOR PLUCKING !

Is Estonia really the least religious country in the world?

Estonians, and especially the young, have turned their backs on organised religion, but belief in neo-paganism is thriving


By Ringo Ringvee, guardian.co.uk, 16 September 2011

Estonia and the Czech Republic are the two nations that often claim to be the least religious in Europe. And they seem to be proud of their unbelief. According to the census of 2000, 29% of the total population considered themselves as adherents of some religion. Almost 14% of them were Lutherans (in the 1930s the percentage of Lutherans was over 80), and about 13% Orthodox Christians divided between two churches: one under the canonical jurisdiction of ecumenical patriarchate and the other under the jurisdiction of Moscow patriarchate.

A Eurobarometer poll in 2005 found that only 16% of the Estonian population believed in God. With this number, Estonia hit the bottom of the list. However, at the same time more than half the population (54%) believed in some sort of spirit or life force. Thus it could be claimed that 70% of the Estonian population are believers, at least in some sense of the word. Professor Grace Davie's description of the British religiosity as "believing without belonging" seems to fit to the Estonian context as well.

The churches are on Sundays mostly empty and the ignorance of religion is widespread. According to the available statistics and surveys, the membership of religious associations in Estonia remains under one fifth of the total population.

Non-Estonians (mainly immigrants of Russian stock) are considerably more religious, and this becomes even more evident among the younger generations. Surveys show that young Estonians in general have become estranged from every form of religion that could be considered as traditional or as religion at all.

For this situation there are several reasons, starting from the distant past (the close connection of the churches with the Swedish or German ruling classes) up to the Soviet-period atheist policy when the chain of religious traditions was broken in most families.

In Estonia, religion has never played an important role on the political or ideological battlefield. The institutional religious life was dominated by foreigners until the early 20th century. The tendencies that prevailed in the late 1930s for closer relations between the state and Lutheran church were ended with the Soviet occupation in 1940. While the Roman Catholic church maintained its dissident role in the Soviet countries, the Lutheran church was not successful in this. This might to have to do something with the Lutheran tradition in general as the role of the Lutheran church also in East Germany diminished considerably during the GDR days.

Although there were some clergymen associated with the dissident movement, the churches remained within the limits set for them by the Soviet authorities. The national reawakening in the late 1980s was accompanied with the religious revival. Religion was something that was seen as a connection with the pre-Soviet golden days. However, by the early 1990s the interest in institutionalised religion started to diminish. Currently the Lutheran church, still considered as the most traditional religious institution in Estonia, has fewer members than it had in the first half of the 1980s when the dues-paying membership reached its Soviet nadir.

The big question for the next decades concerning the religious situation in Estonia is what is going to be the future of the Lutheran church? Although it has been the dominant church among Estonians since the Reformation, the vast majority of younger generations have been estranged from it and the membership numbers are declining.

A new phenomenon during the last 15 years has been the rising number of Estonians identifying themselves with a nature-spirituality that could be defined as the Estonian neo-paganism. However, exactly what this is is much more difficult to explain, as it stresses individualism in religious matters. Although the organisation of the neo-pagans claim to represent pre-Christian religious tradition that has been passed from generation to generation through centuries, and dislikes the term neo-pagan, the historical facts do not support its arguments.

Estonian neo-paganism is closely associated with reverence to nature as well as reviving and following the centuries-old folk traditions, such as the lighting of bonfires during the summer solstice.

Reverence for nature and vocal protection of historical sacred groves has given a positive image to the movement and to their religion, known also as the Earth religion. On the other hand, there are not many neo-pagans officially affiliated with the organisation itself, and during the ancient holy days the groves are not filled with people. The claims by the organisation that all of that 54% who said they believed in spirit or life force are followers of old Estonian religious traditions is pure wishful thinking.


Kike Silver Tambur

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