solidaarsus puudub

Solidarność was the message of the red letters scrawled across the pin pinned against my chest in college by a Polish girl with a Bible-thick collection of indie rock band compact discs. I had never given much thought to Gdańsk trade unionists, but I had already been marked as one of them. These days you never hear the term, either in Polish or English, and if you do hear it in Estonian, solidaarsus, it sounds hollow, because anything tangentially connected to altruistic impulses was thoroughly discredited by the Fall of the Soviet Union. But the hyper-individualistic “investors’ state” of tech-savvy marketing and start-up worship that was grafted onto the bones of the ESSR is still heavy on the skin and light on the meat. We are told that it is natural and Estonian to derive sinister pleasure from the failures of one’s neighbor, and if he should succeed, we are told that it is natural and Estonian to envy him, and to surpass him, if only to delight in his come down.

It eats away from the inside, turns the warmhearted cold. While no narcissistic writer could be expected to produce white papers of concise, pithy, logical thought and policy suggestions, we might expect a sort of temperature-reading of the national mood. The thatcherite-reaganite posturings of the middle aged have acquired a musty, dangerous smell. They sit lit up under fresh slogans like week-old tuna fish sandwiches beneath electric lights on ferry cafeteria shelves. The cheesy populism of the Edgar-led side moves clumsily, like an unfrozen woolly mammoth feeling its way across the ice for the first time in ages, accompanied by an orchestra of younger people’s derision and snark. Political life sleepwalks through elections and, “Did you hear what he said? Did you see what she did?” Every somnolent step is one closer to no holds barred parody.

In the freshly assembled honeycomb bee-colony towers of the northern cities, the young man is tossing screens back and forth with his thumbs and deciding on the cultural origins of the night’s savory meal. Japanese, Hungarian, Azerbaijani? Fling! He flings a screen aside and Skype chats with his friends and then his phone buzzes and his doorbell buzzes, too. He must now decide on a vacation destination for the coming dreary doldrums. Lanzarote? Limassol? 

In the towns along the less traveled highways of the south, the red paint is peeling, the window glass broken, the ancient curtains dance within the cracks. An old man sits on a crumbling cement stoop, helping himself to his morning juice. Bear Beer, black label, 7 percent alcohol, 2 liter bottle. He undoes the cap, places the plastic to his dry-skinned lips. The wind picks up some more and the curtains dance, just like the ghosts do, all across the parish.


64 thoughts on “solidaarsus puudub”

  1. In case of Estonia, a conservative value is a liberal one. Our constitution was founded on the most liberal ones of the time. To stand up for these, is to stand up for your country. That's how simple it is.


  2. Skinheads. Hah hah hah. Theyd love to hear from me that they look so gay … Hah hah.

    I make no friends nowhere. Never mind Appalachia.


    I am an equal opportunity offender.


  3. Nevermind:) It's a beautiful autumn night, here in Viljandi. I've got the fire on, mulled vine is in the hob and LPR is choking on 'liberal pile'. What a night. 🙂


  4. I just had an entire bottle of Panilonco Chardonnay Viognier from Colchagua Valley, Chile 2012 all by myself while cooking and listening to online lectures that are work related …


    It was a nice day!

    The Sun is about to set in two hours.


  5. LPR, ok nice thought provoking link. My summary: Capitalism is the root of all evil…Oh wait that's been over played…It's “growthism” the masquerading offspring of that evil idea of capitalism and those damn smart phones that is ruining the eyesight and the retained knowledge of an entire generation. blah blah blah… He also forgot to mention all the Socialism(like) programs that are failing or have already failed that are funded by the US taxpayer. blah blah blah…But he ended where he should have started…

    “Maybe it’s time for each of us to take a deep breath, tell growthism to shove it, and chart our own new course.”

    What exactly is that new course? LPR any ideas?

    I have argued for a smarter, leaner, and more transparent representation at the Federal level with a Balanced Budget Amendment and flat taxes on 99.9999% of all US citizens. This would cut out waste and demand accountability of the decision makers by the electorate. We will always have a mix of socialism and capitalism. The absolute of either sucks up ambition of creates a dog eat dog environment. So let's not create new names to define the problem, lets argue for radical change and stop beating the drum of whatever this guy wants to call 'growthism'…Let's define the solution and champion that!!!


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